Townsville Graded Sands, located in the outskirts of Townsville, north Queensland, Australia, is one of the largest sand extraction companies in the region. The company provides specialty sands, soils, aggregate, gravel, road base and fills, and landscaping materials to Townsville and the surrounding area. It is part of the Mendi Group of Companies, also headquartered in Townsville.
Mendi Group is led by Managing Director Jeff Doyle, whose father started the business in 1959. It is still very much a family operation to this day, with Doyle’s wife and four children also working in the business.
When Doyle purchased Townsville Graded Sands in 2013, he knew he needed to improve the efficiency of the production. The processing plant was old, and it wasn’t generating a consistent product. Doyle said trying to create fine sand with tight specifications with that plant was difficult.
He continued to run the antiquated plant for several years to discover where the inefficiencies could be improved. During this time, he was introduced to McLanahan and its wet processing equipment solutions through Lincom, McLanahan’s aggregate dealer in Australia.
Doyle has a great relationship with Lincom, so when they recommended a McLanahan sand washing plant to help him meet his production efficiency goals, that’s what he decided to install.
“I didn’t research other manufacturers because Lincom is my supplier, and if they sell whatever, we deal with them,” Doyle said. “We knew they’d done their research on what was best.”
A McLanahan UltraSAND Plant was installed at the Townsville Graded Sands site. The UltraSAND Plant is composed of Hydrocyclones for washing and classifying the sand products and a Dewatering Screen for removing excess moisture from the final product.
The system also includes a McLanahan Slurry Pump and Sump in a compact, modular design for ease of delivery, quick setup and a small site footprint.
Before the UltraSAND Plant was due to arrive, Doyle prepared the concrete pads and civil works ahead of time to ensure the installation was as smooth as possible.
“It was put together pretty well,” Doyle explained. “We just lifted it into place with a couple of cranes. It took us a day to put it in place. The pipework took a bit longer, but it all went together pretty well.”
Doyle added that the installation was simpler than he expected, especially with support from McLanahan and Lincom.
“It wasn’t the task that I thought it would be,” said Doyle. “I thought it might have been a bit of a challenge, but it worked well, and we had the help from Lincom and McLanahan staff to help us do that.”
Since installing the McLanahan UltraSAND Plant, Townsville Graded Sands has seen positive changes to its production capabilities, including an increase in the amount of sand the company can produce in a day.
“We installed the McLanahan wash plant and it’s just changed our productivity. We’re doing in an hour what we did in a day previous to now, and that’s not a lie either,” said Doyle. “We do in a day what we’d normally do in a week for sure.”
In addition to improving Townsville Graded Sands’ efficiency through increased production, the McLanahan UltraSAND Plant has also improved efficiencies elsewhere in the operation – specifically, the sand supplied to the concrete side of Mendi Group’s business.
“We’re producing sand that ordinarily you’d have to use a coarse and fine sand to get a concrete batch right, but we seem to be able to make this manufactured washed sand and we’re able to get away with the one type of sand in our concrete plant, so it’s given us an efficiency there as well,” said Doyle.
While that plant is only operated when supply demands, it meets Doyle’s expectations.
“The plant itself does what I need it to do,” he said. “It serves the purpose, and I’m comfortable that it achieves every milestone we need it to with timing, its quality, its output and its safety. We’re big on safety in what we do. It’s a safe plant to be around, and we find that it is set up and structured well enough that I can put people out there and they won’t be in harm’s way, and I’ll get a good day’s work out of it.”
Although there was a bit of a learning curve with the operation of the McLanahan UltraSAND Plant, Doyle and his team are well prepared for the future.
“We’re looking forward to many years of serviceability out of the plant now,” he said.