All producers are affected by water and energy costs and should consider sustainable alternatives. Continued drought conditions, especially in the western United States, prompted local governments to implement water-usage limitations, pushing aggregate producers to use new technology to stay within those boundaries.
When it’s time to upgrade or choose new washing equipment, take into account operating costs and features that contribute to a sustainable and profitable jobsite. This includes the machine’s energy expense, water usage, maintenance and processing time. Develop an understanding of these factors and, before long, you’ll be on your way to a more sustainable jobsite.
Consider these five things when looking for a more sustainable washing system.
- Power-Saving Designs: Lessen your plant’s energy intake by using a high-pressure aggregate washer. The longstanding log washer methods are fundamentally different from high-pressure washing equipment because of the additional water and energy required. A log washer uses numerous paddles mounted on two rotating shafts to agitate the aggregate, removing clay and other waste material. Although using a log washer is a simple process, they require as many as three screens for the discharged material, whereas the high-pressure washing system just needs one.
High-pressure washing equipment processes as much as 360 tons per hour while using 15 percent less energy than log washers. It uses high-pressure nozzles to remove clay and additional impurities off of stones, which requires less energy than power rotating paddles and screens.
- Water Conservation: Decrease water consumption by upgrading your washing equipment. A log washer uses as much as 800 gpm per washing cycle, while high-pressure washing equipment trims that down to just 211 gpm.
A log washer continues to operate with the same technology that dates back to the late 19th century — long before environmental regulations and the need to operate more sustainably. Now, 21st century technology can pump water at very high pressures, as high as 2,000 psi, through spray nozzles in a matter of seconds — a huge benefit to operations running under strict restrictions.
- Maintenance and Upkeep: Generally, high-pressure washing equipment requires less maintenance than a log washer. A log washer has several parts that require frequent replacement, including bearings, belts and paddles, which can cause significant servicing downtime. Paddle replacement, for example, is a yearly occurrence and can take as many as four days to complete.
On the other hand, high-pressure washing equipment has two main wear parts: spray nozzles and valve seals. Its efficient design allows easy accessibility — through its drum lid to the wear parts — providing simple maintenance for a mechanic. The system also features sensors that stop operation when there is no longer material in the drum, resulting in less wear to the machine.
This all adds up to fewer wear parts to dispose of, not to mention more uptime.
- Smaller Footprints: High-pressure washing equipment is as light as 4,000 pounds, about 60 percent less than log washers, and takes up significantly less room. Due to its compact size — just under 15-feet tall and 12-feet wide — its operating and structural costs are considerably lower than a log washer. A log washer also requires a separate pump, which takes up even more space than washer itself. That makes new, high-pressure washing equipment an easy fit into any operation.
- Rapid Processing Times: A high-pressure washer processes as much as 360 tons per hour by using its powerful spray nozzles. Other machines can’t achieve that without requiring operators using multiple machines. The high-pressure washing equipment removes silt and clay particles as small as 63 microns from the mineral mixtures. And once the cycle is almost complete, it gives the material a final rinse to remove any remaining clay or dirt.
Best of all, this new, high-pressure washing equipment’s cleaning ability salvages value from what might have previously been deemed waste — reducing your waste stream and breathing new life into vital resources, while putting more money in the producer’s pocket.
Overall, high-pressure washing equipment offers more benefits and advantages than a log washer for aggregates and mining operations looking to cut costs from their energy and water bills. Its compact size makes fitting into any operation simple. And its minimal maintenance ensures their process flows smoothly while creating a quality product and fast ROI.