Mining and Heavy Industries

Astec Industries’ concrete results

Equipment proven to last the test of time is how Astec Industries dealer Conequip provides high-performance concrete production plants.

Equipment proven to last the test of time is how Astec Industries dealer Conequip provides high-performance concrete production plants.

Proven reliability in the field is one of the most important things a piece of equipment can have, according to Dennis Armstrong, Director at specialist dealer Conequip.

Armstrong himself has almost 30 years of experience working in the concrete sector and has seen first-hand what can happen when unproven technology meets the high demands of the concrete industry.

The materials used for concrete are coarse, which means that wear can become a serious problem. Additionally, many of Conequip’s customers require high production targets, aiming to manufacture hundreds of metres of concrete an hour.

“In this industry, downtime is much more expensive than a repair,” Armstrong says. “You need to have solutions that minimise wear, maximise flow and give you ultimate control to ensure the equipment produces batches to the highest quality.”

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“That’s the reason why Conequip’s suppliers won’t use technology that has not been proven in the industry and been working well in the general marketplace for a long period.”

One brand that Armstrong stands behind is Concrete Equipment Company, Inc (CON-E-CO), which was purchased by Astec Industries in 2020, along with BMH systems. At the time, Barry A. Ruffalo, Chief Executive Officer of Astec said that these highly regarded brands would complement Astec’s RexCon brand of concrete products.

“By bringing these product lines together, our global customers will have access to the most robust line of concrete products in the infrastructure industry,” Ruffalo said in a recent release. “Both organisations are an excellent cultural fit with Astec, as they are customer focused, innovative and performance-oriented.”

Armstrong agrees, having worked with Astec’s equipment for most of his career. As director of Conequip, he helps to distribute concrete production plants and equipment from BMH Systems, CON-E-CO and RexCon to the Asia Pacific region.

One of the things he highlights is the fact that CON-E-CO continues to run like a family business, staunchly standing behind its products and insists its suppliers have the same focus. Part of this approach is staying in close contact with customers from day one, to become part of their team.

Armstrong says the business doesn’t want to be a supplier that disappears after the order is received, so it remains available, and part of the team throughout commissioning and afterwards, to answer questions or provide support if required. 

“One of our Australian customers told us that they continue to get business because their own operation greatly exceeded their customer expectations,” he says.

“There are some customers that buy a plant and then years later, may move it to another site. We can provide them with assembly drawings, which may have gotten lost over the years, and continue to support them.”

Providing this high level of support are a team of concrete engineering specialists that have experience working within the sector. Conequip prefers to use specialists over generalist engineers, as it allows them to use their experience to focus on finding specific solutions and equipment for industry related problems.

This experience also helps during the installation phase of a project. Armstrong says that for basic truck mix plants, the company have shown that they can take a plant from ship to fully operational in just 48 hours, where others may offer a cheaper quote and take months to commission.

“The price on the quote is not always the end price,” he says. “Our team can get things up and running faster and has a significantly lower cost of ownership, meaning our customers save in the long term.”

This lower cost of ownership can be attributed to Conequip’s focus on reliable design and proven technology.

Armstrong says the range continues to grow, as more advanced technology begins to demonstrate its effectiveness.

“Technology is filtering into the concrete industry in places where you initially might not expect it to. Suppliers are looking at the technology that makes the industry more efficient and safer, but we won’t adopt anything until it has been proven to work.”

“On the plant side of things, we’ve started to implement tablet-based controls for aggregate handling and cloud-based batch systems.  Through BMH, we can offer concrete recyclers to handle returned concrete and wash out from trucks.   We offer moisture probes to identify the moisture level in the aggregates, as well as in some mixers.”

Currently based in New Zealand, Conequip remains ready to supply businesses throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. During Covid lock downs, the business transferred online, with support provided via video conferencing where necessary.  During this time, parts and support have remained been available without interruption.

The company grew during this time and is now busier than ever before as the market begins to bounce back. Armstrong says Conequip is looking to expand its staff to keep up with the demand.

“We’re available 24/7 – my phone is always on and beside me,” he says. “Luckily, because of the nature of the product, that support is rarely required, which is great for us and for our  customers.”

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