Gravase is the biggest aggregates producer in central Mexico. The company is located in Guadalajara City with two quarries in Guadalajara: Poncitlan and Santa Rosa. The company was founded in 2004 and it has just over 100 employees, which makes them a large employer in the area. They produce a total of about 3.3 M tons of aggregate a year.
A few years ago, the company faced a dilemma: they were unable to meet the growing market demand for manufactured sand and, at the same time, they had a big stockpile of excess material with no market value.
The company made a decision to launch an upgrade project in order to increase the production of manufactured sand while also improving the quality of the sand being produced. This project was completed in 2015.
Meeting market demand
The global need to limit the use of natural resources has increased the demand for high-quality manufactured sand in Mexico and other countries. There is low availability of natural sand in Mexico, so it is regulated by the National Water Commission. Furthermore, logistics make the transporting of natural sand costly. The deposits are located near the sea, adding to production costs.
Sand is used as a component in a variety of materials, including concrete and asphalt, and the quality of the sand is very important. For example, the amount of fines in sand affects the performance of concrete and asphalt. The quality of natural sand can´t be controlled and the amount of fines in natural sand is unpredictable.
For this reason, manufactured sand is becoming a new trend in the aggregates business in Mexico. Manufactured sand is versatile, and the right equipment can produce different sand specifications.
Re-crushing to maximize production and profitability
With this in mind, Gravase chose Metso as its partner in the upgrade project. The clear objective of the upgrade was to maximize the plant production to get the minimum cost per ton, maximizing revenue and profitability. The aim of the project was for Gravase to produce a high-quality product with added value to their customers, especially manufactured sand for concrete and asphalt. It made sense to start re-crushing the excess product, for which there was no market demand (12mmX4.5mm), and to convert it into manufactured sand, for which there is a very high demand and a much higher value for the customer.
The solution was to upgrade the company’s process with HRC™800 high pressure grinding rolls. The company uses Metso equipment exclusively in the plant and its fleet includes Nordberg® C145 jaw crusher and HP400 and HP300 cone crushers. The plant also has four Metso PREMIER CVB™ and Metso PREMIER TS™ screens, two Barmac® B7150 VSI crushers, and the HRC800.
Ideal solution to an old problem
According to Ignacio Gonzalez, CEO of Gravase, Metso proved to be the best choice thanks to its deep know-how with the process and its unique and ideal solution to an old problem: converting a non-saleable waste product into high-quality manufactured sand.
Gravase Plant Manager says the very reason for opting for the Metso HRC800 was trust. Working with a local Metso distributor was easy, and Gravase even received special financing terms in order to facilitate the investment. Metso was more than just the equipment supplier: it also provided expertise and training on safety and the environment.
“Together with Metso’s experts, we were able to transform a pile of ‘waste’ material into a product that is actually in great demand in the market. We are now able to produce different types of sand based on our customers’ needs,” says Ignacio Gonzalez.
Since putting the Metso HRC800 equipment into operation, the company has been able to fulfill the market demand for manufactured sand, and they’ve even managed to have a stockpile of sand at their plant. With the Metso HRC800, Gravase is now able to produce 80 tons more sand per hour than previously. The bottom line is that the company was able to maximize plant production to get the minimum cost per ton, and to maximize revenue and profitability.
*Metso Outotec was formed July 1, 2020 when Metso and Outotec merged into one company. This case study has been written prior to the merger under the old company name.