Published Jan 20, 2015

Fuel economy of the Lokotrack LT106 helps Pro Crush thrive despite the downturn

Infrastructure construction, driven by the Australian mining boom, is coming to an end. With the expected recovery in demand for quarry products from the resurgence in residential building activity being delayed by a stubbornly high Australian dollar, quarry owners, operators and contract crushing companies are being forced to deal with a lull in demand that is challenging their profitability.

Pro Crush, a family-owned contract crushing business, has adapted well to these changing market conditions and is prospering. Based in Burleigh on the Gold Coast in North Eastern Australia, the company specializes in mobile crushing and delivers its services to the construction and mining industries.

As owner and operator of a modern fleet of mobile crushing and screening plants, Pro Crush attributes its ongoing success to a hands-on approach with its staff and customers combined with a prudent equipment selection process. Since 2009, Pro Crush has grown significantly, thanks to an opportunity that it saw in the market for a customer-focused contractor with enough flexibility to adapt to the priorities of its customers.

Despite the downturn, early this year Pro Crush found it was in need of an additional mobile crusher.

“Many quarry owners and operators have their own plant that can produce the required quality and quantities on time. But under current market conditions, they are finding their running costs too high or their plant too expensive to maintain. Since Pro Crush specializes in contract crushing work, our offering has always needed to be cost efficient. This has positioned us well to provide quarry owners with end-to-end solutions that keep them competitive and profitable in their supply contracts,” explains Richard Hill, Director of Pro Crush.

“Using our mobile equipment we can quickly establish a site, run operations and then move on when the contracted quantity has been produced. Much of the new work we are undertaking involves the operation of crushing trains for major quarry owners. It is this type of business that has bucked the downturn trend for us. Early this year we picked up a string of contracts of this nature, and so we found ourselves in need of an additional mobile crushing plant.”

Lowering operating costs

A typical outsourced crushing contract sees the quarry owner paying for machine fuel, which can represent up to 40 percent of the total operating costs. In choosing a contract crushing partner, not only do quarry owners have to consider the labor rates and track record of the contractor, they must also scrutinize the equipment that will be used. For example, Pro Crush does its own due diligence on the production rates, final product quality, and durability of the equipment it selects, but it’s the company’s careful consideration of running costs – including fuel consumption – that is most recognized by its customers. Pro Crush believes that choosing equipment with the best performance in all of these areas gives it a competitive advantage in winning work.

“Our information was that Metso’s Lokotrack LT106 was at least 15-20 percent more economical than the previous model and other brands of comparable sized jaw crushers, so we contacted Justin Guilfoyle at Tutt Bryant,” Hill says, commenting on the lead up to the purchase of the new crushing plant required to cope with Pro Crush’s increase workload.

“Overall, Metso machines seem to be more strongly built, and you get the benefit of better reliability and longer hours before a rebuild. Less frequent maintenance intervention also reduces the number of spares we need to hold” Pro Crush Operations Manager Bevan Heaslip

Tutt Bryant Equipment, Metso’s exclusive Australian distributor for mobile equipment, had a Lokotrack LT106 in stock in Sydney. Richard Hill promptly signed the paperwork, took delivery of the machine and placed it on a float headed for a client’s site in Victoria all in the same week that he’d initially contacted Guilfoyle.

Justin Guilfoyle believes the lightning speed with which the transaction occurred can be attributed to two key factors. Firstly, the machine was available ex-stock. But more important was Hill’s confidence in the Metso mobile crushing and screening equipment that he had acquired during the 10 years he had spent working on the maintenance, field service and sales of Lokotracks prior to joining Pro Crush as a business partner in 2009.

This experience provided Hill with a strong appreciation of the comparative benefits of Lokotrack equipment, which he considers to be a premium product that sets the benchmark in performance, reliability and longevity.

Less emissions, more mobility

While the first job for the LT106 was as the primary crusher in a crushing train producing road base and aggregate for a Victorian road project, its next job was working overburden at a quarry north of Brisbane to produce select fill for an infrastructure project. In this application, fuel economy was very important to the client, as select fill is a relatively low value-added product and any savings in operating costs have a big impact on profitability.

Pro Crush’s focus on efficiency extends across their entire fleet of equipment, and Hill estimates that on their next job, the fuel economy of the LT106 combined with the company’s other new equipment will return fuel savings of up to 50 percent better than the next alternative.

The machine’s superior efficiency is also a win for the environment, as less fuel consumed means less CO2 emissions, which helps both Pro Crush and its clients to reduce their carbon footprint. Quarry operators are under constant scrutiny as to their environmental impact, so engaging a contractor with equipment that can reduce their emissions is always a benefit.

“While fuel economy is a key benefit of our mobile equipment, another area that we have focused on to assist machine owners is the mobility and transportability of our Lokotrack equipment,” says Peter Newfield, Metso’s Australasian Marketing Manager.

“Crushing contractors only get paid when their equipment is producing on their client’s sites. So the contractor’s ability to quickly pack up a machine, transport it to a new location and have it operating again as quickly as possible minimizes unpaid downtime, which strongly contributes to their profitability.”

Pro Crush Operations Manager Bevan Heaslip also comments on the rapid set-up of the new LT106:

“The LT106 has high clearance on both ends, making it easier to load. The hydraulic hopper sides, latching mechanism and radial side conveyor make it faster to set up on site and to prepare for transport.”

Pro Crush’s ability to reliably service its clients is directly linked to machine up-time so build quality and robustness are also very important.

“Overall, Metso machines seem to be more strongly built, and you get the benefit of better reliability and longer hours before a rebuild. Less frequent maintenance intervention also reduces the number of spares we need to hold,” Heaslip continues.

Full life-cycle support

Metso’s Dealer Business Manager, Greg Clayton, works closely with Tutt Bryant and with the company’s distributors in New Zealand and Indonesia.

“We work actively with our distributors to define their machine stock to ensure that together we can provide rapid service to our clients. We also have an active training program for our distributor partners, which helps them to provide accurate, consistent and up-to-date information to our end customers, wherever they are,” Clayton says.

Tutt Bryant’s long-term outlook for mobile crushing is upbeat, believing that weakened market prices for quarry products will not rectify for some time and so the demand for more efficient, modern equipment will continue to grow. This led the company to recently expand its commitment to the sales and support of Lokotrack mobile equipment through the appointment of Paul Doran as its Business Development Manager for Metso equipment, nationally.

“By the nature of their work, crushers have a lot of high-value wear components, so not only do we have to have the right machines in stock, we also have to ensure that we stock the right components to support our customers. We have put a concerted effort into bolstering our stock levels of wears and spares to support our bullish outlook on the market,” explains Doran, who has long exposure to construction materials.

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