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Collier Materials, Texas

Case study

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CDE sand washing technology increases the production of C-33 spec sand for Collier Materials by 50%, improving product quality and reducing plant footprint in the process.

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Collier Materials has been producing sand, granite, and gravel out of Texas for over 45 years. The locally-owned company has been operating out of its Marble Falls pit since 1973 under the direction of the Collier family. The company has recently added locations in Llano and Georgetown Texas. 

The firm’s original operations focused on the decomposed granite business and they have built a strong reputation for producing high-quality landscaping and construction products that are supplied to customers throughout Texas. Kevin Collier believes they have some of the best rock and sand that is being produced in North Austin. 

Problem 

Collier Materials had previously invested in an off-the-shelf cyclone-based wet processing system to process a clay-bound limestone-based raw feed, comprising an excess of 4-8 mesh in the material. A tough material to contend with, the raw sand fraction contained more than 35% passing the #200 sieve which had been causing the operator some problems as they strived to achieve a consistent, quality grade of C-33 spec sand, in high-volumewhile also striving to improve site maintenance and operations. The off-the-shelf plant proved unsuccessful and so Collier once again turned to CDE, the sand washing experts, after a previously successful partnership. It is at Georgetown where the company has recently upgraded operations and already the investment is paying off. 

Problem One 

Collier’s off-the-shelf plant on the Georgetown site was not achieving the required quality and consistency to meet C-33 spec approval and the management and maintenance of its settling ponds were proving inefficient and costly. The system was not removing enough #200 from the sand feed which varied from 35-38% of the raw sand feed. It was also losing a significant amount of valuable concrete sand to the settling ponds. CDE was therefore appointed to provide a custom-made washing solution that would guarantee to remove the high amount of #200 and reduce the need for pond maintenance on site.   

Kevin Collier noted, “We needed advice and support with replacing a wet processing line that wasn’t working out for us – it was a similar system, but not quite of the same caliber and hadn’t been custom designed to cope with our raw feed. The main problems were that the product spec wasn’t consistent, and it wasn’t producing the grade we needed. 

Problem Two 

As a result of the limited capacity of cut points, the company found that valuable fractions were being lost to ponds along with the overflow, which in turn meant a significant increase in pond footprint and maintenance. 

This maintenance was becoming increasingly difficult, with the settling ponds needing to be cleaned seven days a week – their productivity depended on how quickly this cleaning could be done and much of the site’s real-estate was locked up in these ponds.

The CDE Solution 

With a proven track record at Collier’s Llano site, a CDE wet processing solution was identified as the solution to Collier’s ongoing problem.  

Thomas Wick, Business Development Manager at CDE’s Cleburne base, explained, “We fully appreciated that Kevin and his team needed a full-service partner who could work to understand their plant, feed materials, and specific needs, to co-create the right solution, quickly. Collier Materials had experienced the effectiveness of a CDE plant previously, but for us, no two plants are the same. This time, our engineers went straight to their site to work hand-in-hand with them to design, manufacture, install and commission a custom-built solution.” 

Collier needed an innovative solution that would deliver results. CDE’s technology guaranteed to maximize productivity through water recovery and retention of sand, therefore improving the quality and quantity of production whilst mitigating issues related to ponds. 

Collaboration and Preparation 

Thomas Wick explains, “Prior to starting work on the design of the plant, CDE adopted a fully consultative approach. We had an initial visit to the Georgetown site to establish the causes of inefficiencies, followed by an analysis of the site’s raw feed at CDE’s laboratories to ensure the mass balance would be developed for maximum plant performance. 

The design and engineering teams were then able to work from a comprehensive brief to develop the most efficient solution for the Georgetown site. This ‘engineered to order’ approach is how CDE prefers to partner with their customers. 

Leading Wet Processing Innovation 

Wick says that after a thorough process, “customized cyclone-based CDE EvoWash Dual Pass wet processing plant was identified as the most efficient system to deal with the Georgetown site’s clay bound limestone material. 

The plant has a production capacity of up to 250tph and is calibrated to produce in spec and consistent ASTM C-33 grade sand, as well as by-product ‘grit’ sand simultaneously.  

Eoin Heron, Business Development Director for CDE North America, explained: “The CDE cyclone technology allows for a much more accurate cut point at #200, which means that every fraction of sellable sand remains in the final product as opposed to being lost to ponds. 

Optimal Water Management Technology 

The efficiency of the plant is optimized using a wastewater treatment unit, a CDE AquaCycle thickener, which allows recycling of 90% of the water used via a system that settles the solids from the dirty water in a controlled environment and enables the thickened sludgeexceeding 45% solids, to be pumped into the nearby  ponds. This is ideal for businesses that don’t have readily available water supplies. The process water, after passing into the deaeration chamber and having the flocculant added, passes gently to the center of the thickener so that the flocculant can work and act on the sedimentation of the fine material. 

Aftercare With CDE CustomCare

Kevin Collier said, “In making the change, it was important that we worked directly with the manufacturer. We knew they were the team we wanted to engage and the process of working together has exceeded both our expectations and their promise, extending right through to after-sales care.” 

Kevin Collier believes that CDE’s process provides a much-needed sense of assurance than if they had purchased via a dealer, commenting, “We have had a comprehensive and full-circle service with CDE, and they continue to regularly liaise with us post-installation. We’d been hurt before working with middlemen, but now we have ongoing direct contact with engineering excellence. It’s comforting to know the team is readily available should we need assistance.” 

“We knew CDE could deliver our outputs while championing a more sustainable way of achieving that - they’re the wet processing and washing experts promoting a New World of Resource. Sustainability is also important to us; sustainability of our resources and of our business. We use smart washing solutions to optimize our natural resources in a more efficient way. We realize that, amongst other business priorities, there’s a need to go in a more environmentally friendly direction.” 

CDE opened a new North American Center of Excellence in Cleburne, Texas in 2018 to be best placed to serve its customers at the heart of the market. This enabled a swift process from order to completion with the plant designed, manufactured, pre-wired and pre-tested at CDE’s assembly facilities. After delivery, installation and commissioning by the CDE engineers, the team then trained the Collier Materials staff on site. Once the plant was operational, the CDE CustomCare service took over to offer a world-class customer-for-life service. CustomCare provides a dedicated point of contact for every customer and they coupled with CDE’s readily available stock of common parts in Cleburne, Texas, and complete order history ensures shorter downtime, low shipping costs and boosts in productivity. 

Michael Dambra, CustomCare Regional Service Engineer at CDE’s Cleburne office, keeps in touch with the team at Collier almost daily. He explains, “Whether it is questions about parts, tech advice, checking stock levels or preventative maintenance inspections, we’ve ongoing communication with Kevin and his team. Any adjustments that would need to be made to ensure the optimal product is produced, we’re there. It’s a very close relationship and we’re lucky to work in partnership with them.” 

CDE Sand Washing Plant - Collier Materials

Result 

With a capacity of 6,600gpm, the new AquaCycle allows Collier Materials to bring pond space down to a fraction of its original footprint as 10 times less volumes of waste sludge are sent to ponds in comparison with the previous installation. Due to this, operational costs have substantially decreased and maintenance costs have drastically diminished. 

Additionally, the high-frequency dewatering screen of the EvoWash dewaters the final product to 14% of moisture, allowing Collier to send it straight to market from the belts.  

CDE recognized that with the correct design of the new system, along with the correct amount of water in the system, Collier's plant could increase capacity by more than 50%. 

Collier confirms this“Before, even with cleaning the ponds seven days a week we were still only operating at 50% of what the plant was capable of. Now with the AquaCycle, 100% of my production time and man-hours time is running the plant. What we’re seeing with this technology is so far ahead of everybody else’s. 

Our new CDE plant provides maximum results for consistent production and I have no doubt, even after only a few weeks of seeing this plant operating at this site, that we will more than double our tonnage per year.” 

Thomas Wick added, “We proactively work with customers to increase ROI and ensure optimization of their plant. Kevin and the team are a customer partner now to CDE, and we hope the positive results seen so far continue from strength to strength."

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