by Keith Loria
Villager Construction, Inc. is a privately owned company in Fairport, NY, founded by Richard Clark in 1980, who has led it through steady growth over the past 38 years.
Andrew J. Osborne, aggregate manager of the company has been with Villager Construction for 13 years and started its crushing division — Villager Aggregates — in 2007.
Villager Aggregates currently operates on nine acres at the DEC-registered Aggregate Recycling Facility in the City of Rochester, supplying NYSDOT and NYSDEC approved recycled and reclaimed aggregates throughout Monroe County. It is also developing relationships with manufacturers to produce performance enhancing parts and high-quality wear parts specific to the crushing industry and will be offering those for sale in 2019.
“We process approximately 1.5 million tons of aggregates annually,” he says. “We offer crushing and screening services to municipalities, contractors and quarries. Like our milling machines, our crushers travel throughout the United States.”
Additionally, the company offers stockpile surveys, overburden stripping and aggregate consulting.
In late 2018, Villager Aggregates began recycling concrete from the New York State Thruway (I90) between exits 43-45 in Rochester to be used for a new shop building as part of an expansion for its sister company — American Equipment — located close to exit 44.
“The Thruway was being rebuilt and it was happening right in front of American Equipment, so we approached the contractor about what they were doing with the concrete and asked, ‘why don’t you utilize our facilities and bring it in and dump it — which would save money on trucking?’ and it was a way to work together,” Osborne said. “American Equipment had already gone through the design phase for expansion, so we brought [the concrete] in knowing that we were going to need that material for this state-of-the-art 60,000-square foot facility we were building.”
Knowing the quality of the material coming off the Thruway, Osborne was thrilled they were able to get it on the books. The entire Thruway project started at the beginning of 2017 and during that year they imported about 15,000 tons of material, which was crushed in the spring at the beginning phases of the work. Then they imported another 10,000 tons of concrete over the 2018 summer season.
For the two-phase project, Osborne utilized Kleemann crushers to process the material in order to get it ready for their site.
“The Wirtgen Group has a strong reputation for top of the line equipment and we choose Kleemann because of our experiences with the Wirtgen milling machines, as they have proven to be a very successful brand for us,” he said. “Particularly challenging to crushing is highway dowels in the concrete. The Kleemann crushers did a good job in removing them without damage to the crushers.”
Because the company is on the road a lot, they generally lease the equipment and turn it back in, so they look for equipment that will be reliable and do the job well.
Monroe Tractor of Henrietta, NY, is the dealer that supplied the crushers. Villager has had a business relationship with the company for decades.
“Every crusher crushes and every crusher breaks. And we look at dealer’s service and support when choosing a crusher,” Osborne says. “The people make the difference; it’s our employees who maintain and operate the equipment along with the support we get from our dealers that make us successful.”
Because of the challenge of removing dowels from highway grade concrete, it started with a Kleemann Jaw Crusher, a low-speed compression crusher that dowels don’t typically have as much of an effect on. From there, they utilized an impact crusher with a finish screen on it that produced the specific-graded material the company was looking for.
“The Kleemann jaw did an outstanding job. They got virtually every dowel out and we didn’t have to process as much,” Osborne said. “By using their equipment, we reduced our processing time by as much as 50 percent on this project.”
Another plus of the Kleemann machines is they have a pressure-release plate and should there be an uncrushables event, it’s designed to blow out.
There was an electric motor fail on one of the machines during a demo and it was too big to overnight, but the factory was savvy enough to split the motor into two parts and overnight it, so the company could still have it ready for its 6:30 delivery the next day.
“This all happened within a 12-14-hour timeframe,” Osborne said. “We were very impressed with their commitment to keep things fluid and up and running. It wasn’t a part that was on the shelf or a part that could be easily overnighted, but they didn’t stop there and worked to make it happen. That was a very positive experience.”
Another big part of Villager Aggregates’ success is that it puts itself out there and challenges the constraints in the aggregate industry, including designing and implementing its own performance enhancing inventions such as screen beaters to help with wet and sticky materials.
“We give our team members goals and the freedom to achieve them on their own,” Osborne said. “It really is a good work environment that allows our employees to maximize their potential.”
One of the important things with a project like this is the impact on the environment. Osborne noted as opposed to using virgin materials and throwing this away in the landfill, the recycled concrete was utilized for a solid purpose.
“It would have had to have been hammered down and put into a fill site and dozers to bury it, with resources and emissions that go along with that,” he said. “More importantly, we saved all those truck loads, 25,000 tons (so about 12,000 truck load) off the road. From a carbon footprint, we really reduced the impact on the environment and the longevity of the road.”
When Villager Aggregates started, Osborne said the goal was to be service providers and not contractors. And the advantages of being recyclers have gone above and beyond the immediate job needs.
Now that the Thruway project is complete, the company is going to be taking the Kleemann equipment from American Equipment to its aggregate recycling site in Rochester and will continue to use the machines to test their capabilities on different materials and productions.