Finnish Lokotrack equipment ensure steady aggregate production for Maanrakennus Vääräniemi
“Domestic crushing machinery is a major benefit for customers. Metso Outotec is a reliable and trustworthy partner, and we can communicate clearly in Finnish with them. Reliably functioning Lokotracks ensure steady production, and we can get spare and wear parts from Tampere to the remote sites in northern Finland in a day or two.”
This is what managing director Markku Vääräniemi of Maanrakennus Vääräniemi Oy from Taivalkoski has to say about the cornerstones of the company’s crushing operations. Paavo Vääräniemi established the company in 1951, and at the turn of the millennium, the company expanded its operations to crushing. Nowadays, it is the third generation running the company, which is well-known around the crushing sites of northern Finland.
“My father passed the company to me in 1984. He gave me an important piece of advice saying that working hard and honestly is the best we can offer to our homeland. I’ve tried to live up to it,” says Markku Vääräniemi.
Road foundation aggregates in the backwoods of Kuusamo
The gravel road in the backwoods of Kuusamo winds through the northern wilds until it reaches the Jokilampi-Riitavaara quarry. The site is dressed in the colors of autumn.
Neighbors do not cause any trouble here where Vääräniemi’s crushing team is producing 45,000 metric tons of aggregates to be used as road foundation material in the jointly-owned forests of Kuusamo. Thanks to the location, mills can turn from 6 am to 10 pm with an hourly capacity of 150–200 metric tons. The result of the day is 2,000–3,000 metric tons of aggregates.
The new Lokotrack® LT106™ jaw crusher, which was deployed in May, takes care of the primary stage of the double-stage plant, and the secondary stage is handled by LT1100™ gyratory crusher and screen plant, which is more than ten years old.
Third-generation crushing contractor Markus Vääräniemi administers the 0–500 mm feed to the jaw crusher. Janne Hulkkonen takes care of conveying ready aggregates smoothly.
Vääräniemi trusts Caterpillar machines when feeding aggregates with an excavator and conveying with a loader.
The jaw crusher breaks down rock with the 80–90 mm setting so that the GP11 gyratory crusher can handle it with 27–30 mm setting and 25 mm stroke. This produces sizes that customers want: 0–8 mm, 0–16 mm, 0–32 mm and 0–56 mm.
“Steady production generates profit”
During a coffee break in the morning, Markus Vääräniemi defines the basics for profitable crushing operations very clearly:
“You shouldn’t reach for momentary peak power, because it often breaks the equipment. Instead, go for steady and continuous production. In the long term, it produces the best results,” Vääräniemi emphasizes.
Steadiness shows in the course of our visit. There are no interruptions or blockages in the crushing chain, but the unloading conveyor of the LT1100 keeps piling aggregates. Lokotrack machines communicate with each other and adjust their operations accurately with the help of the IC process control.
“Metso Outotec has the needed expertise if there are any issues and they provide us with technical help 24/7.”
Managing director Markku Vääräniemi (on the right) and area sales manager Jussi Mäkelä from Metso Outotec monitor how the two-stage crushing and screening chain operates in the wilds of Kuusamo.
Fully equipped LT106 jaw crusher
Vääräniemi’s latest purchase, the LT106 jaw crusher, is equipped with all possible accessories that enhance work and safety. The jaw crusher is equipped with the ICr remote control system, which enables that all central crushing functions can be controlled from the excavator cabin. The Metso Metrics remote monitoring system transmits important crushing data to the computer in the office and reminds the employees of future services, for example.
“Remote control is a must, because it saves us the trouble of running between the excavator and the crusher, which is time-consuming and risky. You can only imagine how nice it is to adjust the jaw crusher settings from the ICr screen in the excavator cabin when it is snowing outside,” says Markus Vääräniemi.
Fuel is known to be the second largest expense item after salary in crushing. Therefore, the LT106’s hourly fuel consumption of 20 liters has been a pleasant surprise.
“If we compare the LT106 to its predecessor the 105, the current machine crushes stone more efficiently, but its fuel consumption is considerably smaller,” says Vääräniemi.
“Wear parts seem to last longer than previously, too. One-piece quarry profile jaws have been turned once, and they have crushed 150,000 metric tons so far. Original jaws, which wait to be replaced, came from Tampere to Kuusamo in two days.”
Nearly 500,000 metric tons of crushed stone per year
Maanrakennus Vääräniemi carries out contract work with its two crushing chains. It mainly produces road foundation material in northern Finland and also cut gravel in the Oulu region. The normal annual production of approximately 350,000–400,000 metric tons will amount to nearly 500,000 metric tons this year.
Today more than half of the company’s net sales come from crushing. The company also provides other earth construction services to the municipality of Taivalkoski, in particular. Maanrakennus Vääräniemi invests in long relationships of trust with its customers. There are 10–15 employees in the company.
“Reliability and speed are crucial nowadays. Once a customer was amazed about how we were able to deliver a load of gravel to them in a couple of minutes,” Markku Vääräniemi recalls and laughs.