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2020 / 2021 Edition

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First UK installation of brand new Sandvik QJ241

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Recycling & Waste

Offerton Sand & Gravel develop aggregates sales arm with help from the new QJ241 from Sandvik Mining and Construction

Since 1986 Offerton Sand & Gravel have developed a reputation as a premier recycler of soils and aggregates. Based at their 63-acre quarry site in Stockport, Cheshire, they now supply high-quality materials to the construction industry throughout the UK, where their materials have helped form the backbone of a multitude of projects.

Lately they have taken advantage of their expertise in producing top-quality aggregate products to add related materials such as decorative gravel, new and recycled stone, bark, sand and other landscaping materials, through their supply arm – The Stockport Stone Company. Aiding this development has been the recent purchase of the brand new QJ241 tracked jaw crusher from Sandvik Mining and Construction.

Offerton Sand & Gravel are justly proud of the fact that they were leaders in recycling construction materials a long time before it became fashionable; since 1986 they have been in the business of recycling soils and aggregates for use in the construction industry. From these beginnings they have continued a strategy of investment and business development that allows them to boast a modern licensed recycling facility that is able to process a variety of waste materials.

Although primarily serving a customer base focused on Manchester, Cheshire and North Derbyshire, they are able to, and have, supplied recycled materials on projects throughout the UK.

As Martin Ridgway of Offerton Sand & Gravel states: ‘We were obviously driven by a business opportunity (in processing and recycling materials for resale) but even in 1986 a key motivating factor for us was that we felt these perfectly reusable materials were just going to waste. With the world’s resources not going to last forever it just made common sense to re-use the materials as much as possible. Essentially we are proud of the fact that we have developed a successful business helping the environment.’

All recycling activities are fully authorized by the Environment Agency, and Offerton Sand & Gravel pride themselves on their excellent working relationship with the agency, and their equally impressive environmental track record. The current waste management licence covers the entire 63-acre site and is licenced to treat up to 150,000 tonnes per year. The actual site is divided into three sections with the first being used to recycle the industrial, commercial and household skip waste brought into site by their own fleet of 12 vehicles and 150 skips. This allows Offerton to also accept waste from a large number of other skip hire companies due to the strategic location, and their impressive state-of-the-art facilities.

The second section of the site is a landfill area and, again emphasizing Offerton’s environmental credentials, this area is also used to recycle any inert waste. Due to the sizeable investment that has occurred during recent years they are now able to process up to 100 tonnes per hour of mixed soils and aggregates. A major success factor in this processing capability has been the use of a multiple screening system that has been designed in-house. This impressive system is able to produce a screened soil possessing features that makes it almost identical to virgin topsoil, thereby enabling it to be sold for reuse under the NHBC standards.

Martin expands on Offerton’s activities: ‘We pride ourselves on our high recycling rates and now over 90% of our inert waste brought into site is processed into recycled aggregates and soil. The waste transfer station processes the skip waste, recycling wood, various metals, and plastics, cardboard, hard-core and soils together with any other reusable items.’

Martin is keen to stress that these developments are not the end of the story: ‘We don’t rest on our laurels as we are currently undertaking feasibility studies for an on-site composting plant for green waste, which will hopefully include the chipping of white wood to reduce transport costs. Making compost from green waste minimizes the amount [of material] going to landfill, and thus reduces the pressure on virgin peat dug from peat bogs which themselves can be important habitats for wildlife.’

The third part of the site comprises extensive reserves of naturally occurring sand, gravel and boulder clay, with Offerton having permission to extract these materials until 2042. Although naturally occurring, and thus not a recycled product per-se, Offerton pride themselves on producing a wildlife friendly habitat, and use processes that minimize any environmental damage.

It is this commitment to maximizing the re-use of recycled construction materials, and at the same time minimizing their own negative environmental impact, that has led Offerton Sand & Gravel to invest in the brand new QJ241 tracked jaw crusher from Sandvik Mining and Construction. This state-of-the-art machine is a compact tracked jaw crusher based on the design of the world-leading series of Sandvik machines. Highly productive, yet self-propelled, this machine brings the revolutionary features of the Sandvik QJ341 to the smaller quarry or demolition site, where operating space is limited, yet high performance demanded.

Possessing a sturdy construction, Sandvik say that its power management, coupled with unique jaw design, will ensure it becomes an icon in the smaller jaw crusher category due to its compact size and enhanced mobility.

The environmental credentials of the QJ241, a factor that Sandvik prides itself on, are enhanced as the QJ241 is powered by a Stage 3B CAT 7.1 Acert engine that complies with all current and proposed emission standards, thereby reducing operational emissions by 45%, plus improved fuel economy, all ensuring a low cost of ownership and reduced carbon footprint.

On the purchase of the Sandvik QJ241 Martin commented: ‘We wanted a modern jaw crusher to work throughout our site; it has to be designed to increase production, reduce our operating costs, and produce a consistent product from virtually any material it encounters. There is no doubt that the QJ241 matches our aims.’

What is truly exciting is that the QJ241 possesses many new features that have been developed specifically for the recycling industry, and have arisen based on feedback from customers in the industry. Thus, the QJ241 is proving suitable for Offerton’s recycling requirements as the main conveyor now possesses a hydraulic raise/lower facility to give increased clearance for rebar, and has also been extended to give an increased discharge height allowing enhanced stockpiling capacity. New design features such as a jaw level sensor, speed wheel on the main conveyor, together with an improved load control system, ensure the machine is able to monitor and regulate material feed, thereby providing a continuous uninterrupted crushing process, resulting in higher productivity. Furthermore, the unit is now a much more user-friendly, easier to operate machine due to its advanced PLC electrical control system, and easier to maintain due to increased access to service points. 

Through the use of the QJ241, and the existing purpose-developed processing facilities, Offerton Sand & Gravel are now able to produce and supply such products as recycled MOT, 6F2/6F1 crushed aggregates, coarse granular fill and pipe bedding.

Through the development of the market for these recycled aggregates Offerton Sand & Gravel have now developed a material merchandising arm, The Stockport Stone Company, which acts as a premier supplier of recycled construction materials throughout the Northwest. This retail merchandising has allowed them to become an established supplier not only to the construction industry, but also to the landscaping trade, and they are now able to supply such materials as york stone paving, granite sets, cobbles, sandstone sets, natural walling stone, block pavers and many other items reclaimed from the quarry.

Offerton Sand & Gravel are an example of that rare type of business; one that not only embraces environmentalism for the good of the planet, but have also made a successful and vibrant business from it. They have achieved this duality through maximizing the resources they encounter, using the latest most environmentally focused productive machinery, but at the same time used modern merchandising techniques to ensure that their products find a suitable route to market.

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