Full Speed Ahead
Southern California producer juggles crushing at a fast-paced highway site and back at the quarry.
The ability to crush on site in remote locations has improved dramatically throughout the last decade. No longer does material need to be trucked off site, processed, and returned (or sold) for a practical recycling application to be realized. But while many companies have found success crushing remotely, C.A. Rasmussen, Inc. of Valencia, Calif., has raised the bar even higher with its latest project along the Route 118 Simi Valley Freeway. With live traffic moving at 75 miles per hour in each direction, Rasmussen processed and reemployed nearly 30,000 tons of broken concrete and asphalt in the 60-foot median of that thoroughfare.
Crushing is not Rasmussen’s main business. Founded by Carl A. Rasmussen in 1964 with just a couple of motor graders and a small team of employees, C. A. Rasmussen quickly grew from his business’ reputation and size. His three sons, Dean, Larry, and Charlie joined the business after each completed college, and the company evolved into the general engineering contractor firm it is today. It was a project in 1971 that served as its catalyst into large-scale projects. The contract was to grade the road leading up to Magic Mountain, a main theme park attraction in Southern California.
Since its success with that project, Rasmussen continued to grow, and today is a leading provider of roads, bridges, freeways, and other heavy civil infrastructure projects. “We just finished two very large marinas,” says Tim MacDonald, vice president of C.A. Rasmussen. “Our expertise allows us to provide a broad scope of services on a wide range of projects.” MacDonald, who himself has 40 years of experience in the industry, has been with Rasmussen for the past 12 years. “I’ve been in Southern California for my entire career, and Rasmussen has certainly earned its positive reputation. It’s a great company to work for.”
Recently, Rasmussen added another angle to its scope of capability. “Crushing became part of our business about a year and a half ago,” MacDonald says. “We have a couple of satellite sites where we take in concrete and asphalt waste for recycling, and acquired a quarry pit for raw aggregate production as well.” This is not its first entry into the aggregates business, however. It operated asphalt and ready-mix plants throughout California; but a recent consolidation effort resulted in a divestiture of those operations. “We pulled back from the asphalt and ready-mix about four or five years ago,” MacDonald explains. “Because we were conducting that statewide, I think the owners realized it was quite a bit to keep up with.”
But the Southern California crushing capability has been a tremendous advantage for the company, both from a revenue-generating and a cost-savings perspective. “We originally acquired the plant to make ourselves more competitive on projects where a lot of concrete or asphalt will be removed, as it saves on transportation, dumping fees, etc.,” he adds. “But we do produce aggregate as well and operate a wholesale arm where we can sell that rock to the general market.”
Its original set up began with a trifecta of portable equipment: a Fast Trax 2650 jaw, a 6203 closed-circuit tracked screen, and a K-300 cone. Rasmussen visiting the manufactured the facilities of a number of brands while researching the equipment purchase. Jock Voelzke, of Balzer Pacific Equipment Co., brought the Rasmussen team to see KPI-JCI. “Our master mechanic and our owner [Charlie Rasmussen] went to see several manufacturers, but it was the KPI-JCI that really made the strongest impression,” MacDonald says. “They were looking for a system that was all-hydraulic, and this one was it. We can run the bulk of our belts and conveyors off these so that eliminates the need for generators and such.”
An all-hydraulic system was just one advantage Rasmussen found with the plants. “Since it was our intention all along to crush on remote locations, easy set up and portability was critical for us to have a highly efficient operation,” MacDonald explains. “We can get this plant taken down, moved, and set back up in about four hours, which allows us the flexibility to schedule it wherever we need, or move it back to the quarry to do some on-site crushing when there isn’t an immediate application out in the field.”
The ability to crush at the project site eliminated a potentially tremendous expense to recycle old aggregate. “Landfilling is simply not economically feasible anymore, and in Southern California, there are a lot of transfer stations you can haul to; but they charge you $30 to $50 per load, plus $5 a ton to buy it back, with the trucking in both directions and the tax. So it was pretty clear where we could gain from this investment,” McDonald says.
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