Diversifying Product Portfolio
For nearly 40 years, family-owned business Campbell Contracts has been extracting sand and gravel from its Letterbailey quarry in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. More recently, in response to market demand, the company commenced blasting to increase the supply of its sand, gravel, decorative gravel, crushed rock, rock fill and screened topsoil.
In 2019, the Campbell family partnered with us to support them to grow the business and diversify its portfolio of high-quality quarried aggregates. The final solution allowed the company to process three new materials it previously categorised as waste from its quarrying operations: clay-bound sand and gravel, primary scalpings and crushed rock fines.
The problem with ponds
Increased tonnage, however, and subsequent pond maintenance resulting from Campbell Contracts expanding its operations put additional pressure on labour availability on site.
In pursuit of a solution, a detailed site audit conducted by our engineers revealed pond cleaning was consuming up to 15% of total operational hours and that improved water management practices would help to alleviate labour pressures.
Following a competitive tender process, we proposed our AquaCycle™ Thickener for primary stage water management to efficiently manage silt content and address the shortcomings typically associated with settling ponds.
Delivering competitive advantage to its customers, our AquaCycle accelerates return on investment by maximising production efficiency, improving output product quality and reducing water and energy costs.
Traditional wash plants use a series of ponds to recycle water and for the natural settlement of suspended solids and silts. As wash plant technology has advanced and tonnages have increased, the area needed for settlement ponds has dramatically increased and these are often a source of significant operational and logistical challenges.
Accounting for the increase in material throughput alongside fuel and labour costs, ongoing pond management costs £5 per tonne on average.
Proven water management solutions
An alternative to water extraction and the costly process of pumping water to the plant, our AquaCycle minimises water consumption by ensuring up to 90% of process water is recycled for immediate recirculation.
After feed material has been washed and classified, waste is sent to the AquaCycle thickener tank. Here, a small amount of polyelectrolyte flocculant is added to the water via an automatic dosing station which forces fine particles to settle on the bottom of the thickener tank. It helps to maximise the settlement of solids in the smallest possible space as waste sludge is thickened and discharged to the holding pond, resulting in a lower total volume of material being sent to the pond which drives down maintenance costs and manual labour requirements.
Our business development manager Fergal Campbell said: “Our AquaCycle solution pumps directly to final remediation areas, meaning sludge does not have to be handled or transported. As well as increasing operational efficiency, it has helped to reduce labour and silt management costs while also extending pond life. This allows the Campbell Contracts quarrying division to better manage its labour resource by redirecting its team to high priority and value-adding tasks.”
Within the first year of operation, the reduced maintenance requirements and increased productivity enabled by our AquaCycle have contributed significantly to the company’s bottom line, driving down costs and supporting revenue generation.