3288 increases production in Cornwall

A new Rammer 3288 Hard Rock hammer is playing a pivotal role in the expansion and increased production of a unique UK granite quarry that is owned by Cornwall Council and operated by CORMAC Solutions Limited.

Castle-an-Dinas Quarry in Penzance, Cornwall has taken delivery of a new Rammer 3288 Hard Rock hammer from local dealer M&M Plant Ltd.   The new hammer – modified to match the harsh and abrasive granite application – replaces an existing Rammer G80 unit that will be refurbished before being pressed back into action.

Driven by Demand

Covering an area of almost 90 hectares, operating at a depth of 60 metres and producing over 100,000 tonnes per year, the Castle-an-Dinas Quarry is – unusually – owned by the local authority Cornwall Council and operated by their arms length company CORMAC Solutions Limited.

Originally purchased to ensure that the council had a constant and reliable supply of fine grain granite for a variety of roadstone and concrete aggregate applications, the quarry has evolved to become a profit centre in its own right.   “As the biggest user of roadstone in the region, Cornwall Council was keen to safeguard its supply chain,” says quarry and recycling manager Andy Bartle.   “But the operation has expanded to include increasing sales to third-party companies.   In 2012, sales were split roughly 60:40 between the Council and external companies.”

Bartle says that the desire for sales production coupled with the need for a high-grade product drives every facet of the Castle-an-Dinas operation, from its strict environmental policies to the products and processes used to win the hard rock from the quarry face.

“We use drill and blast methods to extract the rock from the face with each blast dropping around 7,500 tonnes of material to the quarry floor.   We blast as infrequently as possible to ensure that our neighbours aren’t disturbed by noise and dust,” Bartle explains.   “Oversized material is broken up by an excavator equipped with a hydraulic hammer and the material is then fed into a track-mounted mobile jaw crusher stationed at the face.   After this initial processing, the material is hauled to the top of the quarry for further crushing and screening to produce the products that we and our external customers need.”

Great Partnership

Bartle reports that the excavator and hydraulic hammer working at the face play a vital and pivotal role in the day-to-day running of the quarry.   “Our mobile jaw crusher obviously can’t process oversized rock so the excavator and hammer are key to the smooth running of our operation,” he explains.   “Until recently, this job was undertaken by our Caterpillar 336E excavator and a Rammer G80 hammer supplied by local dealer M&M Plant Ltd.   But we have just upgraded the hammer to a new Rammer 3288 Hard Rock specifically modified for this application.”

That modification involved the addition of a heavy duty, hard rock body casing to help the 2,350 kg hammer withstand the rigours of a granite quarry.   But, as Bartle reports, the Rammer hammer itself can also be adapted to the specific application.   “The Rammer 3288 uses a new operating principle that allows us to match the hammer to individual carriers and applications for improved efficiency and productivity,” he adds.   “We have used this capability to full effect here at the Castle-an-Dinas Quarry and the Rammer 3288 is perfectly matched to our Caterpillar excavator.   They are a great partnership and we are already seeing a marked increase in production levels.”

Long Term Reliability

In addition to the productivity of the new Rammer 3288, Bartle says that the reliability and durability associated with the Rammer brand was a key consideration in his purchasing decision.   “We operated the Rammer G80 for 10 years and it rarely missed a beat.   Even though it has been replaced, we are having it refurbished so it can act as a spare for when the new 3288 is out of action for scheduled maintenance,” he says.   “The new hammer has a new sealing system and improved lubrication which will reduce our owning and operating costs.   But the greatest benefit of the new hammer is that it is covered by Rammer’s Lifetime Warranty.   Rammer clearly has faith in the long-term reliability of the hammer if they’re willing to offer that.”

Rounding off what Bartle describes as a perfect partnership; the arrival of the new hammer means that Castle-an-Dinas Quarry will extend its working relationship with long-term supplier M&M Plant Ltd.

“Throughout the time we were running the Rammer G80, M&M Plant proved to be helpful and responsive.   They are right on hand to provide the levels of service we expect,” Andy Bartle concludes.   “As a local council contractor, we aim to support local businesses whenever it is practicable.   The good news for CORMAC Solutions Limited is that our local dealer is excellent and the product they offer is the best in the business, so this was an easy decision to make.”