Top Factors to Consider for Plant Design

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

It’s safe to say that if Honest Abe were tasked with crushing stone, he’d dedicate a healthy percentage of time to plant design. The wisdom here, of course, is that preparation can make or break an endeavor. And, when there are valuable outcomes riding on a project, preparation is essential.

If you’re considering plant design, you know that installing a new plant at a site isn’t an endeavor that should be taken lightly – you can’t just rush into plant installation without considering a range of factors. That’s because plant design is essential in order for your site to run as efficiently as possible and maximize the value of the resources at hand.

Failure to consider critical plant design factors can leave you struggling to efficiently crush materials as you fall behind quotas, but, if you prepare and design well, your plant will help you meet your production goals.

To help you prepare your plant for success, here are the top factors to consider for plant design.

1. The Type of Material That You’ll Be Crushing

This is often one of the first and most obvious factors when designing a stone processing plant: what kind of material will you be crushing?

Your plant needs will vary based on the answer to that question. Will you be crushing hard material, or soft material? Harder materials, like granite, trap rock, diabase, etc., require jaw crushers, gyratory crushers, and cone crushers that deal better with hard abrasive materials. Conversely, impact crushers deal well with less abrasive materials, and are suitable for softer materials and help reduce any potential problems with flat and elongated products.

Whatever the type of material you’ll be crushing, you’ll need to consider it immediately when designing your plant.

2. The Targeted Finished Products

A second important consideration is the finished products that your plant is targeting to produce.

What type of finished products will be required and what is the quantity of each finished product? Whether you’re producing larger crushed products like Rip Rap, #1’s, #3’s, or smaller material like #57’s, #7’s, #8’s, and screening, you’ll need to design your processing plant accordingly. Different crushing and screening stations will be needed to produce different products and at the quantities required.

That will mean considerable attention should be made to install adequate sized crushers, screens, and conveyors to optimize each component of the processing plant with the end products in mind.

3. The Placement of the Primary Crusher

Primary crusher placement is another important aspect to consider during plant design.

The closer the primary crusher can be to the pit area, the better. Reducing the haul distance from the pit area to the primary crusher will reduce the amount of mobile equipment needed, increase your production processes, and, ultimately, save you time and money on labor, fuel, and costs associated with mobile equipment maintenance.

If you’re installing a plant at a green field site, don’t make plans to install your processing plant until you are fully aware of how your mining process will begin, and where most of the aggregate reserves are located in your mine. A contract crushing company could be used at the beginning of the mine’s life to develop the pit area to establish the pit and make an area large enough to install the permanent primary crusher in the lower level of the newly established pit area. This would allow the primary crushed material to be conveyed out of the pit area, which would substantially reduce fuel and equipment costs over the life of the quarry.

4. The Volume of Production

A fourth consideration to make is the volume of production your plant requires to meet the sales projections. How many tons of each finished product will be needed to be produced per hour? How many per day?

Depending on your sales forecasts and production goals, you may require a large stationary plant (greater than 750,000 tons), medium-sized wheeled plants (for 200,000 to 750,000 tons), or mobile track plants (for smaller temporary projects). More aggressive production goals require the larger stationary plants, but it’s worth noting that with larger, less-mobile plants, you can end up restricting your own access to precious reserves if your large plant sits on top of them.

Regardless, make sure to consider what your sales and volume objectives are as you work through plant design.

5. The Market Demand

Finally, it’s important to take market demand into account. This is a factor you can’t strictly control, and yet failing to design with market demand in mind can lead to costly shortages or surpluses.

It’s worthwhile to do the research to find out what your market is, and what it will be. Before you spend millions of dollars putting a huge plant in at a site, find out if your aggressive production goals will be met with a buying market. If you’re producing #8’s for an asphalt plant and demand drops, or demand for a different finished product increases, you have to have flexibility designed into the plant. Otherwise, you could be left with wasted resources and money.

Medium-sized wheeled plants tend to offer a good combination of flexibility and capacity, allowing you to meet demand as it shifts while still producing a large volume of finished products. Also, making a plant portable will allow the plant to be moved between quarries and build inventory. That’s why we often recommend a medium-sized, wheeled plant.

Again, though, your optimum solution will depend on the goals you would like to achieve, and setting those appropriately will depend on the demand in your market.

Get Started with Plant Design

Don’t rush into crushing without considering these factors. The work of planning and preparation will always set the stage for successful production.

Are you ready to begin plant design that best meets your crushing needs? Get in touch with us.

We start by consulting with you to define your application needs, and then move forward with custom plant design and fabrication. Our precision fabrication utilizes technology such as:

  • CNC plasma burn-table equipped with the latest AutoCAD software
  • MIG wire-fed machines for maximum quality welds
  •  Product finishing with shot blasting, special paint processes, and drying capabilities that ensure products built to your specifications

The result is a customized plant that meets your needs because it is designed to your specific requirements, with attention to detail and adherence to a well developed plan.

At the end of the day, it’s that kind of planning that can make your crushing project a huge success.