Feature: Famy benefits from investment in turnkey Metso plant

In 2011, Metso installed a comprehensive aggregates processing plant for major customer Famy at the company’s Lancrans quarry in east-central France. Guy Woodford reports on the wide-ranging impact of this significant project within the European quarrying sector – in a report by our sister title Aggregates Business.

The LD30120 aggregate washing barrel equipped with simple flux technology installed by Metso at Famy’s Lancrans quarry is one of only 12 operating in France. It is also one of 231 washing barrels installed by Metso globally – 134 fitted with simple flux and 97 with counter-current technology.

Given its 12 metre length and 3 metre diameter, the Metso LD30120 solution plays a highly visible as well as vital role at the quarry. It removes clay that can stick tightly to the moraine gravel found onsite, prior to the crushing and screening cycle turning it into various sized products for concrete, asphalt, gravel and sand customers.

The LD30120 has integrated Trellex rubber liners, ensuring best performance for cleaning and length of life. The barrel is designed with special 30-40mm steel plates, offset sheet metal seals and reinforced rings, which help extend its life. Furthermore, the LD30120 operates with a reliable mechanical drive system, with 6 or 8 drive mechanism, equipped with 32 or 40 Michelin tyres.

“The cleanliness of our products is very important,” explains quarry manager, Jérôme Petetin. “Each of our rocks has 15% clay content prior to being washed. We needed to have a quality washing solution that was capable of removing all of it.”

Famy has a longstanding working relationship with Metso, which was one of a number of key factors behind the multimillion euro plant purchase in 2011

The Metso LD30120 washing barrel is part of a €12 million-plus investment by Famy to upgrade its Lancrans quarry’s production capabilities. The now seven-year-old Metso plant at the quarry, situated just over 40 kilometres west of Geneva, Switzerland, replaced a Bergeaud plant that had been used since the 1960s.

Around half the multimillion-euro project cost was spent on the quarry plant’s new Metso model line-up: a Nordberg NP1213 impact crusher with IC2000 automation, two Premier ES303 screens, one Premier CVB2050 inclined screen, the LD30120 washing barrel and a sand treatment unit. Metso also supplied all the plant and stockpile conveyors.

“The old plant was working in two shifts. With the Metso plant we can have the same level of production in just one shift. Our neighbours are very pleased about this!” says Petetin, adding that Famy has halved the Lancrans quarry workforce – from 20 to 10 – in the last seven years due to the efficiency of the production plant. He highlights other benefits. “We used to use three crushers, now we use one. We used to have six trucks feeding the old plant. Now the plant is fed by the field conveyor running down from the quarry.

“The plant is much less noisy than the previous one and is much better to operate from a health and safety point of view. The end products produced through it are also very good. If we did not have all these advantages from the new plant, we would not have got a licence to continue to work here for another 30 years.”

Petetin says Famy looked at what other OEMs had to offer prior to investing heavily in the Metso plant. The company’s longstanding relationship with the globally-renowned quarrying and mining equipment manufacturer was one of a number of key factors behind the purchase. “Their people are also based nearby in Mâcon and the aftersales service we get from them is good, including the pricing of and access to plant wear parts,” Petetin explains. “We wanted to have one partner that could provide a complete solution, rather than lots of partners and sub-partners which can lead to too much discussion.”

The NP1213 impact crusher with IC2000 automation is a key model within the overall Metso plant solution at the quarry. Like all Nordberg NP Series impact crushers, it features an innovative blow-bar attachment system. Combined with optimum blow-bar alignment on the crossbeam contact faces, this reduces the risk of breakage and makes it possible to push the use of cast iron for blow bars beyond conventional limits. The rotor with high inertia improves crushing reduction and provides stability in the process, reducing energy consumption and increasing long-term performance. Despite these benefits, the heavy wear incurred through processing the moraine gravel at the quarry means that the NP1213’s blow bars still need to be turned every 50 hours, and replaced every 100 hours.

Commenting on the NP1213 impact crusher’s IC2000 automation system, Petetin says: “We are very happy with it. It is very easy to operate and gives us all the information that we need. We’ve not had any issues with it since its installation.”

The Metso LD30120 aggregate washing barrel equipped at Famy’s Lancrans quarry is one of only 12 operating in France

Spanning 62 hectares and at an altitude of 700 metres at its highest point, Famy’s Lancrans quarry is one of the biggest quarries in the Rhône-Alpes region of France. It is a quarry looking at a productive future, with 15 million tonnes of mineral reserves; enough for another three decades of processing at current annual output. These days, Petetin and his team process around 500,000tonnes/year of moraine gravel. Around 400,000tonnes is used in concrete orders for customers in France and Switzerland. The remaining 100,000tonnes are turned into either 0-4mm, 4-6mm, 6-10mm or 10-14mm products used in asphalt for highways projects in France. Most of the quarry’s customers are based within a radius of 40km around the quarry.

The quarry’s 0-120mm moraine gravel deposit is extracted directly by a wheeled loader or an excavator, according to the nature of the face.

The material is then transported to the plant by a 920m long conveyor. All materials are then washed in the LD30120 washing barrel at a flow of 500tonnes/hour. All those materials are screened on two ES303 high-energy, new range flat screens.

All materials over 20mm or 30mm, according to the recipes, are sent to the NP1213 impact crusher that works as a tertiary crusher. Output materials are then screened by the CVB2050 10m² screen to prepare 0-4mm, 4-6mm, 6-10mm and eventually 10-14mm products. The NP1213 works in closed circuit and re-crushes all materials over 10 or 14mm. These materials are adapted to the road industry and fulfil its specifications.

The materials that are not going for tertiary crushing are screened again in a second ES303 screen, in order to prepare concrete specs materials sized 4-10mm, 10-20mm, and 20-30mm. By using modular polyurethane screening panels, the Metso plant also has the potential to make products according to Swiss administration specs for concrete. The conveyors can be rotated to maintain separated stocks.

The 0-4mm sand coming from the plant’s screens is processed through an MS sand washing device that separates sand and very fine clays. Water is also processed through a thickening tank and two filter presses to stop the creation of any onsite ponds.

As Petetin alluded to earlier, Famy’s Lancrans quarry has been keen to work in consultation with residents and businesses in the nearby town that shares the quarry’s name. “Around 25 years ago, 5,000 people signed a petition against the continuation of the quarry. Contrast that to six months ago when one person wanted to launch another petition against the quarry, and he found he was alone.

“We’ve had three very successful community open days here in the last 10 years. During each of them we have explained how we operate and how we were able to extend our working licence by being as environmentally friendly as possible. One open day attracted 700 people.”

Lancrans quarry’s close working relationship with its local community is typical of its parent company’s inclusive approach to business. Founded in 1860, Famy is an independent, family-owned company with an €80 million turnover. The firm has 550 employees and operates three business divisions – public works, quarrying and exports. Famy has nine business sites in France and three quarries producing a combined 1.5 million tonnes/year of aggregates.

As well as working closely with its neighbours, Famy’s Lancrans quarry is also keen to encourage onsite biodiversity, in partnership with local authorities. A well-maintained river running alongside the quarry attracts rare yellow-bellied toads. Famy also allows local farmers to keep cows in parts of the quarry no longer in use. The insect life that the cow dung attracts also attracts different bat species to the site.

The quarry traditionally closes for two months every winter, with plummeting temperatures making access to and from the site hazardous. Petetin also notes that the cost of electricity is also higher in France during the colder months, potentially further eating into business operating margins. This is typical of the calculated and informed approach in evidence during Aggregates Business Europe’s visit to The quarry in November 2017. Such an approach, coupled with the productivity and efficiency gains offered by its turnkey Metso plant, leaves the quarry well prepared to meet improved aggregates demand in France and the rest of Europe in 2018.

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