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Crusher Material Preparation: An Ounce of Prevention or Tons of Lost Production? It's Your Call.

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Excavator loading rock to be crushed

One of the most important things you can do to maximize uptime on your crusher is prepping the material before feeding it into the crusher. “Many people experience downtime due to clogs, jam-ups and oversized materials stalling the crusher,” said Josh Lovett, aggregate product specialist for the Environmental Division. “Whether it’s asphalt recycling, concrete recycling, virgin stone—any material needs to be prepped prior to crushing.”

​“Whether it’s asphalt recycling, concrete recycling, virgin stone—any material needs to be prepped prior to crushing.”
Josh Lovett; Aggregate Product Specialist, Columbus Equipment Company

A key part of prepping material is making sure it’s not too big for the crusher. All crushers have a reduction ratio. “All our horizontal shaft impact crushers, for example, are designed to handle between a 12-to-1 and 18-to-1 reduction ratio. If you’re looking for a 1-inch-minus output with an 18-to-1 ratio, the largest piece you could put in there would be 18 by 18 inches,” he said. When you prep materials to the right size, your crusher will operate more smoothly and be more fuel efficient. You’ll also experience less downtime. Asphalt recycling material might not need much prep because it’s usually reduced enough during tear-out. Using the right size helps the crusher to liberate the asphalt and minimize the amount of white rock produced.

In concrete recycling, check for steel as well material size. Cut any steel to 12 inches or less or remove it altogether to reduce the risk of breaking a bar or tearing a belt, which could result in significant downtime.

When blasting virgin stone from a high wall, some of the chunks in the muck pile are going to be too large. Use a hammer attachment, hydraulic hammer or pulverizer attachment to reduce the size before feeding it to the crusher. “Most limestone quarries go 24 hours a day in season. They don’t want downtime, and feeding stone that’s too big can lead to just that … for no good reason,” Lovett said. “That’s why prep is an important consideration for any efficient, consistent producer.” If you’re not sure what your crushers’ reduction ratios are, consult your PSSR. Reduction rates vary widely, depending on style and size of crusher, so get the specific ratio for your machine today.

Columbus Equipment Company Product Specialist Joshua Lovett has spent 10 years in the concrete and asphalt recycling, and demolition industries, with the last four at CEC. He’s a good guy to have in your corner if your business is making big rock little rock. When not in the field, Josh is a keen woodworker in pursuit of that perfect cup or bowl. Josh can be reached at (614) 980-1466 with any crushing technical support questions.

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