Latrobe Valley Sands – ToThink Engineering

By on June 3, 2020

DARREN TOTH, Director of ToThink Engineering reports on LV Sands recent upgrades carried out to meet increased demand.

(L-R) Darren Toth, ToThink Engineering, Chris Blackwood, Latrobe Valley Sands and Mark Thompson, Oli Vibrators in front of the new Dewatering Screen.

Latrobe Valley Sands was established in August 2005 after the purchase of Symons Sand Supplies.

It is a partnership between Robert & Graeme Matthews and Michael & Chris Blackwood. Robert and Graeme have their own blue-rock quarry and transport facility based at Tyers.

Michael Blackwood is the Managing Director of “Blackwood’s Ready Mixed & Garden Supplies” in Warragul and Chris Blackwood previously ran his own Harvesting and Haulage company with the logging trade and due to Government redundancies left the industry in 2003.

As a direct result of the strong operational, logistical and business marketing experience of the four partners, LV Sands has gained the confidence and respect from its customers as reliable suppliers of quality sands throughout the greater Gippsland area. As manager of LV Sands, Chris has always known when and where to invest in equipment necessary to keep up with the needs of his customers resulting in increased production from 70,000 tonnes per year to 450,000 tonnes per year.

Early in 2019, Chris decided to replace LV Sand’s Bucket Wheel with a large cyclone to eliminate the “bottle neck” in the plant. Of course, when you remove one bottle neck in a processing plant, the next immediately appears. On Chris’s radar was their 6 ft wide dewatering screen. Whilst it performed as one would expect from a screen of that size, it was no longer able to keep up with the rest of the plant whose capacity had increased from approximately 200 tonnes per hour to over 300 tonnes per hour.

Chris had made enquiries with equipment suppliers including CMPA Preferred Supplier ToThink Engineering, for an 8 ft wide dewaterer. We submitted a competitive price and proposal to supply a locally produced machine and we “got the job”.

Darren Toth

“ToThink Engineering owner, Darren Toth, is a well-respected Mechanical Engineer with many years of experience in the mechanical design and manufacture of screens, feeders and spare parts as well as equipment upgrades. With state-of-the-art design capabilities, ToThink Engineering is able to deliver quality locally built equipment for the most hazardous environment whilst maintaining the budgetary constraints of the customer” said Chris.

Latrobe Valley Sands.

A great business relationship has been formed between Latrobe Valley Sands who has been a member of the CMPA since 2008, ToThink Engineering who has been an Associate member since 2016 and Oli Vibrators since 2009.

The information shared and support received over the years has been invaluable. We have learnt a lot from the experience of others in the industry” said Chris.

I joined the CMPA to grow my business and further utilise my skills and knowledge of screens and am currently the Vice-Chairperson of the CMPA Associate Committee whilst Mark Thompson (past CMPA Associate Chairperson) from Oli Vibrators has seen being a CMPA members as a great asset to his business.

Mark Thompson

The DWS08 (Dewatering Screen – 8 ft wide) was put into service in January this year and around that time, LV Sands also took delivery of a new telescopic radial stacker conveyor to significantly boost their stockpile capacity from 22,000 tonnes to over 40,000 tonnes. This increase to more than 50% gain in plant capacity has enabled their operation to get ahead with production (allowing 6 to 8 days of drying time) and better manage its maintenance by scheduling planned shuts.

ToThink Engineering is passionate about local manufacturing and is extremely proud that the design, fabrication, machining, grit blasting, rubber lining, painting and assembly has been carried out here in Victoria. The 128 polyurethane screen panels and the M42 bolts holding the motors down were made in Melbourne. The other equipment supplier’s dewatering screens offered to Chris and LV Sands are likely to have come complete from overseas.

The DWS08 components that were not manufactured in Victoria were the ones that are simply not made here. They are the vibrator motors and the rubber springs.

The motors used were Oli MVE22000/1 Vibrator Motors (manufactured in Italy) capable of producing 22 tonnes of force each!!! Oli was chosen due to their off the shelf availability of motors, price and overall customer support. We are proud to be a distributor of Oli products and have enormous appreciation for Mark Thompson and his team in Melbourne.

The rubber springs were from a range of springs that we import from well-respected AB Pneumatics (Northern Ireland). These precision rubber springs are a standard size used on many horizontal screens. The DWS08 showcases our quality-built products as well as our mechanical design and manufacturing capabilities.

Despite these recent upgrades Chris and his team are not finished yet. The old 6 ft Dewaterer has been dismantled, grit blasted and repainted, and is about to be reassembled (also with new Oli vibrator motors) and put back into service to further wash the pea gravel and eventually run the washed product through an impactor to reduce waste.

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