Bretec Breaker Helps Safeguard Vital Stone Source
A 1.7 tonne Bretec hydraulic breaker is playing a key role in the production of high quality roadstone at a UK quarry on the very edge of the picturesque Lake District.
Quarry giant Aggregate Industries has demonstrated its faith in Sandvik equipment by entrusting the secondary breaking of high specification roadstone materials to a Bretec L20C hydraulic breaker. The recently-delivered 1650 kg (3460 lb) breaker is responsible for breaking oversized material at Ghyll Scaur Quarry in Millom, Lancashire in the UK which lies on the edge of The Lake District, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the North West of England.
Until recently, Ghyll Scaur Quarry covered an area of 19 hectares with an excavation depth of ten metres and reserves of two million tonnes of a highly valued volcanic tuff. Recently, however, Aggregate Industries has been granted permission by Cumbria County Council for extensions to the north and west of the quarry to enable the extraction of nearly seven million tonnes of the igneous rock.
Ghyll Scaur was the only roadstone quarry in England where the stone had a polished stone value (PSV) rating of more than 68 and the continuation of quarrying would secure the production of a nationally important resource in the long term, the council decided. That decision will allow the quarry to continue operating until 2045. The extension areas amount to a further 7.4 hectares to be worked in four phases over the next 23 years, helping ensure availability of this vital resource to asphalt plants across the North West of England and to customers as far away as Lincolnshire.
According to quarry operations manager Geoff Topham, the purchase of the new Bretec L20C is a reaction to the extension of the quarry and marks a major change in the secondary breaking operation.
Drop Ball Dropped
“Until quite recently, we used a drop ball to meet all our secondary breaking needs,” he says.“But with the quarry being extended and demand increasing, we realised that we needed to switch to a hydraulic breaker.” Topham reports that this need prompted a side-by-side comparison of several leading hydraulic hammer brands to see how they would each cope with the hardness of the sough after local rock, and to check their suitability for working in an area in which noise levels are closely monitored and controlled.
“From the moment the trial started, it was clear that the Bretec L20C was as good if not better than all its rivals in all the key areas,” Topham continues. “Aggregate Industries is constantly seeking value for money, so the comparatively low cost of the Bretec L20C immediately appealed. And the fact that it was backed by Sandvik – a manufacturer with which we have a long and beneficial relationship – was also a major factor.” Ultimately, however, the main reasons for choosing the Bretec L20C were very much production-related. “The Bretec breaker proved during the trials that it was able to cope with the hardness of the rock, delivering a production level that matched the needs of our primary crusher perfectly,” Topham continues. “In addition, there are various environmentally-sensitive areas within the quarry where noise levels must be kept to an absolution minimum. The Bretec breaker was the quietest hammer that we tested, making it the ideal solution for our secondary breaking needs.”
Mounted on a 24 ton Komatsu PC240 hydraulic excavator and working at the quarry face among the blasted shot rock, the noise and vibration-suppressed breaker is now helping maintain a steady flow of material to the quarry’s primary crusher.
“We have already been impressed by the support we have received from Sandvik. Having been in the industry as long as I have, the name Sandvik means quality,” Geoff Topham concludes. “We have the right product, the right manufacturer and the right solution for our needs.”