Metso Insights Case studies Aggregates Robo Silicon moving infra forward with manufactured sand
Jan 3, 2019

Robo Silicon moving infra forward with manufactured sand

River sand is a depleting resource across the globe and its mining from the river bed has been banned in many places. It is an important raw material used in construction, so there was a dire need for an alternative to this ever-growing demand. Citing this need and understanding the best and sustainable alternative to river sand, Mr. Vijay Kosaraju, Managing Director, Robo Silicon Pvt. Ltd. (RSPL), started producing and selling manufactured sand in 2001 to feed the growing demand for sand and aggregates in the thriving city of Hyderabad.
Two men in a sunset at a quarry facing the camera and the other pointing forward.

Manufactured sand could shape the industry’s future

Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana, has been a technology industry hub, hence rapidly growing and putting great pressure on the region’s infrastructure development. The city has long been struggling to get river sand, but governmental policies banned the use of river sand, citing that the depletion of the natural resource and the ill-effects of dredging, mining and indiscriminate quarrying of river beds pose a great threat to the environment.

Mr. Kosaraju, a veteran of the construction business, noticed the short fall of river sand way back in 1999 and started looking for options to replace this diminishing resource and to sustain business using an alternative. After investing time and resources into finding an alternative, he saw Barmac® Vertical Shaft Impactors (VSIs) being used, for the first time, to produce manufactured sand for the Mumbai-Pune highway project and big irrigation projects in Maharashtra.

The crushers and VSIs were made by Metso (then Svedala) and were producing a good amount of aggregates and sand for the massive project. Understanding the outcomes of the product (manufactured sand) and how this product could shape the industry’s future, he ordered a Barmac along with the Metso (then Svedala) jaw crushers and started producing manufactured sand for commercial use.

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Expanding operations to 14 sites

The pilot project began operations at Hyderabad and initially produced 55 tph (manufactured sand), as the acceptability was still an issue. The company’s focus was to sell sand to the ready-mix-concrete manufacturers in the region.

“I am thankful for the Cement & Building Materials laboratory, which certified the results showing that manufactured sand is much stronger than river sand. Other reports on manufactured sand and published by different bodies promoted the use of manufactured sand, as it had good particle shape, perfect gradation, it enhanced the performance of high-strength concrete, and it was readily available compared to natural sand,” shared Mr. Kosaraju. The industry players ultimately moved to manufactured sand, and RSPL started selling manufactured sand to some of its prime customers – like L&T, Birla, Priya, NCC, Punj Lloyd etc.

“Our end customers were the big infrastructure and ready-mix-concrete (RMC) companies. Initially, they were hesitant, but eventually accepted the product after witnessing huge benefits – like a reduction in overall cost of operations, cubical shape, high compressive strength, eco-friendliness and, the biggest benefit of all, the fact that manufactured sand was available at half the cost of river sand (which was in high demand and short supply),” shared Mr. Kosaraju.

After gaining industry acceptance, RSPL opened another 200 mtph Metso plant, a combination of jaw, cone & Barmac VSI crushers, at Bangalore to meet the demand coming from the RMC companies. The company quickly expanded and opened sites at Pune, Mangalore, Coimbatore, Vizag, Mumbai, etc., and today it has 14 operational (commercial) plants across the country, all supplied by Metso. Moreover, the company received large-scale orders for the supply of aggregates from Reliance refinery at Jam Nagar and GMR for airport work at Hyderabad & Delhi. At this stage, the company was producing 3 lac tones of aggregates commercially, using only Metso equipment.

Crushed rock pictured on a conveyor.

New possibilities with niche products

“Metso is a reputable brand that has been delivering quality equipment and services to us since the very beginning. We have been buying equipment from Metso for the last 17 years. The first crusher we bought in 2001 is still in operation, an indication of the durability of Metso equipment,” revealed Mr. Kosaraju.

He added, “A Metso plant may be costly initially, but in the end one saves more on a Metso plant, as the production is higher and the maintenance cost is low. If one buys a local plant, one may save some money initially, but considering the overall production, maintenance and breakdown analysis, Metso is the clear winner and that is why all our 14 sites across India run all Metso plants. Also, we only use Metso original spare parts. This offers better availability – and a one-day wait for spares can be a huge cost factor in this business.”

A Metso plant may be costly initially, but in the end one saves more on a Metso plant, as the production is higher and the maintenance cost is low.
Mr. Vijay Kosaraju, Managing Director, Robo Silicon Pvt. Ltd.

With a clear foresight, RSPL continues to create a niche for itself in the region with its ‘Robo Sand’, ‘Rotek Sand’, ‘Rotek Aggregates’ and ‘Rotek Plaster Sand’ – all produced using Metso equipment. ‘Rotek Plaster Sand’ is the latest offering from Robotek, the flagship company of RSPL. “Rotek Plaster Sand (minus 2.36 mm) is produced with Metso’s Triple Slope Screen, which filters the desired product, and Metso’s Air Classifier, which helps derive plaster sand after the removal of micro fines from the fines using gravitational, inertial, centrifugal and aerodynamic forces, to efficiently classify materials at cut points ranging from 300 to 75 microns,” divulges Mr. Kosaraju.

He added, “At one of our sites near Hyderabad, we installed our first four-stage plant comprising Metso’s jaw, cone, Barmac VSI, PREMIER TS™ Screen and Air Classifier to produce ten different products to accommodate the varied demands of our customers and varied applications. Our target with this plant is to produce 25,000 of plaster sand per month; the plant currently is not running at full capacity, and we are producing 10,000 tons of plaster sand and 40,000 – 45,000 tons of aggregates (0–20 mm) per month.”

The rising demand and an increasing push on infra mean that cutting edge technology and trailblazing innovation is the only way ahead. By investing in technologically advanced equipment and finding unique ways to fulfill the rising demand, Robo Silicon Pvt. Ltd. has been able to sustain the test of time and make a unique selling preposition for itself. Mr. Kosaraju shares, “Investing in the latest technology is a cost-effective and futuristic way of moving infra forward for the nation.”

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