Rock to Road

Features Aggregates Technology
Partnerships and Vision Create Model for Success


January 9, 2013
By Aggregates and Roadbuilding

Topics

_dsc0085Growing
from a single 0.5-acre quarry to a three-quarry operation in the period of
seven years, Hamilton Aggregates shows how vision, expertise and the right
support, as well as equipment, can make a family business in Arkansas a leading
supplier of aggregates.

_dsc0085Growing
from a single 0.5-acre quarry to a three-quarry operation in the period of
seven years, Hamilton Aggregates shows how vision, expertise and the right
support, as well as equipment, can make a family business in Arkansas a leading
supplier of aggregates.


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Hamilton
Aggregates’ beginning goes back to February 2006, when Edward and Genia Hamilton
decided it was the right time to set up their own quarrying business. Edward’s
twelve years in the industry as a quarry planner, where he had the task of
designing the most efficient operation processes, provided him with the
expertise and the vision to see that given the right economic opportunities, the
Hamilton’s could run a very profitable venture.

 

The Bonds
quarry, located in Clinton, Arkansas, had an initial plant consisting of an
Extec (now Sandvik) C12+ mobile jaw crusher and an E7 mobile scalper, which
were rented from Brian Costello from Crushing Tigers; the local distributor of
Sandvik mobile crushers and screeners. Showing an understanding of business
strategy that would shame many large corporations, Edward developed a 20-year
plan from the very outset, which included the acquisition of more equipment to
supply a varying and growing demand. As mobile units can be moved to the source
of material, and be quickly set up to process it on site, Edward decided to
utilize their capabilities in order to make his operation more productive. The
advantage of plant mobility alone would allow the quarry operation to save the
time and money of having an operator transport the blasted material to a
stationary crusher. Furthermore, the different models in the mobile range could
be put to work in different combinations in order to suit differing customers’
material requirements. This mobility and flexibility suited Edward’s lean
processing approach and, with the guidance of Brian, Edward decided to purchase
his first complete set of mobiles.

 

The full
initial set up, consisting of an Extec (now Sandvik) C12+ jaw crusher, an E7
scalper, an S5 double-screen and an X44 cone crusher, allowed the site to
produce 360,000 tons in 2007. During 2008 an extra jaw and scalper were added
to the operation, which expanded the operation an extra 5 acres, and produced
400,000 tons. In 2009, a challenging one for aggregate producers throughout the
U.S., saw the production decline to 300,000. However, Edward and Genia’s focus
on efficient production processes resulted in commercial prospects positive
enough to open up an extra 10 acres in the quarry. Now, the set-up consists of
a Sandvik mobile QJ341 jaw crusher, a QE440 scalper, a QA450 triple deck
screener and an Extec X44 cone.

 

The
Sandvik machines are the main material processing plant at Bonds, of which
Brian Costello says, “There is a misconception that you cannot use the mobiles
as the main equipment in a quarry. These machines can be very productive and
are very cost effective.” The user friendliness of the machines contributes to
their lower operating costs, as both crushers and screeners are designed for
ease of operation; thereby one operator can run the whole train. As Edward
Hamilton himself states: “These mobiles are quality machines. They provide us
with lower operating costs and high production for their size.” Illustrating
Edward’s comments, a variety of final material sizes are produced at Bonds. These
include:

 

  • 1’’: used in concrete rock
  • ½’’: asphalt chip
  • 3/16’’: asphalt dust
  • 1 ½’’: road base
  • 4-12’’: erosion control

 

The
Greers Ferry quarry, located in Higden, Ark., is another sample of how the
combination of expertise and knowledge of the customer’s needs allowed the
Hamilton family to successfully grow their business. This site was acquired in
order to supply material for the construction of a bridge for the Highway
Department of Arkansas. The supply of high quality and competitively priced aggregates
were crucial in securing the winning bid. In addition to the low costs of
material transportation, due to the proximity of the quarry to the construction
site, Edward knew that in order to provide the required high quality material
at competitive prices, the output had to be planned from the blasting stages.
Even though this planning can come at a higher price, since tighter patterns
can be costly, they can also eventually save money on secondary crushing. As
Edward explains, “For every nickel I spend (blasting), I save a dime in the
crushing.” Hence a Sandvik QJ340 jaw crusher (predecessor to the current QJ341)
is run in tandem with a QE340 scalper, crushing and screening limestone at
24’’, which is then used for the foundation of the bridge, in addition to base,
gabion and rip rap.

 

The
constant steady supply required from the Greer Ferry quarry emphasizes the need
for a reliable aftermarket support. As Genia Hamilton explains: “Providing a
good customer support has made us competitive in this market, so getting good
customer service from Crushing Tigers has been essential. The fact that we can
pick up the phone, and speak to somebody who knows about crushers, and our
business, like Pat Doab, or Brian, is a big thing.” As to the advice they have
received Edward Hamilton adds, “The equipment has proved to be highly reliable,
but after discussing our needs with Crushing Tigers we run the machines for
nine hours each day, and then run a preventative maintenance schedule to ensure
reliability and maximum productivity.”

 

The full
product offering which Sandvik has available, which caters to smaller producers
as well as larger operations such as Hamilton Aggregates, has also been an
added bonus from an after sales perspective. Edward explains: “The full range
of Sandvik mobile crushers and screeners offered through Crushing Tigers proves
very efficient for the running of our operation from the after sales point of
view since we speak to the same set of people, who already know our needs, and
our business.”

 

Hamilton’s
Prior Mountain quarry, located in Quitman, supplies material on demand for the
local market. This is easily accomplished as the mobile crushers and screeners
may be easily and quickly moved between the different quarries, with production
being rapidly started due to the machines very quick start-up. This flexibility
allows Hamilton Aggregates to be highly responsive to different customers’
needs.

 

It is the
versatility highlighted above, together with the Hamiltons’ vision, which has
permitted Hamilton Aggregates to diversify into contracting in 2009. This has
been so successful that the current revenues for this activity amount to 20% of
the annual turnover. Furthermore the prospects for added expansion of this side
of the business are made favorable by the good resale value the machines get,
and by the customer financing opportunities that Sandvik Finance, a company
owned by the Swedish group, is able to offer.

 

Over the
last seven years Edward and Genia’s vision has been proved correct, enabling
Hamilton Aggregates to progress from a single 0.5 acre quarry, to now operating
three separate highly productive, efficient, and profitable quarries, and
supply a variety of aggregates for the construction industry’s requirements.
Hamilton Aggregates’ operation has produced over two million tons of material,
supplying a customer base that has grown to include gas industries, road
asphalt companies, and even nearby counties. It has also successfully
diversified into a growing contracting business. However, what has remained
constant during this time has been that the expansion has been the result of
intelligent planning, high levels of customer service received from the
Crushing Tigers team, and working with quality equipment. These factors have
all resulted in helping provide Hamilton Aggregates’ customers with what they
want, when they want it, and where they want it.


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