Rock to Road

Features Aggregates Technology
More ways to crush

The latest crushers focus on providing expanded options and applications to help producers meet growing product demand.

June 18, 2024  By  Jack Burton


The Keestrack I4e helped Lafarge transform their reject pile into high-quality product on a concrete sand operation in Greece. Photo: Frontline Machinery

The role of crushing equipment in meeting infrastructure’s appetite for aggregate cannot be overstated, with a recent report from Fact.MR showing the the global crushing machine market to currently stand at $6.35 billion USD. 

From roadways to residential projects, this increase in infrastructure initiatives only furthers the operational need for crushing solutions, with a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 per cent set to drive the crushing equipment market up to a projected value of $13 billion USD by 2033, according to the report.

However, growth can be felt well beyond these numbers, as new technologies and upgraded solutions in the crushing market are offering producers a variety of ways to answer this need for high-yield – and high-quality – construction materials. 

Crushing demands

Higher aggregate demand means less aggregate resource supply, with this depletion having high-cost operational effects. Scarcity can be particularly felt in the sand and manufactured fines sector, according to Crissy Ram, Frontline Machinery’s senior director of marketing and business development. 

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The Keestrack I4e, which features increased feed size, energy savings and high production capacity, is set to land in Canada through Frontline Machinery this spring. Photo: Frontline Machinery

“Sand demands are increasing significantly, while natural resources are reducing,” said Ram. “Forecasts show the demand for sand will grow by 45 per cent over the next four decades, primarily driven by construction and urbanization.”

Helping producers navigate and adapt to this increase in both demand and cost is the Keestrack I4e reversible mobile impact crusher, a machine designed to maximize the quantity – and quality – of yields by, among other solutions, combining secondary and tertiary crushers into a single machine. 

“Manufactured fines and sand products are expensive products: they’re expensive to produce, and as a result, they’re expensive out there in the market,” said Ram. “There are a lot of sites out there that have this pile of reject material that, with the I4e, can now be now used to produce a high-grade, quality product.”

By allowing producers to integrate reject material into their workflow or reduce the number of machines required in the production processes, the I4e presents a direct solution for all stakeholders in curbing the costs of producing manufactured fines, Ram explained. 

“What was historically seen as waste or reject material can now be used for the production of manufactured fines, and as a result, you’re not having to deplete current natural resources – in fact, you’re able to leverage a product that you already have on-site toward the production of sand.”

Ram shared an account of the I4e’s use in one of Lafarge’s concrete sand processing operations in Greece, where the machine proved its impact and maximized the company’s yield by repurposing its would-be reject material into high-quality aggregate at high-rate speeds. 

“The crushing rejects – a four to 25mm material – were screened out in the final process. That was then fed into the I4e, and crushed down to a zero to four mm material, their finished product, at production rates of about 90 to 100 tons per hour,” she said.  

A fine game-changer

In addition to manufactured fines processing, the I4e has proven itself globally across a diverse range of applications, including the processing of natural sand such as limestone and granite, steel slag processing and asphalt recycling. 

This diversity is also found in the I4e’s features. Aside from combining secondary and tertiary crushing features into a single machine, the I4e also has a high production capacity ranging from 11 to 250 t/h, a reversible rotor and blow bars along with a 30 to 40 per cent increase in energy savings compared to cone and vertical shaft impactor (VSI) crushers. 

Ram also highlighted the I4e’s  high reduction ratio of 1 to 12 and a near-unprecedented feed size that accommodates dimensions well beyond industry standards; which broadens load compatibility and eliminates the need for secondary crushers and pre-processing steps.

“The I4e can handle a feed size up to about 250mm, whereas most autogenous ‘rock on rock’ VSIs have a max feed size of 50mm,” she said. “This size eliminates the need to pre-process material before the final stage, and by extension, the need for a secondary crusher.”

With the first Canadian I4e headed to Frontline this spring, the dealer has educated the market through showcases from Keestrack’s CEO and product & applications support manager, Johann Prüwasser, at the BC Stone, Sand & Gravel Association’s annual conference and the CIM Connect Expo in Vancouver. 

“What really excites us is to be able to bring this new, innovative technology to the Canadian market, one that’s already been used throughout the globe and across various applications,” said Ram. “It brings a vast amount of benefits to the market, and I think ultimately, it’s going to be a game changer in the manufactured fines industry.”

Supplying solutions

For Superior Industries, a changing and growing market is just another opportunity to expand and diversify its services and product line to better serve its mission of meeting the dynamic needs of its clients, especially considering current supply chain squeezes. 

Superior Industries’ Endeavor spider cone crusher is one of two expansions the company made to its cone crusher line last year. Photo: Superior Industries

“When it comes to Superior, we’re always listening to the customer,” said Jarrod Adcock, Superior’s crushing product manager. “Right now, there’s a big focus on the supply chain, which has meant expanding our vendor network: both diversifying it and increasing it, to provide wear parts and service in the timeliest manner.”

Accommodating current supply chain congestion goes beyond parts and servicing for Superior, with the company also integrating the operational impacts of these issues into the design and range of its products to maximize quality and production for all crushing needs.

This value was reflected in the company expanding its line of cone crushers last year, which saw the launch of the Dakota and Endeavor cone crusher models at CONEXPO. 

“With the Dakota and the Endeavor, it’s about providing a slightly different experience for end users, where one might be more suitable for their applications versus the other,” said Adcock. “Through listening to our customers, we felt that we could better our portfolio and capture a wider range of application-specific needs.”

The Dakota model is a roller-bearing style cone crusher that builds off Superior’s Patriot crusher, but with a series of bearings included inside the machine to rotate the crusher during the production process. 

“When we designed the Dakota, we pulled a lot of the features from our proven Patriot DNA and incorporated those in, like the hydraulic tramp system,” said Adcock. “The Patriot has a very strong, proven system. Incorporating that into the Dakota has allowed us to maximize the hold-down force of the machine. Again, it goes back to that point of a higher percentage of sellable product.”

Departing from the design of the Dakota and Patriot, the Endeavor spider bushing cone crusher features a spider cap holding the top of the main shaft in place. This equips the Endeavor with one of the strongest main shaft styles in the world of cone crushers, Adcock said. 

This design also ensures consistent feed size throughout the liners’ entire lifecycle, instead of the usual loss of feed opening that comes from liner wear. 

“On a screw-top style machine, you lose feed opening as you wear down the liners. But the way the Endeavor operates, you’re able to maintain that feed size throughout the entire life of the liners, so it can take a constant feed size throughout its entire life.”

Both the Dakota and Endeavor models ship standard with Superior’s in-house Vantage automation system and are built to process a range of materials including ore, quarried stone, river gravel, recycled concrete, fractured gravel and Super Pave products. 

VSI master-minds

Superior expanded its reach in serving customers’ diverse needs with the acquisition of New Mexico crushing mainstay Cemco in August of last year, with this merged team now standing as one of the top think-tanks for VSI knowledge across the sector, said Adcock.

Following their acquisition of VSI manufacturer Cemco last year, Superior Industries officially showcased the Cemco V-Twin as part of its crushing range at this year’s World of Asphalt/AGG1. Photo: Superior Industries

“As a whole now, combining both teams, we have one of the strongest VSI teams in the industry: we have multiple individuals with thousands of installs across the world, with both the application knowledge and the know-how,” Adcock said. 

Superior now offers Cemco’s V-Twin VSI crusher among its products. Suited for portable plants, Adcock expressed excitement over the V-Twin’s seamless integration into Superior’s line, and the expanded array of crushing configurations the company now has at its fingertips.

“We’ve had our Valor [VSI] crusher line since about 2016, and this just entirely expands the amount of configurations that we can give customers to minimize costs and maximize the product,” he said. “The Cemco line has a countless amount of crusher configurations for each model, which allows us to adapt and apply machines for very specific, niche applications.”


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