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Project Case Study- Hilltop Basic Resources, Inc.

Background

Hilltop Basic Resources, Inc. is an aggregate and ready mixed concrete supplier. With over 70 years in the industry, Hilltop provides quality products and services to engineers, architects and contractors in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia.

Hilltop asked EGC to examine its 2,000-pound rock crusher used to make aggregate for mixed concrete products. The rock crusher was technically working, but vibrated so badly it threatened to cause the machine foundation to fail, regularly snapping hardened steel bolts anchoring the machine to the foundation. Hilltop was forced to shut the machine down at least twice a week Monday through Friday and spent a full day on Saturday pulling maintenance to keep it running. The company tried to repair the equipment numerous times but could not find a permanent solution. The rock crusher never functioned at its optimal capacity.

EGC worked with executives from Hilltop to evaluate the equipment and structure. What they thought would be a simple fix turned out to be a much larger project. However, EGC’s problem-solving approach and expertise proved to be invaluable to the Hilltop team.

Objectives

  • Identify the ongoing issue with the operation of the rock crusher machine
  • Correct the machine issues
  • Keep shut-down time to a minimum to get Hilltop back to producing aggregate as quickly as possible

Challenges

EGC was brought in by the operator to re-build the foundation.  Upon evaluating the conditions in place, the EGC personnel realized that the bottom of the machine wasn’t the issue; it was actually the top of the machine’s steel frame. Further evaluation revealed the machine was not installed properly. In six months, the machine was likely to fail if the vibration problem was not solved.

Solutions

EGC contacted the original equipment manufacturer to obtain the installation specifications. They sent a video of the machine in operation to the manufacturer's main office and were guided through alignment procedures. This ultimately led EGC to discover that the machine had not been installed correctly and that the equipment was sitting on a steel frame that was too light for the task and was not aligned properly.

From there, EGC planned corrective action, which included building a correct base frame, replacing all bolts throughout the machine as well as all compromised anchor bolts. A new foundation with a concrete mat was poured to cover all new anchors, making a much cleaner and safer area to work. The new steel base frame, foundation and alignment completely eliminated destructive vibration during operation. EGC also assembled machine manuals that had been lost since the original installation, and created maintenance schedules to ensure proper maintenance moving forward.

EGC’s investigation into the real issues, thorough evaluation, planning, steel fabrication and rigging services provided a total solution.

Results

In the eighteen months since EGC identified and solved the issue with the rock crusher, the machine has been running smoothly. Today the crusher runs five and six days a week with no issues. 

Replacing the crusher would have cost Hilltop at least $500,000, not including the cost to purchase, fabricate and erect a new steel frame. EGC was able to get the machine up and running in a four-day shutdown for a fraction of the cost, including all labor, material, and equipment rental.

“The owners are as pleased as they have ever been,” says Fred McCoy, Senior Vice President of EGC. “They are crushing more rock than ever, and they are able to stockpile aggregate for future orders. A smooth-running machine with no vibration should last Hilltop another twenty years.”