• DEMI Equipment offers a number of innovative services

    Company specializes in quality refurbishment of concrete and asphalt recycling equipment

    by Jon M. Casey

    For those of you who are not familiar with Dakota Equipment Manufacturing Incorporated (DEMI Equipment) of Cresbard, SD, we had the opportunity to learn more about owner, Tim Holmberg, his family and their innovative approaches to equipment problem solving, with the introduction of a new piece of equipment on the Discovery Channel TV series Gold Rush. It seems that the installation of a DEMI GR5120 wet, vibratory material feeder, featuring DEMI’s patented Grizzly Spring Fingers, has benefitted production at the 316 Mining, LLC jobsite, compared to traditional placer mining equipment. The unit’s design was collaboration between Holmberg and Dave Turin, who oversees mining and production for 316 Mining, LLC, one of the show’s featured companies. More on that later.

    History of DEMI Equipment

    Holmberg, who has been a part of the aggregate industry equipment manufacturing scene for more than 27 years, left his father’s family owned, Arizona based, steel fabrication business in 2012 to set out on his own. He established his own business enterprise at his farm near Cresbard. Holmberg, who is known for his creativity and patented Grizzly Spring Fingers, specializes in innovative equipment design and fabrication. His company also has a knack for refurbishing used equipment back to like new condition.

    Holmberg, along with his wife Martha and their son Tyler, work side by side designing, fabricating and restoring aggregate equipment of all kinds. Holmberg’s daughter Abigail (nine) is not a part of the business as such, but she has the opportunity to travel with the family at various times when not attending school. His older daughter Madison (16) occasionally operates the company’s 10,000-pound capacity Telehandler Forklift to position others in the Man Basket, around the equipment while they are painting.

    Equipment Refurbishment Experts

    Concrete and asphalt recyclers have looked to DEMI for refurbishing their portable crushing equipment. Holmberg explained that his years of experience have given him the ability to offer refurbishing services that often save customers up to two-thirds the cost of a new comparable crusher, screen plant or other support equipment. He says he doesn’t want to be known as someone who offers a “Used Car – Value Lot Special.” Holmberg said he looks to restore the customer’s equipment back to OEM condition, or it is “all for nothing.” “How we achieve this effectively is to offer ‘value added improvements’ in much the same way as if you were to remodel/update an older home in a great neighborhood. These added improvements may be as simple as making wear liners more easily replaceable by making them a “bolt-in” feature instead of “welded-in-place” or maybe you section the liners instead of the original layout, keeping costs low.”

    For example, DEMI Equipment completely rebuilt a 1999 portable Cedarapids Wash Plant for Bakken Aggregates of Bismarck, ND. “The refurbish cost of this actual plant equated to just over one third the price of a new unit,” said Holmberg. “Currently, it is starting its fourth season after refurbishing, with the owners only performing routine maintenance. Are they always one-third the cost you might ask? Not always but it all depends on the customer’s needs.”

    “In many instances, OEM designs make the field repair more challenging because their one piece design may be way oversized and hard to handle when the plant is interlocked within an entire system. Another valuable reason for modifying away from a one-piece designed part is that we can often eliminate wasting an entire plate of abrasion resistant steel (or AR Plate) when the plate only wears out on the lower or maybe middle zone. That often happens because the material is actually bouncing instead of sliding as material often does when it changes patterns based upon varying feed or flow rates. We take a close look at plant layout patterns especially in portable plants that are often repositioned or are subject to frequent location changes.”

    “We like for our customers to stay involved with the entire refurbishing process because there are often unknown or unseen conditions that are found during an inspection and estimate phase of the job. We agree to a ‘Not to exceed’ cost for inspecting the unit and once that is done, and the customer has agreed to the estimate to refurbish the unit, it’s time for us to bring the unit ‘back to life’ and transform it into a ‘like new’ unit,” he said.

    Another project, a portable four bin cold feed asphalt plant, was commissioned by FNF Construction of Tempe, AZ to bring it up to OSHA and MSHA standards. DEMI made repairs to straighten bent metal throughout the plant along with the mechanical features such as conveyor components, brakes and lights. They added centralized grease banks/manifolds that could be easily accessed from outside the inner workings of the plant’s strict guarding requirements. Knowing that these plants need to be reliable when it comes to road contract work, DEMI made sure the equipment was completely restored by cutting away old bent up and rusted metal to prepare this plant for the upcoming asphalt season.

    Yet another notable project was the refurbishing of a plant owned by ONYX Construction of Bismarck and Mandan, ND. This machine had special meaning to its owners for a number of reasons. The plant had been designed by the company’s founder and commissioned specifically for their needs in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. He wanted to increase production for their operation to almost double what it had been. It was a success.

    The man’s sons, who had now taken over the business for their father who was in the later stages of a quickly spreading cancer, were looking to help fulfill their father’s wish to restore this plant so that the sons could enjoy the productivity that the machine gave him during his years of using it. He wanted it to be his legacy to them. If the machine were to have been replaced with something new, it would require considerable reorganizing of the facility layout to accommodate newer equipment.

    “We widened all the catwalk or service platforms to make maintaining and or working on the plant a game changer,” said Holmberg. “We added safety guarding and brought the machine up to MSHA standards using our branded Demi-Safe guarding. We completely rebuilt the under crusher conveyor transition hopper system with our patent pending DEMI Caged Nut fastening devise which allows for a one man operation to install and adjust canoe style, metal backed rubber flashing (more details on this industry changing indestructible skirting system to be released soon). We also added all new conveyor components, full length flashing, and guarding to help discharge the added material from the increased production, out and away from the plant.”

    “We completely rebuilt both decks on the 5-foot x 12-foot Cedarapids scalping screen, adding new protective cross tube covers and both the feed and discharge attached chute lips. We added several other mechanical items to make this screen really move some material. We completely rebuilt the dozer trap with built in apron chain feeder using new D5 CAT chain and drive sprocket apron flights manufactured right here at DEMI. Finally, we gave it a brand new paint job before sending it on its way. We are sad to report however, that the father recently passed away, but not before seeing this plant on video in all its glory, running once more with a huge stream of crushed aggregate pouring out off the front discharge conveyor.”

    Gold Rush project

    It was with this kind of experience and ingenuity that prompted Holmberg to approach Dave Turin, equipment manager for 316 Mining LLC, one of the companies featured on the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush TV program. Holmberg said he suggested the possibility of developing a new piece of cleaning/separation equipment to Turin as a way to help them at their new job site.

    Since Holmberg is a regular viewer of the Gold Rush TV show, he had watched the Season 6 episode where the Hoffman crew had done exploratory work at a new site in eastern Oregon to determine if it might be a more viable and productive site for gold production. Not only did the new site seem to hold more potential but it also had more clay embedded boulders 24-inches and larger, mixed in with the raw material. This was unlike the alluvial deposits in the Yukon.

    With this in mind, it seemed to Holmberg that a new form of primary screening or separation would be helpful to secure the optimum amount of gold ore from the site. Holmberg sent off a social media message via LinkedIn to Turin, suggesting he might have some ideas on how to help them with their processing plant needs utilizing his Grizzly Spring Finger product. Much to Holmberg’s surprise, Turin responded personally. He agreed that the two might get together to share some ideas on how to make their production capabilities more efficient and profitable.

    Holmberg said that initially, Turin really had some variation of a De-Rocker or Wave Bed in mind. However, after weighing the return on investment of units like these, a feeder of some kind seemed like the more practical solution for washing these very large boulders that they had not experienced at their other sites. The clay surrounding these boulders could be holding the flakey gold they were seeking.

    Turin said that his industry background at his family quarry and paving business in Oregon, gave him an opportunity to become familiar with the Grizzly Finger technology, but he had never seen it used in the placer mining industry. After thinking on it for a couple of weeks, Turin asked himself, “Why not?” Why not use this in conjunction with a wet wash system?

    Turin arranged to meet with Holmberg to work on plans for a custom-designed feeder. Each of them had some innovative ideas on what a preliminary washing and screening feeder might look like. After a few design and layout sessions, DEMI began building the new GR5120 material feeder using a somewhat standard Lippmann-Milwaukee vibratory grizzly feeder as the initial platform for the custom built unit.

    It was Turin’s and Holmberg’s plan to build a feeder that would process effectively the larger gold bearing boulders while at the same time it would begin the washing and sorting process that ultimately takes place on the wet screen system known as “Monster Red.” It was their objective to build a feeder to process sticky oversized material, one without the potential for continual blockages and downtime often plaguing this process of most aggregate mining operations. DEMI Grizzly Spring Fingers were the ideal solution to this problem.

    Once they made the decision to go ahead with Turin’s final design, work on the project began immediately. Tim contacted Bob Turner at Lippmann-Milwaukee, Inc to secure a vibratory grizzly feeder (VGF) shell to use as the primary component of the system. DEMI had a little over three weeks to build and install the unit during the filming of Gold Rush Season 7. Tim, along with Tyler and Martha all worked together to make this unique project a success. The new unit was introduced to viewers on the November 25 airing of Gold Rush.

    For more information on DEMI Equipment, visit www.demiequipment.com or contact Tim Holmberg at tim@demiequipment.com or cell 605-290-7106.

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