Ramirez Increases Output, Reduces Waste
Waste, downtime and lagging production rates are some of the most detrimental factors in a business. Ramirez & Sons, Inc., a family-owned construction company based in Hobbs, N.M., was able to turn big waste into big profit, and downtime into output with the help of a new crushing machine.
Expansion Waiting to Happen
Ramirez & Sons was formed in 1982, but is built on generations of industry experience dating back to the 1920s. Now led by fourth-generation professional contractor Alonzo Ramirez Jr., the company is the second largest paving and aggregate provider in Hobbs, N.M.
Ramirez & Sons began as a general earthwork and construction company. Today, the company offers general excavation, site prep, highway paving, and both water and sewer utility work. In 2010, the company enhanced its capabilities even further with the addition of its first hot mix asphalt (HMA) plant.
While asphalt recycling has certainly brought value to the company, plant manager and crushing/hot mix superintendent Ken Smith felt they could bring more to the table. Because Ramirez & Sons was only recycling asphalt, it was missing out on other saleable materials. Being able to provide high-quality recycled concrete and aggregates would attract new customers.
Smith also knew the company would be able to use the material in its own operation, cutting time and costs associated with outside material purchasing.
Without the right crusher, the company lacked the versatility it needed to process these materials. Smith also noted that their hourly production rates of roughly 120 tons per hour (TPH) weren’t as high as he felt they could be.
The equipment should have been producing more, but it broke down frequently. End-product quality wasn’t up to par, and a lot of potentially usable material was being left as waste. That all changed when Smith met with Ramirez & Sons’ longtime equipment dealer, Warren CAT, to explore new machines that could ramp up production and allow the company to offer larger amounts of more saleable material.
A Hard and Fast Solution
Warren CAT, one of the largest Caterpillar dealerships in North America, was Ramirez & Sons’ exclusive equipment dealer. Smith shared his goals for the new machine and the team at Warren CAT picked out the IROCK RDS-15 for him. The unit has a four-bar impactor, three-stage mobile crusher that would process a variety of materials, including concrete and other aggregates, at tonnage rates that could double Smith’s hourly output. Smith decided to lease the machine first and see how it would stand up to the company’s demanding production schedule. After two months, the company purchased the machine, cementing its place as the primary crusher in its fleet.
Smith saw production rates more than double, to approximately 300 TPH.
This means that based on a typical 12-hour day and an average six-day week, tonnage output has gone from 8,640 tons to 21,600. The impact continues to grow with each week that passes. In addition to sheer output, the company also has been able to diversify its sales offerings from four products to nearly 15, including various sizes of recycled concrete, aggregates and asphalt.
The machine’s configuration enables Ramirez & Sons to produce three different, precisely sized, materials at once. This offers Smith the versatility and efficiency of producing multiple products while ensuring they’re accurately sized for the best sale potential.
While increased production rates and profits are both key, Smith says the primary benefit is zero waste. As Smith expected, Ramirez & Sons’ newfound diversity has opened up the company to a new customer base and more opportunity. An oil boom happening in Hobbs and other nearby cities has resulted in several oil companies using Ramirez & Sons’ 3/4-inch minus material for parking lots and temporary roads.
Maintenance requirements have been minimal and mostly include routine items like keeping the machine lubricated and changing the oil. One unique feature that contributes to this is IROCK’s innovative ROCK BOX, an alternative to typical discharge chutes. The box uses a shelf system with abrasion-resistant wear bars that allow crushed material to build up and act as a wear liner, cutting down on wear liner replacement.
Smith said he’s impressed in terms of longevity of the wear parts. He cites the blow bars as a prime example. With other crushers, he has had to change out the bars within four weeks. Comparatively, now he expects to get at least 2,100 total hours out of the bars – seven times as long as previous crushers.
“When a machine runs smoothly and doesn’t require attention, it’s easy for it to go unnoticed,” Smith said. His philosophy is, as long as it’s running, he’s happy. And that’s important to a company that operates up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Ramirez & Sons is holding onto the top performer in its equipment fleet and planning to add more from the same family of machines. They’ve said goodbye to lagging production rates, excessive downtime and waste, and have welcomed the newest team member to their family.