The National Stone Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) dredging forum on June 3 through 5 drew 150 enthusiastic aggregate producers and suppliers.
Held at the Hilton Hotel in Omaha the event underlined the importance of dredging in the aggregate industry. Companies that have been digging in the dry are purchasing dredges when their deposits go below the water table. Those dredging in flooded pits are having to replace or upgrade equipment to dig deeper as it is becoming more difficult to obtain mining permits in areas where residences are surrounding new deposits.
Forum attendees listened to two days of practical advice on various aspects of dredging and visited two nearby aggregate operations.
Steve Hatfield of Cornejo Materials in Wichita Kansas was with the National Aggregates Association prior to its merger with the National Stone Association to create the NSSGA. He is on the task force to organize the dredging forum and producers events.
“I took two of my key people who were able to see different dredging applications and attend the seminars” he said. “We came away with an important piece of information that a lethal gas can form in dredge tanks as a result of algae growth. If this knowledge saves even one life it was worth attending the seminar” he said.
Cornejo Materials runs two dredges and is getting ready to launch another – a used dredge that they refurbished and put into service. They provide sand and gravel to the Wichita Kansas area and to southeast Kansas where there are no deposits. Sister companies provide ready-mix concrete and asphalt.
Hatfield presented a talk on moving a dredge over land using his experiences with heavy duty rubber bags manufactured by E&S of Germany.
Jerry Mock is on the NSSGA committee for dredging. He sees the dredging forum as a gathering of individuals who are targeting the same piece of machinery identifying the problems and solutions in one aspect of the mining industry.
He is operations manager for Shelly Materials in Thornville Ohio and presented a talk on how to recover a dredge that has sunk. He quoted Thomas J. Wetta III at the beginning of his talk: “There are two kinds of dredges. Ones that have sunk and ones getting ready to sink.”
Mock urged dredge owners to be pro-active if a dredge sinks with information and procedures in place ahead of time. In his presentation he described measures for safely raising a dredge.
The Shelly Company Safety Officer Scott Oberholzer participated in a panel on dredge safety along with Alan G. MacVicar Rinker Materials and Stan Benke Lyman-Richey Corp.
“Safety is the number one priority in our company” said Mock. The safety officer manages the safety procedures for the company’s 20 operations aided by a safety representative from each operation.
“Last year we beat the world safety standards” said Mock.
The full schedule of the forum was as follows:
“Dredge Safety In The Aggregates Industry Mission Critical Safety Principles And Behaviors” Alan G. MacVicar Rinker Materials Stan Benke Lyman-Richey Corp. Scott Oberholzer The Shelly Co. (Division of Oldcastle Inc.);
Case studies and tour previews: Western Sand and Gravel Ashland Nebraska Operation Dave Brackenhoff Western Sand & Gravel Co. Mallard Sand and Gravel Valley Nebraska Operation Mike Stratman Mallard Sand & Gravel Co.;
“Everything You Wanted to Know About Pumping But Were Afraid to Ask” by Jeff Boone Metso Minerals – Thomas Pumps Division;
“How to Spec a Dredge: Matching the Application to the Right Equipment and Considering the Cost Alternatives” by William Wetta Dredging Supply Company;
“Basics of Mechanical Dredging” by Chris Nelson Rohr Corporation;
“Moving a Dredge: Practices to Move a Dredge Short and Long Distances. Moving Various Sizes of Dredges.” by Steve Hatfield Cornejo Materials;
“Preventing Breakdowns with Proper Dredge Maintenance Strategies” by Rick Parton Sahara Sand Silvi Companies;
“Honey I Sunk the Dredge: Underwater Salvage and Repairs on Dredges” by Jerry Mock The Shelly Co.;
“Automation Products Specifically for Dredging” by Jay Wise Kruse Controls;
“Use of Soy-Based Biodiesel As A Fuel Alternative” Eric Ziph Sapp Bros. Petroleum Inc. and Tim Stalp Stalp Sand and Gravel.
The primary sponsor of the event was Dredging Supply Company and co-sponsor was the Nebraska Concrete and Aggregates Association. Exhibitors included DSC Cornerstone Industries Custom Dredge Works Greystone Inc. Krebs Engineers Kruse Controls Inc. McLanahan Corp. Metso Minerals-Thoms Pumps Pearce Pump Supply Polydeck Screen Corp Rohr Corp. Rotonics Manufacturing Supreme Manufacturing Tema Isenmann Inc. and the Twinkle Company.
Steve Lenker vice president of Operations and Engineering for NSSGA who organized the forum said “it could not have gone more smoothly. In the post-event survey the attendees rated the forum more positively than the organization’s most positive events. The tours went very well and everyone got onto the dredges in both operations” he said.
The dredging forum has traditionally been held very two years and is planned as part of a new NSSGA event the World of Aggregates scheduled for March 2009 at the Orlando Convention Center.