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Built To Last


Built to last. Historic. Linked by generations of employees. These adjectives all describe Tilcon New York Inc.'s largest operation, Clinton Point Quarry,

NEAL LORENZI

Built to last. Historic. Linked by generations of employees.

These adjectives all describe Tilcon New York Inc.'s largest operation, Clinton Point Quarry, which has been at its current location for more than 100 years and still has 200 years of reserves left. Situated on approximately 1,200 acres near Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the facility produces an average of 5 million tons of dolomitic limestone per year, which is used for road and building construction. Clinton Point is a 24-hour operation with 120 hourly and eight salaried employees.

Located along the Hudson River, Clinton Point supplies aggregate to the middle and lower Hudson River Valley, New York City and Long Island by barge (67% of total production) and truck. Its primary market is NYC. In fact, its aggregate is being used to build the new Yankee Stadium, Citi Field (the new Mets stadium) and Freedom Towers. Its ties as a major supplier to the Big Apple date back to the 1930s.

Operations at the site began in 1879. Ownership changed hands several times before New York Trap Rock Corp. acquired the site in 1919; in 1929, NYTR began construction of a modern stone-crushing plant, which became known as Clinton Point Quarry and is still in operation today. In 1965, Lone Star Industries purchased NYTR and operated the quarry for 32 years. Tilcon New York Inc. purchased the site in 1997.

The quarry is steeped in history. For example, the site was part of the estate of George Clinton, who served as the first governor of New York State from 1777 until 1795, and as the fourth vice president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It is located in an area where some roads follow the same paths they did in the 1770s. On a more technical (but historical) note, the existing primary crusher, purchased used after service in the Panama Canal, was installed in 1912 and is still in use today.

Then and now

Back in 1930, when the Clinton Point Quarry was rebuilt from the ground up and reopened, it was hailed as the most modern aggregate plant of its time. During that same year, Rock Products published an article describing the operation. Following are a few excerpts from that article, comparing it to the present operation.

1930: Stone is hauled from the quarry face to the primary crusher via a fleet of 12 Mack 7-Ω-ton trucks that can each hold five cubic yards of stone. The average haul distance is 750 feet.

Today: The current fleet includes six 100-ton haul trucks, two 50-ton haul trucks and two 70-ton haul trucks. The average distance from the working face to the crusher is 1-Ω miles.

1930: Crushing capacity can reach 800 to 1,000 tons per hour.

Today: The plant produces 1,000 to 1,200 tons per hour through the secondary mill and 1,500 to 1,800 tons per hour through the primary.

1930: The feature that impresses the visitor familiar with crushed-stone operations is the absence of dust. Even within the buildings that house various screening units and crushers, the air is remarkably free from dust.

Today: Dust control still is a priority. A dust control plan, which incorporates a Nesco water spray system, sprays water onto the rock as it enters the bins located above the feeders in building #4. In addition, the system is used in the chutes located above the crushers, which reduces the amount of dust released.

1930: All machinery in the plant is electrically interlocked so that if one machine stops, all operations ahead of the unit automatically stop.

Today: All stations within the plant (crushers, conveyors, etc.) are automated through a programmable logic controller (PLC), which ensures better control, reliability and energy-efficiency. However, a large portion of the plant still runs almost the same way it did back then.

1930: An outstanding feature of the plant is the extensive use of belt conveyors for elevating and conveying crushed stone. No elevators of the bucket type are used. Also, there is no scalping between primary and secondary crushing.

Today: Much of the same equipment is being used. Steve Brooks, plant manager, explains: ìThis plant was built to last. All the crushers are pretty much the same. We still have some of the original pulleys on the belts. In some cases, we have the original idlers still in position for the conveyor belts. We are even using some of the original overhead cranes.

ìThe conveyors also have remained the same, although some belts have been replaced and some conveyors moved or eliminated. From the primary crusher, the stone falls to a 48-inch-wide belt that moves the stone through an overhead conveyor gallery, over the main-line tracks of what was then the New York Central and is now the Metro-North railroad, to the secondary crusher.î

1930: Because the quarry is located so close to the main-line tracks of the New York Central railroad, precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of passing trains. For this purpose, the company has a tower man (employed by the New York Central) stationed at the plant; he telephones the chief dispatcher to determine if they have sufficient clearance for passing trains.

Today: Clinton Point has no interaction with the trains. Metro-North trains run through the plant every half hour during the morning rush and every hour during off-hours. Amtrak runs through at least daily. Tracks are no longer located near the pit. A bridge (built over the tracks) accommodates all vehicular traffic entering and leaving the plant.

200 Years of Reserves

As of today, 750 of the site's 1,200 acres have been mined. The plant has been in full production since 1929 and at the same levels since then, producing 3.5 to 4.5 million tons per year. Based on current mine plan and production volumes, the site holds another 200 years of reserves. It features seven benches that extend 270 feet below sea level; bench #5 is now being mined. About 20 acres per year are excavated. An additional 350 million tons of reserves, already permitted, lie across the Hudson River.

ìThe founding members of this quarry operation had the foresight to acquire a very large, strategic location to a superior market,î explains Gary Hubbard, operations manager. ìNot only is this location ideal, Tilcon New York has three other plants located on the Hudson even closer to NYC, two of which have barge-loading capabilities. Few other aggregate operations have the capacity or location to service NYC in this manner. Subsequently, our selling price is rarely compromised to adjust to the competition.î

Reflecting on the vast amount of reserves, Brooks says it is hard to find a quarry of this size in New York State because of current environmental and permitting laws. It's even unusual to find a site this large out West. ìThe people who designed the plant originally in the late 1920s were geniuses to come up with a facility that's still producing what's considered modern tonnages in this day and age, after all this time. All the buildings constructed in 1929 are still being used for their original purposes.î

The Current Operation

The main building at the Clinton Point facility was constructed in 1929. A primary surge complex was added in 1966 and a five-phase electrical upgrade was initiated in 1998. The facility includes computerized primary, secondary and tertiary crushing operations. It can produce more than 5 million tons per year. Crushing equipment includes an Allis Chalmers 21K gyratory, two 7-foot Symons standard crushers, two 7-foot Symons short-head crushers, a 4000 series Svedala cone crusher and a Metso HP300.

The sand plant operation uses a Barmac 9100 crusher. The two asphalt plants were purchased in early 1999. They include a 1985 CMI SMV 2000 drum plant with wet venturi scrubber, as well as a 250-ton Gencor silo and a 1989 Gencor 6-ton batch plant with an Astec RAP kit.

The 21K gyratory crusher, which has been in continual use since 1912, had previously seen service crushing rock to build the Panama Canal. Since its acquisition, the crusher has undergone two major repairs: one-quarter of the bottom section was replaced in 1973 and the entire bottom section (except for the belly pan) was replaced in 2007. An apron feeder recently was installed to allow better control of incoming feed.

According to Brian Nenni, lead maintenance man, the crusher weighs 280,000 pounds, is 40 feet high and 12 feet wide. It contains only four moving parts, still driven by leather belts. He knows of only one other crusher of this type still in use. As a result, off-the-shelf parts are hard to find. In fact, replacement bearings must be built to order. Tilcon management is considering moving the crusher closer to the working face in order to decrease haul distances (now 1Ω miles); a new configuration would then move product through a series of conveyors back to the mill. That option is still being evaluated.

The Tilcon aggregate operation uses a metrics/optimization package from Quarry Tools to identify potential problems and project variations to the norm. ìThese metrics have brought us up from roughly 60% utilization (or 1,000 tons per hour) at the primary to 88% (or 1,450 tons per hour) over the course of a few years,î Hubbard says. ìPredictive and preventative maintenance measurements that utilize oil tripology, orbit analysis, vibration analysis and thermo analysis have decreased our downtime substantially.î

Clinton Points Quarry's two main products are ASTM #57, a ?-inch stone, and New York State #2, a æ-inch stone. The æ-inch stone is used in hot-mix asphalt, portland cement and as a drainage material. The plant's product mix is held in silos that have a total storage capacity of 142,000 cubic yards. The silos employ two crushers, 72 conveyors and 36 screens, which reportedly give the plant more flexibility to produce larger or smaller fractions of material, depending on demand. Originally designed to load railroad cars, the silos load only trucks. In addition, trucks can be loaded directly from front-end loaders in the quarry. Overall production capacity is 18,000 to 20,000 tons per day.

For shipment of aggregate down the Hudson River, eight to 15 deck barges, which hold 1,000 to 2,000 tons each, are loaded daily. Tugboats are capable of pushing up to 12 fully loaded barges at one time. The trip to NYC, which used to take days, now takes hours. To load these barges efficiently, a tripper-car apparatus, which incorporates a chute to ensure even loading, feeds the main dock. In addition, two stiff-leg derrick docks and a lower dock recently were added. Fed by trucks, the lower dock features a conveyor belt that extends out over the barge to load aggregate.

A Family Affair

The sand plant operation uses a Barmac 9100 crusher. The two asphalt plants were purchased in early 1999. They include a 1985 CMI SMV 2000 drum plant with wet venturi scrubber, as well as a 250-ton Gencor silo and a 1989 Gencor 6-ton batch plant with an Astec RAP kit.

The 21K gyratory crusher, which has been in continual use since 1912, had previously seen service crushing rock to build the Panama Canal. Since its acquisition, the crusher has undergone two major repairs: one-quarter of the bottom section was replaced in 1973 and the entire bottom section (except for the belly pan) was replaced in 2007. An apron feeder recently was installed to allow better control of incoming feed.

Among its 120 union employees and management, there is a strong sense of continuity and pride at work at Clinton Pointóa strong sense of family. This can be traced back to the early 1900s, when the town of Camelot (no longer in existence) grew up around the plant. (The remnants of that townís train platform lie just north of the quarry.) Since then, different generations of families have worked at Clinton Point. Many employees are related or have known each other most of their lives. Employees tend to remain at the facility for their entire careers and encourage their children to join the workforce. Currently, 16 people are either second- or third-generation employees. One employee actually was born in Camelot.

ìThere is real teamwork here and people seem to enjoy working together,î says Ed Daddona, who recently retired. ìInformation is passed on from generation to generation, from father to son. Also, besides strong management, we benefit from the experience of our lead operators.î Daddona tells this story, which reflects the generational aspect of Clinton Point. ìWhen I was a youngster, I visited the long tunnels, which extend underneath the silos, where my dad worked. I said, ëNo way will I ever work in a place like this.í Yet, here I am, having been here for 35 years, and Clinton Point is still a great place to work.î In 1972, Daddona joined the company, working third shift on the dock. He worked his way up and joined management in 1989, later serving as assistant plant manager and plant manager. ìI simply followed my father's advice ó learn everything you can.î

Brian Nenni, lead maintenance man, is another example. During 22 years at Clinton Point, he has held many positions, which include working as a driller, in the mill, on the dock, shop steward for laborers and miners' representative. As a result, his knowledge of various aspects of the operation and equipment is extensive. During his career, Nenni has benefited from the advice he received from his father, who worked many years at the site before him.

Terry Williams, dock foreman, is another example. Williams, who started at Clinton Point 38 years ago working nights in the storeroom, has held every conceivable position at the plant, including assistant plant manager, mill foreman, safety coordinator and budget analyst.

Brooks also sees Clinton Point as a generational operation. ìIt has been here for more than 100 years, and will be for many more,î he notes. ìI look at my role as that of a steward, here for some period of time, but always aware that our role is to make the quarry better for the people who come after us. We need to make it better in regards to safety, the environment, as well as operationally. Many of the decisions that we make today will affect the miners of tomorrow, much the same way the decisions of the people who built the plant in the 1920s affect us today. We have to be as forward thinking as they were.î

Community Outreach

Clinton Point has a community relations program in place and works with River Keeper, an environmental group that monitors the Hudson River, to resolve any green issues. To better connect with the surrounding communities, the site began holding an annual Open House in 2005. Kimberly Corrado, office manager, organizes the event by coordinating volunteers, activities, organizations and guests as well as inviting school groups and the general public to get a peek behind the scenes.

ìWe usually get 50 of our employees, union employees and managers to volunteer,î she explains. ìWe call it Open House but they call it Family Day because it's a chance for their families to see what they actually do here.î

In preparation for the 2005 Open House, a major cleanup was completed. In recognition of that effort, Clinton Point won two awards from the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association. The About Face Award for Outstanding Achievement recognized its efforts to enhance the appearance of the operation. The Pinnacle Award for Community Involvement recognized its efforts to enhance public perception of the industry as well as the site. In addition, Clinton Point won an Excellence in Community Relations Award from NSSGA in 2007.

Reflecting on the past and looking into the future, Brooks sees even better days ahead. ìWe've always produced good quality stone for the New York market and we plan to continue doing that for at least another hundred years,î he says. ìWe've got a great crew of people up here. I think the plan going forward is to continue to become more efficient and more productive.î

Mobile Equipment

(1) 992 Caterpillar ó 13-yard bucket pit loader

(1) 992G Caterpillar ó 16-yard loader

(1) WA900 Komatsu ó 16-yard loader

(6) 988 Caterpillar ó loaders

(6) TR100 Terex ó 100-ton haul trucks

(3) 773 Caterpillar ó 50-ton haul trucks

(1) TR70 Terex ó 70-ton haul truck

Timeline

1879: Land along the Hudson River was purchased by the Barnegat Lime Co. to manufacture lime. Lime was produced on a small scale until 1887.

1888: New York Brokenstone Co. purchased the property and began production of crushed stone, which was shipped to Tarrytown and New York City.

1890: The plant and quarry were sold to Clinton Point Stone Co. The use of steam drills for drilling blasting holes began. A steam dinkey (small locomotive) was used to haul stone by rail cars to the crusher.

1910: The company name was changed to Upper Hudson Stone Co. The plant was expanded.

1914: A Marion 91 steam shovel and two locomotives were purchased. By the end of 1916, the company added another steam shovel and four more locomotives.

1919: The plant and quarry were sold to New York Trap Rock Corp.

1929: Construction began on a modern stone-crushing plant, the largest plant in the country at that time. The Clinton Point Quarry began operations in April 1930.

1965: Lone Star Cement Co. purchased the Clinton Point Quarry along with other operating and reserve properties of New York Trap Rock.

1966: A primary surge complex was added.

1973: The primary crusher received its first major repair.

1997: Tilcon New York Inc. purchased Clinton Point Quarry.

1998: Electrical upgrade was initiated to computerize primary, secondary and tertiary crushing operations.

2002: Clinton Point purchased six 100-ton Terex haul trucks to replace eight 85-ton trucks, which were redirected to other quarries.

2003: A new Rockmaster heavy-duty, rip-rap trommel was installed to produce six different rip-rap sizes. The previous unit, which could only make two sizes, had been in service for 30 years.

2005: Tilcon began running an annual Open House for the community.

2007: The new lower dock was opened. The primary crusher required a second major repair and was out of commission for one month. Agricultural limestone (Aglime) was sold as a new product.

Employee Recognition

From the very beginning, the evolution of Clinton Point Quarry has been linked to the Hudson River, the main avenue for shipping its aggregate to New York City and Long Island. Here is one historical tidbit from days past. Up until the 1950s, each barge had its own captain who lived in a small shanty (on the barge) with his family. That practice has long since vanished as barges (pushed by tugboats) now make the trip to NYC in hours rather than days.

Last November, the Hudson River was the scene of a major employee appreciation ceremony, which honored recently retired Ed Daddona, who joined Clinton Point in 1972 and served several years as plant manager.

Tilcon added a new push boat to its fleet of three other push boats in use at Clinton Point. The new boat is 25 feet long, as is the rest of the fleet, in keeping with Coast Guard regulations. However, it features a more powerful engine and, at 27 feet tall, provides the operator with better vision over a fully loaded barge. The new boat was named the Dadonna, in honor of the long-time employee ó but little did he know.

Dadonna was asked to accompany the boat on its maiden voyage up the Hudson River but was not told why. Before dawn, he embarked with Captain Einar Johannsen and they put the boat through its paces, checking its maneuverability throughout the several-hour journey. Upon its return, when the boat got closer to the loading dock at Clinton Point, Dadonna was asked to look up at the barrier posted there and saw his name prominently displayed. Crewmember Jamie Slaughter then pulled away a piece of plywood that had been covering the back of the boat and Daddona finally saw his own last name painted on the stern.

ìI never expected anything like this,î he said, after taking a few minutes to reflect. Friends, co-workers and family, who had gathered on the dock, greeted him upon the boat's return to shore.