The latest Sandvik Construction/Dyno Nobel Quarry Academy was recently held in San Antonio, TX, and continued the excellent work that began in the USA over seven years ago. The Quarry Academy was developed in order to provide information to the quarrying professional concerning improving the total value chain in quarry operations. This continues the Sandvik/Dyno Nobel operational focus of working with quarrying companies to help ensure that world class knowledge is made available, the right products are produced and equipment is made for the right application, all with the features that provide the highest levels of productivity, but the lowest levels of overall operational cost.
The latest Quarry Academy was held at both the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel and at Martin Marietta’s Beckman quarry. Nearly 100 participants from differing backgrounds - ranging from global concerns, large scale and smaller quarrying operations to distributors and sales professionals - came from across North America to learn about the very latest in quarrying, lean processes and safety. The Quarry Academy program was conducted by Sandvik Construction and Dyno Nobel specialists possessing expert knowledge, as well as guest speakers from Volvo, Friedman and South West Research, with all topics being guided by the principle - “Improving processes. Instilling expertise.”
In order to provide integrated coverage, the Quarry Academy program is comprised of two sections, with an initial lecture being given on the concept of the quarrying processes examined. To ensure that attendees get the most from the program, a great deal of thought and planning goes into creating an itinerary that provides the maximum benefit, and is of interest to the assembled quarrying professionals. In addition, the subject matter is reviewed annually using attendee feedback to focus on those areas of most interest to those attending. Thus, specific subjects included lean processes, drilling, blasting, fines and boulder management, load and haul, fleet and transportation issues, crushing and screening, the quarrying process, quarry management and unit operation efficiency. The second component of the program consists of in-depth workshop sessions where the faculty experts discuss specific process improvements in smaller, highly interactive groups. To further enlighten and enhance the learning, Quarry Academy also includes a site visit which, this year, was Martin Marietta’s Beckman quarry where product demonstrations and explanations were given to the attendees.
In addition to a formal program of events and seminars, a special guest speaker, former astronaut Mike Mullane, shared his insights, specifically with regard to operational safety. Mike’s "Countdown to Safety” presentation delivered a powerful message centered on the individual’s role in keeping themselves and their teams safe in hazardous environments. Mike’s talk proved to be inspirational and set the focus for the final day of the program as well as providing the audience with a unique perspective on both space travel and safe operations.
As with previous programs Quarry Academy was successful, as it not only addressed critical processes within the quarry environment, but it also provided focus on the relationship between each processes, how they systematically interact with one another, and how the processes may be linked in order to achieve overall operational improvement. All participants found the Quarry Academy to be highly informative and entertaining as well as enjoyed Sandvik/Dyno Nobel’s excellent evening hospitality.