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Rocky Transformer turns unwanted aggregate to sand

Before and after 2 by Jon M. Casey

It is unusual for us at WHEN to feature a company’s product as the main subject for discussion in our cover feature. We routinely like to highlight companies that have found success with new products or new ways of doing business. The focus of these articles is typically on the business and its people as much as it is the equipment. This month however, that is not the case. We are devoting this month’s  coverage to AMCAST, and their new Rocky Transformer tertiary sand machine, a portable or stationary device designed to turn smaller, and often unwanted aggregate material, into a marketable higher value sand product in one operation.
While AMCAST is known throughout the aggregate industry for its hi-tech metals, wear resistance insert applications for blow bars and wear parts for crushers of various kinds, their venture into a new area of technology brings years of experience and product development together in a way that will benefit aggregate producers who have been looking for a way to produce high quality sand at locations where it does not naturally occur, or from crusher byproduct that is generally considered waste.
Since the Rocky Transformer tertiary sand machine (known as “Rocky” to its friends) made its debut in the U.S. and Canada in June, 2013, we were excited to get a closer look at this Italian made machine at its current location in Albany, NY. It is there that sample testing for a western U.S. aggregate company, had recently taken place. On hand for our site visit were AMCAST President and CEO, Tomaso Veneroso and AMCAST General Manager, Vincent Rocco. Together, they were preparing the machine for its next demonstration in the coming weeks.
“The Rocky comes in a portable or a stand alone unit, and is a machine that will produce sand in a way that is different from the VSI crushers, the highs speed cone crushers, or REMCO type crushers,” said Veneroso. “While AMCAST is known for its casting manufacturing, we have a capital equipment division that is a compliment to our foundry division.”
Veneroso said that over the years, they found that customers, who use a VSI to produce sand, tend to have higher maintenance costs because of the high level of wear on the crusher’s parts. He said that because of these issues, the design engineers from the foundry and equipment divisions, along with their sales team, got together to design a machine that could incorporate the hi-tech steels and wear parts in a way that would benefit the end user. They determined that current methods of crushing were as much the reason for the excessive wear and higher costs. They set out to develop a machine that could produce sand effectively, and at the same time, extend the life of the wear parts while producing sand to the specifications needed for today’s use.
He said that matching the curves on sphericity while reducing the amount of unusable output was a primary objective. With this in mind, they looked to the horizontal shaft impactor technology as the best design for this purpose. With the Rocky, there is a distributor rotor on top of the unit. That rotor directs material into the crushing chamber. There, the material strikes the blowbars mounted in an elliptical rotor at a near, 90 degree angle. This was determined to be ideal for sand production.
“This design allows the aggregate to be impacted at the precise angle. The machines top distributor    paddle directs the material with the proper amount of energy ideal for the “shatter” of rock,” He added. “This gives the output material a spherical grain structure. Even more, we are able to provide more uniform and long lasting wear life on the blowbars and internal wear parts which benefits overall costs.”
Veneroso said that the unit is sold in other parts of the world, and now that they have improved the design to include American made components for easier service and repair, they are ready to introduce it to the North American market. “We have several demonstrations planned,” he said. “We hope to be building this unit in the U.S. in the days to come, once sales make that possible. For now, we will be importing them from Italy, but they will be built with American components.”
The portable unit comes with an inverter that allows the unit to operate at different speeds. This gives the operator control over the gradation of the sand produced. Depending on the application, more or less fines and gradation considerations can be changed to meet the need, simply by changing the machine’s rotor speed of operation.
“The portable unit is controlled with a touch screen, much like a tablet PC,” he said. “It allows for scheduling maintenance, operating the equipment and   setting up and transporting the unit as well. The two antennas on top of the unit, allows us to monitor the units as they operate around the world and if we detect a problem, we notify the owners immediately to help them resolve the problem. We can take preventative action when necessary or we can simply be  prepared to help the customers when they contact us for service.”
As a portable plant, it is a chassis plant, outfitted with hydraulic feet that lift the unit from a trailer. Once it is off the trailer, it automatically levels and stabilizes the unit. Since it is self-leveling, it can be used on less than flat terrain. The unit has been designed with solid state electrical and electronic systems for ease of use and service. As a tertiary crushing unit, Rocky is able to produce up to 65 tons per hour at an approximate 97 percent usable material with a 2-inch or less feed size. Screening or washing after crushing would be optional depending on the products desired. Walking around the demo area, we saw several piles of sand samples, crushed from totes of raw material sent in from Colorado for testing. Different sized infeed material, run at varying RPM crushing speeds, provided several qualities of sand. “We are currently in the process of doing testing on manufacturing fracking sand, a product that is currently only obtainable from two locations in the U.S.,” he said.
Rocco noted that there are currently AMCAST customers in the Midwest who are looking at the Rocky Transformer as a potential crusher for producing Ag Lime. He said that the ease of use and consistency of the final product are making the Rocky a viable alternative to current crushing methods for Ag Lime. “The gradation based on the varying RPMs, gives the producers an ideal sizing for the material that they need. It is making upwards of 99% usable material with one run. It eliminates the need to re-crush the material as it often is.”
For more information on the Rocky Transformer tertiary sand machine, visit the AMCAST website at or give them a call at 888-993-2772.


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