Fine Tuning the Crushing Fleet

A highly mobile contract crusher taps into the latest portable plant innovations

For Hopkins Sand & Gravel, crushing plant mobility really matters. Its contract crushing business is on the upswing and its crew tackles setup and teardown up to fifteen times per year throughout Northwest Wisconsin. To fine tune its processes, the company recently added a new portable crushing and screening spread to its fleet. According to Crushing Supervisor Cameron Hughes, the highly mobile plant speeds site-to-site relocation while delivering greater uptime and reliability on the job.

Along with the portable chassis for each plant module, all equipment systems, and components (including the automated controls) on the plant are manufactured by Superior Industries. Hughes and his team worked with Superior and its dealer Rock Machinery to configure the spread to their specifications.

“The cone plant lines up directly with the screen plant and offers the in-and-out chassis that we wanted,” says Hughes. He explains that all the on-plant conveyors fold out right from the chassis, which eliminates the need to access, transport, and set up additional jump or transfer conveyors. “The plant offers a very precise, one-shot setup, which is a big aspect of its portability,” he says.

Time Savings Results

Hughes stresses that speed is his top advantage. “This plant is designed for quick setup and teardown with its hydraulic run-on legs and heavy-duty hydraulic jack systems,” he says.

Project Details

Hopkins Sand & Gravel


Aggregates: Crushed Stone

P400 Patriot® Cone Crusher Plant

6’ x 20’ Guardian® Horizontal Screen Plant

Vantage® Automation System


To fine tune its processes, Hopkins Sand & Gravel recently added a new portable crushing and screening spread to its fleet. According to Crushing Supervisor Cameron Hughes, the highly mobile plant speeds site-to-site relocation while delivering greater uptime and reliability on the job.

Hughes says that time-saving results have been significant from the start. He explains that with previous plants, they had to power the hydraulics with a 12-volt battery, which was a slow process especially in colder weather. Now, with the hydraulic run-on legs, Hughes says they have cut that part of the setup process from 2.5 hours, down to only one hour. “It’s a lot more efficient for us. All the hydraulics are easy to access and operate. You can adjust up or down by simply hitting the lever,” he says.

As to total teardown and setup time, Hughes says that it used to take a full two days. “With the new plant, we’ve cut more than a half day off that process. That keeps us from working in the dark, which keeps the crew happy – and we also have the time to do a quick test run the day before, which helps with production,” he adds.

Designed for Portability

“Because Superior manufactures all the crushing and screening equipment and components (including idlers and pulleys), we can design crushing and screening circuits that are far more compatible with portability,” says Matt Voigt, portable plant manager for Superior Industries. “It also gives us the ability for flexible customization to meet the contractor’s needs – such as making adjustments in size and weight, or altering a component for proper clearance,” he adds.

“Most importantly, we design for quick setup and teardown. While most manufacturers offer systems that must be continually leveled and readjusted using pins, the Superior systems feature ‘pinless’ hydraulic jacks that quickly lift and hold the plant in the desired position,” says Voigt. “This eliminates the need for cribbing or the time-consuming task of fitting the pins into place while trying to level the plant.” 

Voigt explains that the highly mobile spread at Hopkins Sand & Gravel features a Superior Portable P400 Patriot® Cone Crusher Plant, and a Superior Portable 6’ x 20’ Guardian® Horizontal Screen Plant, each mounted on its own chassis. “We’ve designed the plants to run in greater conjunction with each other for peak production levels,” he says, adding that the convenient on-plant conveyors eliminate the need for additional off-plant conveyors to feed and transfer material between the circuits.

“On the Hopkins spread, the screen plant features an overhead feed conveyor, and the cone plant has a rear feed and rear discharge conveyor. This allows them to simply pull in their screen plant, and back in the cone plant at 90-degrees to it – and they’re ready to go,” he says.

Portability of Plants Matters in Rural Wisconsin

Safety, Efficiency, and Automation

Hopkins equipped its new Patriot Cone plant with Superior’s Vantage® Automation System. Originally designed just for cone crusher diagnostics, the new Vantage System is a controls system that links the entire cone plant, allowing safe, automatic startup of the cone and all plant components including the lubrication and hydraulic systems, heaters, and multiple conveyors. One of its biggest advantages is safely controlling motor starts and stops with one touch on the screen. With no operator intervention needed, the system ensures that the crusher is always starting up and shutting down safely, and in the proper sequence to protect the machine and its performance.

Hughes says that the Vantage system is a key to maintaining safe, efficient operation. “The crew doesn’t have to manually interact with the machine. We can do all our diagnostics, while we are running, right from the screen, such as monitoring temperatures and pressures. Should any event occur, the system will automatically shut down the cone and the crusher feed,” he says. “The whole automation package is so user-friendly with everything you need being right at your fingertips. It saves a lot of time and energy on the troubleshooting side of things,” adds Hughes.

Due to the addition of the Vantage system on the Patriot Cone, Hughes says that his cone crusher is supported by Superior’s limited lifetime warranty program. “For a smaller business, this warranty program is huge for us. I don’t know of any other manufacturer who offers that particular peace of mind,” he notes.

Quality Products

A decade ago, Hopkins Sand & Gravel added contract crushing to its list of expert services. As crushing supervisor, Cameron Hughes represents the fourth generation of this family-owned business founded by his great grandfather. “Business is good and it’s getting even better. Our focus is ongoing quality and remaining a leader in the industry,” he says.

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