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Precise Cutting of Shale Cap Rock in Western Pennsylvania, USA

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Jan 9, 2021 12:52:28 PM

A Western Pennsylvania mineral products company had a problem.  In some locations, overlying their valuable deposits of calcium carbonate limestone was a layer of shale rock that, when mixed with the underlying material during blasting, hauling & crushing operations, contaminated and devalued the end product.  Their high-calcium crushed aggregate and pulverized products have many uses in agriculture, sulfur capture, metal production, cement and asphalt, and other industries. To meet the rigorous chemistry requirements contamination of the product must be minimized. How to precisely remove 1-2 foot strata rapidly?

D30 Rockwheel Drumcutter

It started with a call to Alpine-Rockwheel Americas to arrange a site visit to evaluate the suitability of the Rockwheel drum cutter rock grinding attachment for this application. While we are careful never to over-promise as our competitors are apt to do, it was clear this was a good fit.   A CAT 320D already onsite was selected as the carrier machine. It’s important that the carrier excavator has the power, weight, and hydraulic capacity to optimally run the Rockwheel drumcutter. Alpine personnel selected a D30 (150-hp) twin drum Rockwheel cutter for the job and following a short 1-day demonstration to prove the concept the unit was put to work in earnest. The result was beyond satisfactory. Operators were able to accurately grind the unwanted rock shelf and cleanly expose the underlying material. The cuttings from the rock grinding process were loaded out and the smooth surface made for easy access for drills for the next round of production.

The continuous nature of grinding rock with an excavator mounted Rockwheel drum cutter far exceeded what a hammer could do in this application. The Rockwheel drumcutter attachment gives and excavator the capabilities of a continuous miner.

While the main uses of the Rockwheel cutterheads are in trenching, foundations, concrete removal, and general rock excavation this job makes clear the versatility of high torque drum cutters.   How can you imagine using this versatile tool? Stump grinding? Cutting frozen ground? Dredging? Wine Caves? Scaling and profiling rock faces? Please leave a comment below to let us know your ideas!

With a national rental fleet, massive inventory, nationwide service, growing dealer network, and the most experienced team in the business, we at Alpine-Rockwheel Americas are ready to roll up our sleeves and work with you. Dealer inquiries are especially encouraged! www.alpinecutters.com | 814-466-7134 | info@alpinecutters.com

Topics: Rockwheel, rock grinder, drum cutter, rock cutting

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This blog is a resource for research, how-to's, and general news regarding rock grinders, transverse cutter heads, roadheaders, and alternatives to hydraulic hammers. 

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