Stradacon Penna is a quarry operation located in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, that specializes in the production of high-quality road base and embankment materials, aggregate, recycled concrete products, and specialty sands for the civil construction industry, sporting fields and bio-retention basins. With owners David and Vivienne Penna at the helm and their children Natalie and Jarl involved in the day-to-day operations, Stradacon Penna is a true family-orientated business.
David Penna prides his quarry on being a clean, healthy environment. He has carefully and thoughtfully planned his site with sustainability in mind, and the citrus and other tropical fruit-bearing trees that line the entrance to his quarry are a testament to his efforts.
Part of Penna’s vision for a clean, healthy environment involves minimizing dust generation on site.
“We’re very keen to get dust out of our lives, to get dust off our site,” said Penna. “It causes mechanical issues, it causes health issues and it causes productivity issues.”
To reduce the dust generated by dry screening their crushed aggregates, Penna reached out to Lincom, McLanahan’s dealer for aggregate wet processing equipment in Australia, about adding a wash plant for size classification.
“We first became aware of the McLanahan product range through our long-standing relationship with Lincom,” Penna said. “They’ve supplied us pretty much all of our crushing equipment throughout the years, and they maintain a very good relationship with us. We’re on a first-name basis with them and know the family very well, and being a family organization ourselves, it means a lot to us.”
Lincom recommended McLanahan’s UltraWASH Modular Wash Plant, which can produce up to three clean aggregate products and up to two washed sand products.
Penna said he was impressed with the strength of the design of the McLanahan UltraWASH as well as McLanahan’s history and family values. The modularity of the plant, combined with Penna’s meticulous planning ahead of the plant’s arrival, allowed for a quick and easy setup on site.
“It went together in a matter of days,” said Penna. “Everything just went together, piece by piece; everything just went into the right place.”
Another part of Penna’s larger vision of sustainability involves recycling construction and demolition waste materials for reuse as construction aggregates.
“Dilution is the solution to pollution,” Penna said, citing a well-known adage about the process of adding water to decrease the concentration of a contaminant.
With this in mind, he added a McLanahan modular scrubbing system consisting primarily of a McLanahan Coarse Material Screw Washer to his new wash plant. The Coarse Material Screw Washer accepts the C&D waste after it has been crushed and removes the lightweight debris and organic material from the aggregate before it is processed in the UltraWASH.
With the McLanahan modular scrubbing system, Stradacon Penna is reducing the amount of soft plastics, timbers and papers that come in with the crushed C&D waste feed. Penna said about 99.9% of the rubbish is removed and sent to the local tip. The aggregate product is then dewatered with a McLanahan Dewatering Screen and presented to the McLanahan UltraWASH Modular Wash Plant to be added in with the naturally produced aggregates.
“It’s been a real game-changer for us,” Penna said. “We’re now producing aggregates and sands that are 10% derived from recycled concrete from demolition waste. We’re cleaning it up, presenting it with new fresh material, giving it a spruce up, putting it back on the ground and you just can’t tell. Rather than crushing all that demolition waste up, sending it back to industry, we’re tidying it up and presenting it back to industry in an almost new state.”
Penna said customers from all over the region bring their C&D waste to his quarry because it’s a one-stop shop for recycling material and purchasing new. The customers haul in C&D waste and haul out a clean, recycled aggregate product that can be reused for construction purposes.
“Most people know who we are, they know how we’re going about it, and they want to be a part of it,” shared Penna. “I’ve been in discussions with a lot of customers, and they all agree that it’s a very responsible thing to do — bring us concrete waste, we clean it up and send it back to industry. We don’t send it back to industry unless it is cleaned up.”
With the addition of the UltraWASH, Penna said they are able to increase their product lines and branch into some specialty sands — “all of these products that are very difficult to make, but we can make through our wash plant.”
“We’re very happy with the products coming out of the wash plant, and a key feature is the flexibility of the plant,” Penna said, referring to his ability to adjust material flows and split products with the UltraWASH’s flexible design. “We’re absolutely ecstatic with it.”
The UltraWASH also gives Penna the ability to makes these specification products without generating dust.
“The UltraWASH is allowing us to operate without dust, that’s absolutely critical to us. Its reliability is just outstanding,” Penna said. “It’s strong, it’s tough.”
Penna’s favorite feature of the UltraWASH is the remote access that allows McLanahan’s Controls and Automation team to connect directly to the plant to make software updates and provide troubleshooting support. Penna said that with the remote access, the McLanahan team is able to fix plant control issues faster than he can get a local electrician from town out to site.
“That’s gold,” said Penna. “The company being so far away, you feel a little remote here, you feel a little bit like you’re on another planet somewhere, but the remote access, that just makes us feel a lot closer to our supplier, and it’s a great feeling from a purchaser’s point of view.
“We feel like they’re just right here with us.”
Relationships are important to Penna, and forging a strong one with the McLanahan team through commissioning and startup that has continued through the after-sales support since 2021 has been paramount.
“Having a relationship with someone supplying your equipment goes deeper than the actual equipment itself. It goes to the relationships you develop with the company, and I can’t say enough about the relationship that I’ve developed with McLanahan through Lincom and directly through McLanahan.”
Penna is pleased with the outcome of his McLanahan Wash Plant and modular scrubbing system.
“The whole operation, the scrubber system coupled with the wash plant, enables us to treat this demolition waste and send it back into industry like an as-new state,” Penna explained. “It also enables us to operate dust-free. There’s not a lot of dust. There are fruit trees growing there because they can.
“It adds to the well-being of us all as people here. It’s healthy. It’s clean. It’s also environmentally sustainable because we’re not putting rubbish back out into the industry, we’re not belching dust out into the air, and it makes for a great work environment, it really does.”
With the McLanahan UltraWASH Modular Wash Plant and modular scrubbing system, Penna is meeting his goals of providing his customers with high-quality aggregate products while creating a safer working environment for his team.
“It’s everything I wanted,” Penna said, “everything I’ve wanted to achieve.”