A Caterpillar 777 rolls down the haul road.
In the beginning, the Bath Cement Company used hand-loaded carts at its quarry.
Later came 35-ton trucks, then 65-ton trucks.
Today, the company, now known as Keystone Cement, is using Cat 777F 100-ton (90.7 t) haul trucks to handle the volume in one of its four quarries, located just south of Bath, Pa.
As part of its plan to widen and restructure the quarry around a new crushing facility, the company is in the process of upsizing the entire fleet.
“There is a 30-ton difference between the old trucks and the new Cat 777F,” said Jonathan Hill, mining operations manager of Keystone Cement.
“Just two years ago we completed the construction of a brand new dry process cement plant and the new crushing facility feeds that cement plant. We can crush approximately 1,350 tons per hour. Right now it is being fed by the two 777Fs. As the quarry develops we will add a third one.”
Also in use at the quarry as primary and secondary crushers are Bedeshi twin roll crushers. They feed into a Beumer pipe conveyor, which transports the rock from the quarry to the plant.
Filling ’em Up
The bulk of Keystone’s quarrying, or approximately 80 percent of its activities, is supplying the cement plant, with the balance feeding its aggregate facility, KAPCO, according to Hill.
“We are loading these new triple 7Fs with 990Hs with some success. We are getting 93 tons on the trucks. When we get to the 992s we will easily get 100 tons on them.”
A Growing Process
The path to growth began with Hill’s arrival at Keystone four years earlier, he said. His plan included working with Ransome CAT and Tom White.
“Projects like this don’t typically happen in a short time frame,” said White, heavy construction sales representative of Ransome CAT. “It takes a lot of processes.”
And the process has gone smoothly, Hill said.
“The trucks are supported by a maintenance contract. Tom and his group have done extensive training with us to make sure everything has gone very quietly. It’s been seamless to be honest. The other trucks went off lease on the first of September and that same day the new ones started. It went very well.”
About the 777Fs
Besides the increase in capacity, a notable improvement on the 777Fs is the safety equipment, according to Hill.
“The standard safety equipment is a real step forward. The operator cab in terms of visibility and some of the radar equipment [which alerts the operator if there is anything in the proximity of the truck] is a real step forward. I get a lot of positive feedback from the operators.”
The Cat 777Fs are Tier IV interim. It gives a lower cost per ton than previous lower capacity trucks, according to the manufacturer.
“There are new safety features starting with the easy access into the cab, along with cameras that are on the front, back and sides to give the operator extended visibility. There os 360-degree visibility. It gives the operator more comfort, so he can focus on driving the truck,” White explained.
Ransome CAT’s Role
Upon delivery from the manufacturer, the trucks are disassembled at the factory and reassembled on site.
“They are that large,” White explained. “They come in about eight truck loads.
“Cranes, forklifts and a team of guys from the trucking company come in and do an assembly process and then our team follows up after that doing a quality check — a product delivery and inspection.
“Test everything and make sure it is ready to hand over to the customer. Then we have some of our in-house folks do some initial training, orientation to the operator on the trucks.
“In this case, we also brought in factory demo operator trainers from Caterpillar for two or three days of site-intensive training, one on one with the operators.”
A satellite-based product link enables Ransome to help watch the trucks and prevent something from becoming a major problem.
“Catch it in its infancy, and then react to that will keep the trucks up and running, giving them the most uptime possible,” White said.
Keystone Cement: A
In 1926, investors contracted to build a new wet process cement manufacturing plant on about 400 acres in the limestone rich Lehigh Valley. Keystone Cement was started with four small rotary kilns, four raw mills and four finishing mills in 1928. In the years that followed, additional land was purchased, increasing the total acreage to approximately 650 acres.
About Ransome CAT
Ransome CAT, founded in 1916, is a Caterpillar dealership that covers Southeastern Pa., Southern N.J. and Northern Del. Ransome is among the largest and oldest family-owned companies in the Tri-State area with more than 10 locations. Now known as Ransome Family of Companies, it provides sales, parts, service and support for both Caterpillar and International Trucks in the following industries: Heavy Construction Equipment, Diesel Engines, Power Generation,Marine, Commercial/Industrial Engines and International Trucks. CEG