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Thompson Contractors Relies on Hitachi at NC Quarry

Fri December 09, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Angela B. Hurni



Thompson Contractors Inc., a family-owned business since the 1940s, operates two quarries in North Carolina, which mainly produce load shot granite and stone-based material for asphalt plants.

The Miller Creek Quarry, the largest of the two quarries and located in Rutherfordton, NC, has been in operation since 1965. With the assistance of a Hitachi EX1200 this quarry produces on average 1 million tons (907,000 t) per year. This quarry also is the main supplier to the asphalt plant owned by APAC-Atlantic Inc. at Miller Creek.

The actual asphalt plant was previously owned by Thompson Contractors, which sold it to APAC in 2000.

“It’s actually on our property and we haul the material to them,” said Danny Seay, Thompson’s superintendent.

The smaller Mill Spring quarry, also in operation since the early 1960s, is located in Mill Spring, NC. A Hitachi EX1100 purchased approximately 11 years ago helps this quarry produce on average 250,000 tons (227,000 m t) per year. This older Hitachi was used at the Miller Creek quarry until the EX1200 was purchased approximately a year ago. The EX1100 and the EX1200 each can haul approximately 15 tons (13.6 t) per bucket.

Both Hitachis were purchased from the Arden, NC, branch of J.W. Burress. Tug Nix, sales representative of J.W. Burress, conducted the most recent sale of the Hitachi EX1200.

For Seay, however, the type of excavator to buy was not a difficult decision to make. He is convinced that the Hitachi is the best for his company’s needs.

“We didn’t even consider anything else when purchasing the new 1200,” explained Seay.

He also stated that he likes the Hitachi mining excavators because of their dependability and low cost of operating and maintenance. As evidence, Seay stated, “We ran our 1100 [for] 16,000 hours before we replaced the pump.”

The only reason they did that, according to Seay, was for “preventative maintenance.” Furthermore, the 1100 still has its original tracks and hoses.

The quarries produce all sizes of wash stone and base stone. Seay said that the rock they mine is consistent.

“Our supply is basically unlimited,” Seay added.

In addition to APAC’s asphalt plant, the quarries also supply other asphalt plants, concrete plants and residential customers. State departments of transportation are big customers as well.

Thompson is a family-owned business with three generations who currently work among its 35 employees. Seay, who has worked his way up in the company over the past 18 years from a shovel operator to his current position as superintendent, said Thompson Contractors is a “good company.” CEG