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Fenton Sand & Gravel Takes on Refinery Upgrade

Thu September 25, 2008 - Midwest Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Last winter, Mike Zalewski, branch manager of Southeastern Equipment Company’s Novi, Mich., store called Vaughn Smith, owner of Fenton Sand & Gravel, to arrange a demo of a skid loader.

Zalewski said he was surprised when Smith told him it would be difficult to find the time. Usually, Michigan winters aren’t known for their busy construction activity so Zalewski asked Smith why he was so busy?

Smith explained that he was awarded a contract by Marathon Oil Corporation to recycle materials taken from a stretch of Interstate 75 to be used in construction of a road for their major $1.9 billion dollar Detroit Refinery Upgrade.

Almost in passing, Zalewski mentioned that Southeastern Equipment Company recently had become an Eagle Crusher dealer.

Part of the construction on Interstate 75, the main north/south highway linking Toledo to Detroit, called for pulling up 24 lane mi. (38 km) of highway. Work included 4 mi. (6.4 km) of 3 lanes northbound and 4 mi. of 3 lanes southbound.

The recycled material provided a good local source of aggregate to be used in the roadway for Marathon’s planned Refinery expansion.

With primary consideration being safety, Marathon tabbed Smith’s company because of his 24 years in the business and awarded him the contract over several bidders. With enough work to keep him busy for quite some time, Smith started up Mid Michigan Crushing & Recycling.

To process the 350,000 tons (317,500 t) of material, Smith knew he’d need a portable plant that would operate dependably and would set up easily without requiring major adjustments.

Although Southeastern Equipment had only been in the Detroit market for a short period of time, Smith had known Zalewski for years.

For over 24 years in the gravel business, Smith has operated a lot of crushers. Currently, he owns a gravel operation in Fenton, Mich. With Eagle Crushers, Southeastern Equipment  represents American-made aggregate recycling equipment, which Smith said he had found a winning combination.

Southeastern Equipment’s Sale

For the Eagle Crusher transaction, Zalewski collaborated with Tim Saine, Southeastern Equipment’s product specialist of aggregate processing.

Additionally,  Eagle Crusher provided ongoing support throughout the sales and equipment setup. Smith said the entire team impressed him with their product knowledge and service oriented approach.

Smith wanted an open circuit set up and the Southeastern Equipment  team suggested Eagle Crusher’s UltraMax 1400-45 crushing plant and a 6 by 20 ft. (1.8 by 6 m) Eagle Crusher screen.

The UltraMax 1400-45 replaces dual crusher circuits without sacrificing productivity. The machine produces uniform, cubical spec product at lower costs per ton.

Eagle Crusher’s portable 6 by 20 ft. screen is a triple-deck, horizontal screening plant that is capable of separating up to three different cubical products simultaneously.

After Eagle Crusher’s machines processed the material, Smith said Mid Michigan Crushing & Recycling used McCloskey conveyors for stacking.

Smith explained that, although an all-in-one unit would offer portability, he felt that the clearance on an open circuit set up would work better with his recycled material.

Eagle’s discharge clearences is critical to positive material flow with rebar and other metals. The sytem can be used as either an open or closed circuit, which is determined by the conveyor set-up. Pieces of wire and rebar would be less likely to tangle into a bird’s nest and jam up the works with the additional space.

Smith said he was pleased with his decision and his new plant has run trouble-free since going into service.

As far as portability, Mid Michigan Crushing & Recycling broke down and transported Eagle Crusher 1400 within the weight restrictions. The machine was delivered to the site in April.

At the jobsite, the machines were re-built and made operational within a week.

The plant went into service at the location approximately three months ago and has approximately two more months worth of crushing to do before they break it down to relocate.

The UltraMax 1400-45 is capable of making three types of materials simultaneously, the job called for producing #2 –21AA road base and 1 by 3 ft. (.3 by .9 m) drainage course material at the current site.

The crusher also features a magnet set to catch rebar and other metal scrap which is diverted from the stream and sold for scrap.

With the Eagle plant in place, a three-man crew used Cat excavator to position raw material. Afterward,  a Cat loader fed material into the Eagle Crusher 1400.

During this process, an operator from a station on the crusher maintained the appropriate speed.

The conveyor and vibrating screen has a function that sprays water on the materials to minimize dust. From this location he can shut down each component piece by piece or all at once.

The on-plant power has a 510 hp (380 kW) Detroit diesel engine and a 236 hp (175 kW) generator  that powers all the equipment except the stackers. The Eagle Crusher plant delivers 350 tons (317 t) per hour with the same fuel consumption as Smith’s previous plant that delivered only 150 tons (136 t) per hour. 

Beyond the Call of Duty

Smith said that Southeastern Equipment provided his company with outstanding service. He mentioned one particular incident when a drop hammer was mixed in with the concrete material to be recycled and fed into the crusher. The result was no more than a broken blow bar — a standard wear piece on the crusher.

What was apparently part of a drop hammer, a piece of steel measuring approximately 3 by 2 ft. by 8 in. thick, covered in dust and looking a lot like just another piece of concrete, was mixed in with the concrete material to be recycled and fed into the crusher.

Up to that point, Southeastern Equipment Company’s Novi store did not stock that particular item. Zalewski called down to the Eagle Crusher office to make sure there would be somebody to supply the part. He then headed down to Galion, Ohio. Because it was a Friday night, Kalvin Lewis, assistant parts manager of Eagle Crusher, assured Zalewski that he’d be waiting and met him at the factory in Bucyrus, Ohio, to shorten the drive time.

The part was delivered promptly and now Southeastern Equipment stocks blow bars as well as a full inventory of Eagle Crusher replacement parts.

Smith said he had never encountered a more responsive combination of manufacturer and dealer.

For more information on Southeastern Equipment, visit For more information on Eagle Crusher, visit

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