Published Sep 28, 2015

More production, lower costs at Beira Rio

A plant upgrade with Metso equipment resulted in a 70-80% increase in production, improved end-product quality and a drop in power consumption.

The city of Uberaba is an important business center in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Uberaba has a strong tradition in the food production industry and is a renowned global hub for the genetic development of zebu cattle.

The construction of a new ammonia plant, due to begin operating in 2017, is providing another boost for the city’s economy. The project involves an investment of R$ 3 billion and strengthens Uberaba’s position among the 100 most important industrial centers in Brazil.

This positive momentum gave Beira Rio, a quarry located in a rural part of the city, the confidence to invest in a major upgrade in 2014. The transformation included the commissioning of a new crushing plant that replaces the old production line and serves to transform local basalt into mineral aggregates. Comprised of an assembly of Metso machines, the new line has enabled an increase in production from a level of 50 thousand tons per month to between 85 and 90 thousand tons. This increase allowed Beira Rio to move from a two-shift operation to a single-shift operation. And, thanks to the new design of the plant, the quality of the aggregates produced was also enhanced.

Lagging capacity and excessive energy consumption

The project is a natural continuum in the company’s history, which began in 1956. Its current owner, Artur Braghetto Barillari, is part of the third generation of managers and is the grandson of the founder. Directly involved in the company’s operations, Barillari believes that the redesigned production plant was well worth the effort of undertaking a complex civil engineering project and obtaining sustainable financing.

“Growth in local demand spurred our investment, which had already been on the drawing board for some time,” Barillari explains. “We take a preemptive, planned approach and we look after our assets in order to ensure their performance and availability. The new crushing plant has allowed us to meet our demand within – and even exceeding – our standard of quality,” he states.

Before the upgrade in 2014, Beira Rio’s production levels fell short of market demand. This meant that the quarry was unable to meet customers’ needs. In addition, Beira Rio had to deal with a production plant where the machines were often out of operation, despite having a highly-trained maintenance staff.

The aging equipment also meant high energy consumption per ton produced. The same was true in terms of manpower, because of the need for two shifts. In terms of quality, the production plant, comprised of an old fine crusher and a cone crusher, resulted in a lamellar end product.

Increased production, improved quality

With Metso’s assistance, Beira Rio built a new crushing plant complete with a new line of machines. The new line includes a Nordberg C120 jaw crusher, two HP300 cone crushers, conveyor belts, a feeder and two screens.

With this set-up, Beira Rio was able to increase its production by 70-80%, while at the same time improving end-product quality. The quality improvement is a result of the two HP cone crushers, which substantially reduce the amount of lamellar crushed stone. The leap in quality has also encouraged the company to plan an expansion of its crushing operations, with an eye to new market opportunities through the diversification of its production.

At the same time, the previous problems with the process have been improving.  Beira Rio has witnessed a decrease in power consumption per ton produced as well as in its fuel expenses and generators used in its operations. The reduction of these expenses immediately led to a decrease in final costs, creating cost savings of more than 55% in electric power consumption.

The same goes for personnel costs, since the company is now operating with only one shift. The new machines have also increased plant availability, reducing the need for maintenance operations.

Hands-on management

Beira Rio’s company culture – and especially that of its management – also played a significant role in the change. Barillari is constantly present at the quarry. He often takes part in all phases of production, even operating excavators and directing the trucks that supply the plant. His habit of close supervision has continued with the new crushing line, where, among other things, he monitors proper operation of the conveyor belts.

The use of original parts is another basic principle at Beira Rio. This applies to all machines and involves all suppliers, both at start-up, as was the case for the new crushing plant, and in preventive, corrective and warranty maintenance operations.

New investments on the horizon

Barillari’s active participation in operations is complemented by his administrative and financial management, where he carefully weighs the risks and opportunities of having a share in the local market in Uberaba. And despite the elimination of a shift, Beira Rio’s expansion was so well configured that the company has now created 50 new jobs in the city.

Beira Rio is ready to keep pace with the growth of Uberaba. “The city will reach a population of 500 or 600 thousand inhabitants in the coming years, and we are preparing to meet all the needs of heavy construction and civil works,” said Barillari in a statement to the Uberaba newspaper.

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