Wed June 17, 2020
If you have ever driven eastbound on the Massachusetts Turnpike by the Lee, Mass., exit you cannot help but miss a quarry of nearly perfect white rock. It turns out that it is a limestone quarry and is called OldCastle Lawn & Garden Northeast.
The limestone that comes out of this quarry — and has been coming out since 1877 — is primarily used for agricultural applications.
At OldCastle Lawn & Garden Northeast they do it all, including bagging and labeling of the finished products many of which end up in local big box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot.
So, if you have ever spread lime on a hayfield or on your backyard; if you've used lime in the dairy barn to keep the cattle from slipping on the concrete floor; if you used pelletized limestone in your backyards or helped out before the Little League game marking the line for the bases, the odds are the limestone you used came from that quarry in Lee.
The OldCastle Lawn & Garden Northeast quarry is a 175-acre site that has 37 employees and operates 24 hours, six days a week. What makes the limestone at this site special is the fact that it is dolomitic limestone, which essentially means that it is a combination of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate and serves two purposes in the growing medium. Primarily, it neutralizes acids in the growing medium but also provides some additional magnesium and calcium for plant uptake.
Crushing, grinding, processing and transporting all this limestone is an equipment intensive process. For transporting shot rock and processed limestone from site to site within the quarry, like many other quarries in the country, OldCastle Lawn & Garden Northeast uses a fleet of loaders. These loaders run at the same hectic 24-hour, six days a week pace as the rest of the operation.
Quarry duty is considered by many to be the ultimate test of a loader's durability. Through trial and error over the years the management team at this quarry have chosen to primarily use Volvo loaders purchased from Tyler Equipment.
Until recently, the quarry's fleet of Volvo equipment included a Volvo H150 loader, a Volvo L120 loader, a Volvo L90 loader and a Volvo D40 articulated haul truck. The primary loader (monster loader) of the quarry's fleet was not a Volvo and had aged out and was due for replacement. Plant Manager Jeff Jager and Assistant Plant Manager Brett Larmon started the process of finding the replacement for that machine.
Because of a proven track record that the Volvo loaders in the fleet had already given and a history of strong product support that Tyler Equipment and their team, including Sales Representative Peter Gaj, provide, Volvo got the first look.
The machine being replaced was a 9.5-yd. machine, and the only loader in the fleet that was not a Volvo. The machine that Gaj led Jager and Larmon to look at was the Volvo L350H, the very latest in Volvo's largest 532 hp. monster-sized quarry loaders, equipped with a 10.5-yd. bucket.
After Jager and Larmon conducted extensive research, taking many things into consideration, including the level of service that they had received over the years from Tyler Equipment, their experience with the Volvo product, and a very positive hands-on experience that they had with the Volvo L350H at Volvo's training facility in Shippensburg, Pa., the decision was made to move forward with the Volvo machine, and there has been no looking back.
According to Larmon, "One of the most noticeable and immediate returns we have seen on our investment was an improvement in our efficiencies. The old loader with its 9.5-yard load capacity could handle 16 to 19 tons of material. The Volvo with a 10.5-yard loader can handle 21 to 24-ton capacity per load.
"Every trip that loader makes, whether its loading a truck or feeding a crusher, it is handling 31 percent more product than the loader it replaced. That's a huge savings in labor, fuel and in efficiency in any way that you want to measure.
"Further enhancing the economic advantages of this loader, a machine that is giving us over 30 percent load capacity is actually consuming less fuel than the previous machine. It's also loaded with the latest technology, including monitoring systems that are continuously sending information back to Tyler Equipment and Volvo so that they can forewarn us of pending problems, such as water in our fuel or any other factors that we should be taking a look at."
Creature comforts inside the cab make for a great environment for the operators, including ergonomic seating, perfectly positioned controls and enhanced visibility, according to Larmon.
"We are also seeing benefits from a scale system that is measuring production within one percent accuracy." CEG