LafargeHolcim, a global leader in building materials and solutions, is an active producer in the Cement, Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete and Solutions & Products business segments of the industries the Company serves. As a company whose business is centered on the use of natural materials, LafargeHolcim is acutely aware of their responsibilities from a sustainability perspective. Recently, the company’s Leadership Team made it evident that sustainability is a key component of their business strategy and something they are actively evaluating at each site with their annual reporting. Considering the environmental and sustainability impact of each of their operations and sites is critical to their success as a company that relies upon natural materials.
LafargeHolcim’s Woodstock, ON, Canada quarry experienced quite the breakthrough in sustainability for the operation and ultimate usable material throughput thanks to Polydeck’s industry-leading spray nozzle technology. The Woodstock quarry was previously heavily involved in extracting and processing limestone deposit, a key building material. The operation historically focused on the blasting, extracting, crushing, and screening of limestone. As a feeder plant for a nearby cement plant, the quarry’s operation viability was clear. However, when the market for limestone changed, the operation found it critical to adapt to the changing market demands.
The market change resulted in the supplying of more stone for asphalt and concrete purposes. As the operation began focusing on these materials, it began generating fines. In fact, the Woodstock quarry team noticed they were producing mountains of fines. Since the company culture had evolved to consider the impact of each operation and to innovate with regards to sustainability, the lightbulb started to illuminate in Woodstock--resulting fines could be processed into a proprietary, usable material. While the end goal seemed clear, there was still some adaptation and creativity that would be needed. That’s where the Polydeck team came in to help the plant figure out their new approach.
LafargeHolcim knew that the reprocessed fines would be highly marketable, and they were right. It became obvious that Polydeck’s spray nozzles, designed to handle heavy-duty washing, was the answer to adapting the decks to create a marketable product.
While a spray nozzle seems like a simple product, the devil is truly in the details. When the quarry started searching for a washing solution, they knew they needed the most efficient and durable product in the market. Ideally spray nozzles would have the capability to supply water at just the right pressure and geometry to produce a washing effect resulting in proper material separation and throughput. Polydeck’s spray nozzles, fitted to LafargeHolcim’s on site Simplicity 8x20 Triple Deck horizontal machine, did just that. When a spray nozzle functions properly, sized and distributed unwanted materials are freed and isolated as usable material.
The Woodstock quarry began testing a washing process to extract the fines using wire cloth, which is a common product in a washing operation. However, the maintenance and hands-on time of wire cloth soon proved highly inefficient for the operation. Time spent changing out wire cloth was time not spent producing sellable material.
After realizing wire cloth was an inefficient solution, LafargeHolcim turned to Polydeck once again and decided to design a plant for producing the proprietary material. Polydeck outfitted all three of LafargeHolcim’s decks with synthetic media as well as spray nozzles. The results were astounding. Adapting to a situation presenting an extremely narrow clearance challenge, Polydeck’s spray nozzles not only fit, but they also executed the job with certainty. Material that was previously resulting in waste was now being separated due to the efficient wash results produced by the combination of Polydeck spray nozzles and screen media. Polydeck spray nozzles feature a self-cleaning feature that eliminated significant man-hours and their ease of replacement and maintenance ensured the Woodstock quarry wouldn’t experience significant downtime should a part or nozzle need adjustment, replacement or cleaning.
LafargeHolcim learned first-hand how adapting their washing operation with Polydeck spray nozzles at their Woodstock operation increased their efficiency, throughput, and sustainability. Previous byproduct with very limited applications is transformed into a highly marketable product within tight specifications. Maintenance is reduced and simplified. The “money-deck,” as many call it, is free to produce material that results in a profit for the operation. When results and sustainability matter, Polydeck’s self-cleaning, heavy-duty, high-efficiency spray nozzles are second to none.
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