Oscar Brugmann Sand & Gravel Keeps Productivity Afloat with a New Barge Built from Scratch.

By Mark S. Kuhar

Oscar Brugmann Sand & Gravel Inc., Mantua, Ohio, operates two wash plants, two floating clamshell dredges and produces approximately 600,000 tpy of material in an average year. Sand and gravel brought up includes rocks and boulders too large for the water-borne and connecting land-based conveyor system. Rocks over 8-in. in diameter are separated out in the dredge-vessel’s hopper and deposited down a steep 20-ft. chute into a barge moored alongside each floating dredge.

“Years ago, when we first started using clamshell dredges, we bought some metal barges with wooden sides because they were relatively inexpensive and easy to build,” said President Alan Brugmann. “But we soon learned that was a mistake. The rocks – some of them larger than 36-in. in diameter and weighing up to 5,000 lb. – made short work of the wooden sides. Thus, these barges weren’t inexpensive after all. So we graduated to all-steel barges from various manufacturers. But even then the big rocks were battering the barge sides and bottom so much that we were constantly having to repair them. That caused us considerable expense in manpower, repair materials and especially in lost production time. It was also a real aggravation.

“We absolutely needed a custom-built rock barge that could take a real beating and have a long, trouble-free service life,” Bruggman said. “Problem was we couldn’t find a barge maker who would design and build exactly what we wanted. That was exasperating.”

The company operated two Grasan wash plants, so they talked to Grasan Vice President Ed Eilenfeld about their barge problem, and he said – somewhat to their surprise – that they could and would do it, even though they had never built a barge before.

“We got together with the Grasan engineering people, told them what we wanted and discussed some design options,” Bruggman said. “Grasan quoted us a reasonable price, and we gave them the order. They built the barge in a surprisingly short time, trucked it to our site, put it in the water, and guess what – it didn’t sink.”

Barge Problem Solved
The company has been using the Grasan barge for the better part of a year, and it shows no sign whatever of any damage. The Grasan all-steel barge measures 35-ft. long, 18-ft. wide, 8-ft., 4-in. high and weighs about 77,000 lb. It has a load capacity of about 53,000 lb.

The deck is constructed of heavily reinforced 1-in. thick plate. When full, the barge is pushed ashore with a flat-nosed, outboard-motor-powered launch. The open-ended design facilitates easy unloading with an excavator. And the barge design is adaptable to other sizes.

Brugmann’s two clamshell dredges are a 7-yd., 250-tph luffing jib type and a 10-yd., 350 tph gantry type, which is used with the Grasan barge.

Brugmann operates two Grasan wash plants they purchased between 2001 and 2003. This equipment has provided efficient, dependable service with simple maintenance and very little downtime, according to the company.

Equipment Grasan provided for the wash plants includes a 5- x 10-ft. screen and screen tower with 30-ton hopper and belt feeder, a screen feed conveyor and 20-in x 80-ft. wash screen conveyor, a 5- x 14-ft. triple-deck wash sizing and rinsing screen, a 6- x 12-ft. double-deck de-watering screen with 24-in. x 70-ft. stockpiling conveyor, a sand plant with 6- x 16-ft. triple-deck wet screen with hopper and belt feeder, a screen-feed conveyor, and a 30-in. x 80-ft. pit-portable conveyor.

The company produces 40 different products. These include everything from concrete and asphalt sand to sand for horserace tracks and golf greens, as well as grit for icy winter roads. Dredged-up rocks and boulders are sold mainly as decorative products.