Crushing and Screening Equipment Guide

Crushing and Screening Equipment Guide

Each year, over a billion tons of crushed stone is produced in the United States. Seventy-six percent of the crushed stone used in the U.S. is for construction material such as road construction or maintenance. Without crushing and screening equipment, none of this production would be possible — and road, building, and bridge construction and maintenance would be forced to come to a halt. While there can be cases made for all pieces of construction equipment, perhaps the most compelling is for crushing equipment and screening equipment, which so often work together.

But the sole existence of these pieces of equipment is not enough. If you want to process materials in the most precise and efficient way, it’s essential to choose the right equipment for your process — which is exactly what this crushing and screening equipment guide was designed to do. We’ve gathered information on each of these pieces of equipment so you can learn more about their parts and how they work. By understanding more about the equipment and applying the background knowledge, you have about your material and your process, you will be able to choose the right crushing and screening equipment.

About Crushing and Screening Equipment

Together, crushing and screening equipment are a dynamic team — they work together to turn big pieces of material into smaller pieces and then sort them into batches of similarly sized materials. While they make a great pair, these pieces of equipment don’t necessarily have to be used together. In fact, in many cases, they work independently. Here’s an overview of how each of them works.

Crushing Equipment

In the simplest terms possible, crushing equipment takes big pieces of material and use force to turn the big pieces of material into smaller pieces.

There are different types of crushers. Some are meant to be built into full circuit material handling systems while mobile crushing equipment is smaller and portable. There is also heavy-duty crushing equipment that is meant to handle really large pieces of raw material — jaw crushers are often used for this purpose. They are designed with a jaw composed of two plates that move up and down to apply pressure and break raw material into smaller pieces. Even if a heavy-duty crusher isn’t necessary for the job, the overall crusher design is similar — two heavy plates moving up and down to apply pressure — just on a smaller scale.

Screening Equipment

The easiest way to think of the function of screening equipment is like a filter or sieve that separates similarly sized materials. The smaller particles pass through the screen, and the larger particles remain above the screen.

There are a variety of different types of screening equipment, as different materials have different characteristics and requirements for the result. Even within the construction industry, there are a variety of shapes and sizes needed for different jobs, whether it’s a new building or road maintenance. If you want to get the maximum amount of efficiency along with the correct particle size, there are several parts of screening equipment that vary to get the result you need. These variables include the screen material, size, slope, hole openings, number of decks and type of vibration motion.

One of the best illustrations of how this equipment is used together is in the quarry and aggregate industry.

Crushing and Screening for the Quarry and Aggregate Industry

Aggregate production statistics show that in 2017, approximately 1,400 companies produced 1.3 billion tons of crushed stone, down slightly from the previous year. Overall value was also down slightly at $15 billion, but per ton the value was up. The overwhelming majority of that crushed stone is used as construction materials. But the stone that comes directly from the quarry can’t be used immediately — it needs to go through stone crushing equipment and screening process before it’s ready.

While the exact quarrying process depends on the type of construction material that’s being created, there is one part that remains the same — crushing. The rock that is extracted from quarries is in large chunks, and so the first step in processing it is putting the rock that has been extracted from the ground through stone crushing equipment. This creates pieces of rock that are easier to process. Often this crusher leads the rock, by conveyor belt, to another crusher. Remember that different construction materials require different sizes of aggregate, so getting the rock into smaller and smaller pieces is key to the result. After a couple of rounds of crushing, the next step is to put the crushed stone through screening equipment to sort the various smaller sizes and shapes of aggregate, and to remove impurities. Now it’s ready to be transported to distribution centers or construction sites.

The exact size and shape of aggregate are essential for each different type of construction project where the material is used. The screening equipment can’t work in the quarrying process without stone crushing equipment breaking it down into a smaller size. These two pieces of equipment are essential to the quarry and aggregate industry. Without stone crushing and screening equipment, we would be at a loss for materials that make up many of the roads, buildings, and bridges in our communities.

Choosing the Right Crushing Equipment

Not all crushing equipment is an ideal match for all raw materials and all material processing systems. Instead, choosing the right crushing equipment requires careful consideration of a few factors, including material hardness, desired output, mobility needs and part quality. Considering all of these factors in your decision will ensure that you get a piece of equipment that maximizes performance and efficiency.

  • Material Hardness: Not all crushing equipment works well with all raw materials, and the reason for that is primarily hardness. The reality is that hard, abrasive materials need a different type of equipment than clay and dirt. Overall, jaw crushers work well with the hardest materials. Cone crushers can work with these tough materials as well, but they’re best used for the second round of crushing — letting another crusher do the primary breakdown of the material. If you have contaminated materials, an impact crusher may work best for you, as they can handle clay, dirt, and metal that may be mixed in. Overall, this type of crushing equipment is better for soft and medium rock.
  • Desired Output: Regardless of what your output goal is, it’s important to know it and break it down from tons per year to tons per month. How many days will you be running the crushing equipment? Remember that while a smaller model may be cheaper up front, it’s going to limit your output. At the same time, a larger machine may give you room for growth, but underutilization costs money. The key is to know your desired output in tons per hour and to make sure you purchase a machine that has the numbers to match.
  • Mobility: Do you need mobile crushing equipment? Usually, the answer to this question is fairly simple. It’s likely that you know whether or not you’re in the market for a stationary crusher that may be a part of a larger material processing system or a crusher that can move across the job site or the state. If, however, you are interested in mobile crushing equipment, you do have some additional things to consider, as there are both wheeled and tracked models available. Wheeled mobile crushing equipment can be attached to a truck and hauled, whereas tracked mobile crushing equipment can be loaded on a trailer. When considering mobility, it’s important to remember that the more mobile a crusher is, the less heavy duty it’s going to be.
  • Part Quality: As can be said for many pieces of heavy equipment, crushing equipment takes a daily beating. The process of crushing large, abrasive pieces of raw material takes a lot of effort and so you want to be certain the parts of your crushing equipment are up for the challenge. Make sure you do your research on a few key components of your crusher, as investing in a high-quality piece of equipment up front will be sure to save you money in the long run. A few of the key components you should research are the engine, hopper size, AR-400 liners, conveyors bearings, rollers, shafts and drives. All of these components should be able to handle a lot of wear.

Choosing the Right Screening Equipment

It can be challenging to be sure you’re choosing the right screening equipment. There are several components to screening equipment that need to be considered, including the screen media, angle and motion of the screen. Of course, the raw material you’re working with also needs to be considered as the best fit for many of these factors will depend on your process. Here is some background information to get you started.

  • Raw Material

The raw material you’re working with is going to have an impact on what kind of screening equipment you get for the job. The shape of the particles of material, weight and even the humidity of the material will affect the screening process and should be taken into consideration when you’re choosing the right screening equipment for your process.

For example, the capacity you’re able to screen will be partially determined by the weight of the material you’re screening. Natural stone is mostly round and fairly even, making it easier to screen than crushed stone, which tends to be more angular and rough. Humidity is most influential when the screen hole sizes are 16 millimeters or smaller. Moist, doughy or thick slurry consistencies can be nearly impossible to screen while a dry or thin slurry consistency is ideal for screening.

  • Media

The screen media is the rubber, polyurethane or wire cloth that has the openings for the particles to either pass through or over, depending on size. There are pros and cons of each of these screen media.

Rubber panels are known for being durable in high-impact situations and for reducing noise – a great fit for large batches. The downside? Smaller rocks act like sandpaper, wearing away the rubber and thinning the panel out time. Urethane panels are best for sand and wet material when water is used to support the screening process. It’s durable but doesn’t make a great match for high-impact processes. Wire cloth panels are the most affordable up front, but abrasive materials can wear it down pretty quickly, meaning you’re likely to have to replace it more frequently. This type of panel will also have a higher open area.

  • Angle or Incline

Is the screen at an angle? If so, to what degree? While having an angle to the screen can certainly help move the raw material along the screen, too much of an angle can be detrimental to the process. Unfortunately, there is no single measurement that works for everyone. It ultimately depends on the material you’re working with, the screen media and the motion of the screen. As a rule of thumb, flat screens are frequently used in portable applications due to road height restrictions. They are efficient but will produce fewer tonnages than an inclined or angled screen. Inclined or angled screens use gravity to help move the process along. In addition to having a single screen at an angle, there are also multi-sloped screens. Multi-sloped screens have three sections to each deck – each with its slope or angle. These screens are also known as “banana screens.”

Make sure you consider the ability to adjust the angle as you focus on choosing the right screening equipment.

  • Motion

Part of screening is the motion of the screen. The motion varies depending on the piece of screening equipment that you use, but can usually best be described as screen vibration. This vibration helps get the smaller particles through the screen and separated from the larger particles. There are several different vibration patterns available, but a few of the most common are vibrating freely, circular vibration, linear vibration, and elliptic vibration.

  • Decks

We’ve mentioned that there can be more than one screen deck, but what exactly does that mean? Think of decks as tiers of screening on top of one another. When the raw material is dumped into the top deck, particles smaller than the hole size in the screen media will fall through to the second deck. At the second deck, the hole size in the screen media would likely be slightly smaller, capturing some of the particles, but again allowing particles smaller than the hole size in the screen media to fall through to a third deck – and so on. At the end of the process, you have multiple decks with multiple particle sizes appropriate for whatever your output is.

Crushing and Screening Equipment from Wheeler Machinery

Crushing and screening are both processes that require additional equipment. At Wheeler Crushing Systems, we have crushing and screening equipment, as well as the other pieces of equipment to complete your process. Bins and hoppers for storage solutions, feeders for optimal flow and a variety of conveyors to match your site and your material.

  • Bins, Hoppers, and Feeders: When you need to store material, bins and hoppers can help. We have a few different models that can provide temporary storage for your material. These bins and hoppers can be used with one of our feeders to help you regulate the flow of your material through the next screening process.
  • Field Conveyors: If you’re looking for a conveyor that can be easily assembled and installed on site, Wheeler Crushing Systems has a few different models of field conveyors that can get the job done.
  • Hydraulic Conveyors: There is little downtime when it comes to your material handling process, which is why we offer hydraulic conveyors, recognized for their productivity and durability. With one of our hydraulic conveyors, you’ll benefit from a simple design that gives you complete control of acceleration and deceleration, whether you’re going from zero to your maximum speed or inching for maintenance.
  • Radial Stacking Conveyors: If you’re interested in maximizing stockpile volume with limited space, one of our radial stacking conveyors may be an ideal fit for your crushing and screening process. Their ability to stack gives you the flexibility to save on space for transportation, while still maintaining a longer reach in the field. Telescoping models give you the flexibility to create high volume piles in a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Track-Mounted Crushers: We carry a few different models of mobile crushing equipment, including a track-mounted crusher. This type of crusher was built to travel wherever you need it to go on site, navigating over rough terrain on tracks.
  • Track-Mounted Screens: A usual partner to our track-mounted crushers, our track-mounted screens give you the ability to take the screening process to your site and to move through rugged terrain once you get there.
  • Trailer-Mounted Crushers: Another mobile option is our trailer-mounted mobile crushing equipment. This type of crusher is on wheels, making it easy to transport from one site to another.
  • Trailer-Mounted Screens: Complementing the trailer-mounted crushers, we also have screening equipment available in the same trailer-mounted design, so you can take your screening equipment on the road between job sites.

New, Used and Rental Crushing and Screening Equipment

All of these pieces of equipment — bins, hoppers, feeders, conveyors, crushers and screens — are available to purchase new or used, or to rent. At Wheeler Crushing Systems, we understand that there are a variety of reasons crushing and screening equipment may be needed. You may be looking to invest in a brand new piece of equipment for a longer-term crushing and screening process. However, we also understand that budgets and jobs vary. Perhaps buying used is the way you’ve determined to meet your budget. Or, maybe you’re only going to be crushing a screening for a limited amount of time, and so a piece of rental equipment makes sense.

Regardless of what piece of equipment you need, and whether you’re interested in buying new, used or renting, at Wheeler, we’re here to help you complete your crushing and screening process with a piece of equipment that will maximize your output and efficiency.

You’ll find everything necessary for your crushing and screening equipment, from rentals or financing to parts and service. We carry the leading manufacturers recognized for reliability, throughput and high product quality – Metso, Anaconda, Edge Innovative, RD Olson and Masaba. Our crushing and screening equipment selection includes new, used and rental crushers and screens, of course, either track- or trailer-mounted, as well as conveyors, bins, hoppers, and feeders. If you aren’t sold on a particular model, we can show you the options and benefits of each in detail to help you choose the best crushing and screening equipment.

And it doesn’t stop with a purchase. We support every piece of crushing and screening equipment we sell through superb parts availability and skilled service technicians. Our goal is to provide a piece of equipment that helps you increase profitability by providing a solution to your crushing and screening challenges. If you’re near one of our ten locations throughout Utah, Nevada or Wyoming, get started by calling us at 801-974-0511, or reaching us through our contact form.

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