Tim Casey, president of Hinesburg Sand & Gravel, shows the control system of the Sandvik CH440 cone with a Trio triple deck screen in front.
A family-owned business, Hinesburg Sand & Gravel started at home on the farm, with only a few pieces of equipment in its inventory.
This third-generation business was founded in 1956 by Francis Casey and Orvis Driscoll and is operated today by Francis' grandson, Tim. Prior to 1956, the family was operating a farm that is located across the road from today's sand and gravel operation. Francis Casey discovered that he had a ready supply of gravel on his property and started removing the gravel from his gravel bank and making it available to area homeowners. He eventually operated a small crude screening plant and purchased a front-end shovel.
Within a few years, Orvis left the company and Paul Casey joined the company. Paul had been doing portable crushing on his own and also purchased land adjacent to the original pit. Paul merged his land and equipment into HS&G. Francis and Paul had a vision of growing the sand and gravel business and began purchasing adjoining properties that would allow for long-term growth of the company.
A Time of Growth
IBM came to Essex County, Vt., and the demand for sand products and aggregates grew tremendously. Area asphalt plants and concrete plants dramatically increased their demand for product. Also a market for a much broader variety of aggregate types developed. The new customers were demanding a high-grade material that could be produced at Hinesburg Sand & Gravel.
In the late 70's as specs grew tighter and demand increased HS&G purchased a hydraulic classifier.
“The hydraulic classifier was a big investment, but it did not give us exactly what we were looking for or the production levels needed,” said Tim Casey. “Paul decided to look for some outside help and contacted Dr. Robert Dawson with the University of Vermont. Keep in mind this was 1980. Robert Dawson and Paul were able to design an interface and control system between our plant and a computer. This was a control system specifically designed by them to help us manage the mixture of materials going into our plant, to increase our production levels and improve the consistency of the product being made. They were absolute visionary and we still use his system today.”
They patented this system in 1982.
In the 1980s, the company grew into trucking and continued to expand its focus on making specialty sands, including concrete, asphalt, masonry, septic and winter road sands. Hinesburg Sand & Gravel has refined its production systems to where it can make up to 13 products in a single pass, according to Casey.
“We are located on a huge gravel deposit. During the ice age glaciers plugged the Winooski River and water was diverted to our area. With it came a huge gravel deposit.
“Our area was a river delta. Most people don't realize it but what is today Lake Champlain at that time was actually a large sea. The end result is layers of gravel that are covered with layers of finer materials. These layers vary across our property depending on the speed the water was flowing during different time periods.
“Producing some of the materials that we have a high demand for is sort of like putting together a recipe. You have to have the right variety of feeds going into the plant to make the end product that our customers are looking for. The problem that we were recently facing is that we had a high demand for sand and a surplus of stone. We knew that this sand could be produced from the stone on our site, but the equipment we owned was not capable of making it,” Casey said.
Hinesburg began looking at crushing plants that would allow it to achieve this need. It decided on a Sandvik CH440 cone with a Trio triple deck screen in front.
“We looked at a lot of other plants and decided that purchasing this Sandvik from EESSCO would best help us reach our goal of being able to produce a wide variety of consistent quality product. We have looked at and used vertical shaft impactors in the past and they were not capable of achieving our goals. The design of this Sandvik cone was superior and met our needs.
“The Sandvik has dramatically improved our operation. The cone is very adjustable allowing us to make changes to size very easily. The end result has been that we have been able to convert a lot of excess stone that we had stockpiled into very usable materials that has helped us to dramatically increase our production.”
Casey is very proud of the company's relationship with its 21 employees. Since 1956 no one has ever been laid off and everyone is kept busy on a year round basis.
When the plant goes down from production they move into a rigorous maintenance program, with each operator responsible for doing the maintenance on the equipment that he operates alongside the mechanics. The company also does a lot of cross training so that if there is no need for an employee's particular expertise, he has been trained to be able to function and produce in other areas of the plant. Some of the employees have been with the company for longer than 40 years.
Because of the high quality and the diversity of the products it is able to produce, Hinesburg was able to grow its business during the recession.
“It is not unusual for us to work with engineers to produce a specific product and meet a very tight spec. We pride ourselves on having high levels of quality control.
Working With EESSCO
Some of the new processing equipment that Hinesburg purchased from EESSCO is new and modern, but when it comes to the rolling stock, that is not always the case.
“Our intense maintenance program has allowed us to get a lot of extra years out of our rolling stock. We actually have a 1968 front-end loader that still operates. It is not a mainstay of our fleet, but we still use it from time to time for cleaning up around the yard. We rebuild all of the equipment ourselves. Vermont is a small market and it's important for us to keep a handle on our operating costs,” Casey said.
Hinesburg has had a long relationship with EESSCO and considers Dick Vining and Chris Salafia valuable resources.
“They have many, many years of experience in this industry; they understand my objectives and they come to the table with the right products to help us meet those objectives,” Casey said. “They have the resources to do extensive testing, which eliminates a lot of guess work.
“The Sandvik product has a great reputation for high quality and reliability. Dick and Chris were able to evaluate what we were trying to do, design a system to accomplish that, and set up the plant so that it operated as economically as possible. Our results from this new plant have been very positive. We have seen a double digit increase in our sand production levels.”
For more information about EESSCO, visit www.eessco.com/.