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On the move: mobile crusher's recycling capabilities and easy transport help reduce operating costs for Coalville, Utah contractor.

Russell Dean Geary formed Geary Construction in 1947 in Coalville, Utah. A Marine who had just returned from World War II, Geary started out with a backhoe and a dump truck as a means in simply make a living. He quickly earned a reputation for his work and began to take on employees to expand the business.

A man with a deep respect for anyone willing to put in a hard day's work, he ran his business with a couple of goals in mind: to create job security for his employees and to expand his equipment fleet to make his first goal possible.

Nearly 60 years later, Geary Construction has built a base of clients and a rock solid reputation throughout Utah. Specializing in road and pipeline construction, land reclamation, soil stripping and railings ponds for mines, private site development and custom gravel crushing and production, Geary Construction is now operated under the watchful eye of Geary's daughter, DeAnn Geary. Since her father's death in 1991, she has grown the business beyond his imagination and with the same employee-focused mantra that he held so dearly: Create job security for employees and do so by expanding equipment and operations.

To that end, Geary has continuously expanded her company's equipment fleet and diversified its capabilities. The custom gravel and production operation is one example--a segment of the business that she has grown because of the increased demand for sand and gravel products in the Salt Lake City area. In recent years, governmental regulations, environmental responsibility and market forces have also precipitated the need to recycle construction materials such as concrete and asphalt. With that in mind, Geary saw the opportunity to add versatility and cost savings to her equipment fleet by buying a mobile crusher--Komatsu's BR380JG-1--that benefited her crushing and recycling business in more ways than one.


DeAnn Geary's father started the gravel business, but it wasn't until after she had taken full control of the company that she realized the niche her company could help fill.

"My father told me that I'd have enough resources to last a lifetime," says Geary. "But I sold more gravel in one month than he sold in one year."

Geary Construction did a massive amount of work in the region prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and expanded its crushing operations to include three stationary crushing plants. Geary Construction provided all of the gravel for the Silver Creek Junction/Interstate 80 Interchange, and the Utah Olympic Park and Snow Basin. In 2000 alone, the company produced 700,000 tons of material--tripling its 1999 sales.

The Olympic-related work further expanded the company's horizons and made it a preferred contractor for public roads and private ski resort developments in the area. And since then, the demand for gravel products--from standard sand products all the way up to 6- to 12-inch gabion rock--hasn't wavered. Geary currently keeps two of her stationary crushing units at the company's gravel pit and has moved another to a jobsite in Altamont, Utah, where on-site crushing needs are extensive enough to warrant the relocation of an entire crushing plant.

But with only two crushing units at its home pit, Geary Construction began to feel squeezed with its production capabilities. On top of that, the company started taking in asphalt and concrete products off of jobsites--the recycling of which tied up the stationary crushing units that were needed to produce its rock and roadbase products. A product demonstration in fall 2004 led to the quick purchase of a mobile crusher and the answer to Geary's problems.

"Bill Gobble and Doug Tripp from Komatsu Equipment Co. (KEC) told me they were bringing in a BR380JG-1 mobile crusher and asked if I'd like to demo it in my pit," recalls DeAnn Geary. "Earlier in the year, I had gone to Komatsu Field Days in Las Vegas and it was really fun to see the crusher in action. I thought this was something I could really use. At the end of two days (of the demo), I told them I wasn't going to allow them to take it out of my pit because I was buying it."


In addition to its work at the pit, Geary also sees a benefit in the crushers size, which makes it easy to transport from jobsite to jobsite. On smaller jobs, where a full-size crushing plant isn't needed but recycled, crushed aggregates could be used, a mobile crusher helps eliminate the trucking costs associated with hauling out aggregate debris and hauling in new, usable material.

"Another reason we expanded to this mobile jaw crusher," explains Geary, "is because there are so many jobs where we're excavating and hit a pile of material that is great fill material. With this mobile crusher we can take it to the jobsite and make our own 3-inch granular borrow," she says. "That eliminates the trucking expense associated with hauling out material that might be too big, making us more competitive on these jobs."

Geary says a larger mobile unit would be a benefit to production, but the size advantages of the Komatsu unit are that it can easily be transported on a low-boy trailer without disassembly--a fact that saves on labor and/or rental costs for hiring an outside transport. With a transportation length of 41 feet, a height of 11 feet and a width of 9 feet, 2 inches, it is easily transportable from site to site without a problem. The machine will also allow Geary to tackle jobs that in the past were deemed "too small" for on-site crushing.

"A non-mobile unit takes two weeks to set up," she says. "It's not feasible to go in and crush 10,000 tons of material in that case. The time and money required to set up a full plant means we can't feasibly do it unless we're going to crush 100,000 tons. This little machine allows us to get to these little jobsites--which I have a lot of--and pile up all the rock. It may only be 5,000 tons, but we'll have a usable rock product at the end rather than having to haul that trench swell out and having to haul good rock back in to bed the sewer line."


The hydraulic excavator that Geary Construction usually pairs with the BR380JG-1 is the Komatsu PC200--a machine that the company has come to trust as the "flagship" of its excavator fleet. The two machines have the exact same engine, meaning that they share a high parts commonality. It also helps ensure greater parts availability from her dealership. The engine similarity played an important role in the selection of the BR380JG-1.

"I trusted this machine because its engine is the same as the PC200 and PC220 excavators," says Geary. "I have had great success with those machines, and the parts and filter commonality comes into play with me because it is cost efficient."

Another similarity is in the tracks. The crusher's undercarriage is identical to that of a hydraulic excavator. Hydraulic steering and high travel speeds make the machine easy to relocate. The crusher can crawl right along with the excavator so that Geary Construction can bring the crusher to the stockpile or the bank instead of vice versa, saving on time and hassle. The finished product is then stockpiled or loaded out with a Komatsu WA500 wheel loader.


The benefits of the mobile crusher are simply a means to an end for DeAnn Geary. Within months, the company has been able to pay off its new mobile crusher and turn a pure profit. She sees the BR380JG-1 as a way to grow the business and to do so in a way that makes her end product more cost effective for her customers. But even beyond that, by having a machine that expands her company's capabilities, it means one thing: more work to keep her employees busy.

"And that is important to me as a person and as a business owner," she says. "I am so proud of the work that we do. It's the people here

that make my life and my job worthwhile--and ultimately contribute to the success of this company."


* Geary Construction of Coalville, Utah, may have purchased its Komatsu BR380JG-1 crusher for its comparatively compact size, but the company has been equally pleased with the machine's status as one of the largest-capacity mobile jaw crushers in its size class.

The BR380JG-1 is capable of crushing bank material, rock and debris to a 2-inch to a 6-inch end product. Bank material is crushed down to all sizes throughout that spectrum, while recycled asphalt and concrete is generally reduced to either 2-inch minus or 3-inch material. The machine has a range of 55 to 265 tons per hour. Due to the variety of materials being crushed, company president DeAnn Geary estimates they are currently crushing 150 tons per hour and between 1,000 and 1,500 tons per day.

Material is loaded by an excavator into the BR380JG-1's 8 foot, 2-inch by 12-foot, 2-inch hopper where it is fed over a vibrating grizzly feeder that evenly separates the material as it heads into the jaw, which helps to prevent overload conditions. One feature that Geary is particularly pleased with is the optional magnetic separator outfitted on her crusher--an item that she sees as critical when recycling debris.

"One thing that we couldn't do before," explains Geary, "is have the magnet that pulls the rebar out. When we crushed [concrete], if we didn't have that, we would be in trouble. We recently tore a bridge to pieces and took all the recyclable material off the bridge, and while they try their best to get the rebar out, there is always some left inside. We ran it right through and didn't have a bit of trouble."

This story was submitted by the author on behalf of Komatsu America International, Vernon Hills, Ill.,
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Job Story
Author:Elverman, Bill
Publication:Construction & Demolition Recycling
Article Type:Industry Overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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