Unleashed on an oversized boulder, the breaking power of a hydraulic hammer is as unmistakable as its rhythmic thud.
Breaker Technology Inc (BTI) says that rocks build the world, and this company likes to break rocks. Indeed, aggregates make modern roads and buildings possible. Further, precious metals, rare earth minerals play no small part in computers, televisions and cell phones. BTI’s rock breakers, hydraulic hammers and stationary rock breaker boom systems are used everyday globally to ensure mines and quarries can deal with oversized material that’s too large to fit a primary crusher or to be easily moved.
Company President Frank Cargould observes: “Whatever isn’t grown must have been mined. Mining and aggregate industries are as essential as farming but are often not well understood by the general public.”
Located in Thornbury, Ontario (on the southern shores of Georgian Bay) Breaker Technology has manufactured rock breaking and mining support equipment since 1958. Today, BTI is a world leader in the design, manufacture, sales and support of hydraulic hammers, pulverizers, stationary and mobile rock breaker systems. In addition, the company supplies a premium range of demolition attachments for the recycling industry, including shears and rotating multi-systems.
BTI’s varied line of underground utility vehicles includes mobile scalers, scissors lifts, crane trucks, lube trucks, anfo loaders, and shotcrete mixers. Add to that a range of cassette machines that maximize the base carriers’ uptime, which results in increased productivity.
BTI has developed a reputation for establishing industry benchmarks for reliability and operator usability. As such, many global customers have deployed the company’s equipment.
Evolution of Rock Breaking Tools
BTI evolves to meet ever-changing industry environmental requirements and technical challenges. This core competency is central to its ongoing success. According to Brad Toole, engineering manager at Breaker Technology, the company constantly strives to improve upon design – whether that involves hydraulic wheel drive technology or the implementation of higher standards in materials and welding procedures to increase equipment duty life. No matter the application or equipment, several key objectives are always kept in mind: increased safety, production, and operator comfort.
“When it comes to design, we’re on the leading edge,” says Toole. The claim isn’t arrogance; it’s fact.
Size and operation capacity are as important as technological innovation. “No one builds stationary rock breaker boom systems as large as BTI,” reports Toole. “Our largest measure nearly 50 feet, five feet bigger than the standard.”
That enhancement came in direct response to customers’ expressed needs. “Our rock breaker booms must provide greater coverage needed by larger gyratory crusher box sizes,” says Toole. This supersizing trend will most likely continue with the pressure on mines and quarries to speed up productive output.
CAD-assisted and Well-certified
BTI has long been a user of computer assisted design (CAD) and it regularly performs finite element analysis and simulation tests to ensure designs meet the rigors of real-world demands.
In the spring of 1997, BTI implemented a formal quality assurance system. In November 1998, the company earned full ISO certification 9001:1994. BTI’s continued commitment to ever-improving standards is underscored by its recent ISO 14001:2004 environmental certification.
These management standard systems ensure that BTI’s global customers are held to third-party review in their manufacturing processes. In the highly demanding mining and quarrying markets, that’s a well-assured mark of quality.
50 Plus Years and Going Strong
Astec Industries Inc., attracted by BTI’s long history and substantial reputation for product and support excellence, acquired the company. Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., Astec Industries has collected more than 16 industrial companies under is corporate umbrella.
Astec’s broad company offerings provide innovative equipment for asphalt production, road building, pipeline, and trenching, oil and gas well drilling and wood and waste processing along with crushing and of course rock breaking systems.
“At our Thornbury Facility, we have invested in state-of-the-art CNC equipment for machining and profile burning of sub components, which have the benefits of ensuring the highest quality controls while keeping cost under control,” says Toole. “As previously indicated, we deploy the most advanced design software, along with onsite digital data capture to analyze ‘real work’ equipment performance.”
Along with its Thornbury production facility and its Riverside sales/service/parts outlet, BTI has a Solon, Ohio location and a Riverside, Calif. facility that ensures coast-to-coast United States coverage. “Customers say that they like to work with us because we have a strong distributor network, which reduces distance when it comes to providing parts and service support,” says Toole. “We pride ourselves in sending our people anywhere in the world where there is a need for our equipment.”
BTI has about 200 employees—a number that has grown approximately 20 percent in the last three years (due to the growing demand in mining)—and the most are engaged in direct manufacturing. Further, BTI maintains a core team of technical service and sales personnel to bolster their widespread technical dealers who are an integral part of the customer support network.
While presently experiencing growth in personnel and capacity, BTI had to weather, like many in the industry, the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent downturn in 2010 of the American construction and road building industries. One of BTI’s positive strategies in these lean times was to develop innovative products and expand international market coverage.
The results have been the improved range of BX and BXR hydraulic hammers covering ft/pound classes from 400 to 16,000 ft/pounds. These hammers are characterized by reduced wear parts, multiple stroke speeds and anti-blank fire systems.
Further, BTI has sought to be a leader in rock breaker systems by developing superior products. One improvement is the MRHT Pedestal Rock Breaker slew bearing that provides more than 220 degrees of rotation. It represents a vast improvement of swing post systems, as the products provide longer duty cycles and greater rock box coverage (ideal for large jaw plants and smaller gyratory crushers).
Breaker Technology has also been one of first boom manufacturers globally to provide “fly by wire” computer-assisted high velocity control (HVC) to operational rock breaker systems.
HVC allows quicker deployment and operation of a system without the jarring shock loading commonly caused either through operator error or unanticipated stoppages. The propriety geometry and canbus control mark the true integration of hydraulic and digital systems. Direct benefit to clients is fast cycle times and improved production.
On the Move
BTI has grown through the good and the tough economic times, due to a commitment to quality products and excellent service support. Not a company to stand still on it past successes, BTI is on the move again, currently testing a unique wheel end drive utility truck in Timmins, Ontario within a world-class mining operation, as part of their “Partner4Progress program,” indicates Toole.
Equipment testing involves monitoring running temperatures, tramming, automatic (constant velocity) transmission, and traction control among other key parameters. BTI believes in field testing and close collaboration with clients to provide robust and effective industry solutions.
Whatever the innovation or new idea, one recurring theme is ever-present. “We make product to work and last even in the harshest conditions,” says Toole. “They have to be, considering the markets we serve. Much of our equipment has continued operating for over 25 years, not easily boasted by any equipment manufacturer.”
BTI is one rugged company operating in one of the toughest global markets.