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Rowley Ready Mix Cleans Up With New Stone Scrubber

Fri March 10, 2006 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

When stones are prepared for use in septic systems, they must be as clean as possible, practically clean enough to eat, if that were possible. Not that anybody would actually want to eat the stones, but they must be that clean in the state of Massachusetts.

Because of these strict requirements, Downy Shea of Rowley Ready Mix in Rowley, MA, knew he needed a machine that would clean the stones to such tight specifications. He turned to long-time business associate Dick Vining of EESSCO in Holbrook, MA, to design the machine.

“We got the idea of a stone scrubber and putting it over a small screen and having a hopper to feed the scrubber,” Shea said.

It didn’t take long for the two come up with a device that would ensure the cleanliness of the stone. The result of their joint effort is the EESSCO Double Wash System. Although it was developed only last summer, it has already resulted in jobs for Rowley Ready Mix, which is primarily a concrete and aggregate supplier.

“There was nothing on the market,” Shea commented.

Without such a machine, stone used to be loaded into the back of a truck and water sprayed on it from above. But that was not necessarily an efficient way to remove all the dirt, sand and film. By putting the stone into the Double Wash System, it is tumbled much like clothes in a washing machine. It then goes across a vibrating one-quarter-in. screen in which the smaller and broken pieces of stone are separated. The screen also can be as large as 2 in., if needed.

“Before, the process actually fractured the stone,” explained Vining. “This eliminates an extra step because the smaller pieces will be removed automatically.”

“We thought that the best idea was a machine that scrubs the stone,” Shea added.

Inspectors have so far been quite satisfied with the quality of stone emerging from the machine.

As much as 500 tons (450 t) of clean stone has been produced in a single day, something that could be increased even further. It also uses approximately 350 gal. (1,325 L) of water a minute, although in the springtime that figure could go as high as 600 gal. (2,272 L). The amount of water required is based on the application.

The machine measures approximately 25 ft. (7.6 m) long, 10 ft. (3 m) across and 14 ft. (4.3 m) tall with a 10-by 10-ft. (3 by 3 m) hopper. It is completely portable and comes with three electric motors and a portable generator. The machine breaks down into three pieces — screen, bin and stone scrubber — when it is transported.

“It is a simple skid-mounted machine that could be moved if need be. There is a minimal amount of setup time. It breaks down in two hours,” Shea said.

At the Rowley location, it is set up next to a large cement wall, at the top of which trucks will approach and dump their loads of stone. The stone is then sent through the wash process and then loaded on a truck waiting on the other end without any hands even touching the rocks.

Not only is the machine paying off already for Shea — as much as $70,000 in revenue has already come in during its first six months — it is the first such machine in the country, according to Shea.

“It has probably generated a tremendous amount of sales for us in the last 90 days. Other companies are coming in that need a double washed stone,” he said.

Both men figure that is has an initial payoff of just one year. While it was Shea’s idea and Vining’s design, the machine is manufactured for EESSCO by Kemper Equipment in Honey Brook, PA.

Developing such a machine is certainly advantageous for Shea and his cement and aggregate business in Rowley.

“In today’s market, you can’t just do one thing,” he said.

It is especially helpful to have a machine like that in Massachusetts because the state’s requirements are so stringent. Similar standards in Maine and New Hampshire may follow soon, so there also will also be a need for it there.

The Double Wash System also is versatile. For example, a double-deck screen can be added to it so it can handle two different materials at the same time. “There are all sorts of variables,” Vining said.

Benefits also spread to other parts of the industry.

Many people may not realize it, according to Shea, but there is a shortage of sand for things such as cement in New England. He explained that much of the area is aggregate poor because not enough local planning restrictions have been written to keep it from being depleted.

As a result, the cost of the foundation of a typical house in the area may triple, because sand is such an important component of the cement needed for it.

Because so much sand is cleaned away from the stone in the washing process, it can be collected and recycled.

Just like the Double Wash System, EESSCO also is quite new on the market. Founded in 2001 by three industry veterans (Vining, Greg Grey and Greg Donecker), it is now at the head of the aggregate and recycling industry. Vining came into the business with 32 years of experience working with Allis-Chalmers screens and crushers.

EESSCO also sells Sandvik crushing equipment and REMco VSI crushers, as well machinery from Phoenix Process Equipment, Universal Engineering and Excel Foundry. CEG

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