Producing building materials on site

Rather than sourcing expensive sand and aggregates on building sites, a start-up company on the West Rand has begun a ground breaking new operation that turns spoils and site rubble into valuable building materials for reuse on site.

The aptly named Ground Breakers operation makes use of an ultra-rugged portable scalping and screening machine to separate excavated materials into different sizes or streams such as building sand, building stone, fill, bedding or a range of different sized aggregates as specified by an engineer.

Rather than excavate a site and pay for spoils to be dumped, the dynamic duo of JC Janse van Vuuren and Johan Meintjes have turned this traditional method around and are successfully marketing the concept of processing the spoils on site. In addition to saving on dumping costs, builders have the added benefit of reusing the materials on site and reducing the need for additional aggregates to be procured.

Portable solution

“The newly available Powerscreen Warrior 800 scalping screens from ELB Equipment, is easily transportable and can begin operation in hours of delivery. The aggressive nature of the screening process allows large quantities of materials to be processed quickly and the addition of a scalping deck ensures that oversized rocks, rebar or mesh from the building site are seamlessly separated without impacting production.

“Effectively that means that materials from raw freshly excavated spoils or even demolitions can be put straight through the machine on site without the need for additional crushers and other cumbersome equipment to be brought onto the process. What’s more, it is a high-production machine that is capable of running around the clock for weeks or even months on end to get the job done.

“Our role is simple. We set up an operation on site and process materials at a negotiated rate that is marginal when compared to trucked-in aggregates. This is possible due to the elimination of transport costs and other input costs and it reflects well on the structure’s sustainability as recycling of existing materials is also more environmentally acceptable. It can even assist developers to earn valuable green credits when building environmentally sustainable structures,” says JC.

Improved availability

Partner and technical expert, Johan explains that once the concept of the business was finalized, the process of selecting the right machine was a long one. The focus shifting from the original plan of using second-hand machines, after studies had showed that actual running costs of a new, supported machine would be roughly on par with the new one. In addition, the added flexibility of the new type of machine was preferable as it opened new avenues of business being easy-to-transport machine, scalping capabilities.

“We have long-term goals and needed a machine that can last as long as these plans and adapt to our changing requirements. The Warrior 800 gives us versatility to operate in a quarry on a 24-hour-per-day basis and build up stockpiles and later get transported to a construction site to process other materials. On site it is easy to set up and operate with hydraulic folding tail and side conveyors, rigid feed hopper sides and two speed tracks that can be used to separate up to three streams and stockpile them.

“Both myself and JC are involved in other family operations and from experience I know that the Powerscreen equipment is as reliable as they come. Both of us also have prior experience of ELB Equipment’s aftersales support and know that the machines will be properly supported and allow us the ability to enjoy maximum uptime and throughputs from the new machine.” 

Combined experience

ELB Equipment area sales manager, Wakefield Harding, says the combination of skills of JC who comes from a plant hire and transport background, in combination with Johan who comes from a mainly quarrying background, is the ultimate mix of skills required to run this type of business.

“Both have equipment experience with Johan’s knowledge of materials processing being a key ingredient. JC on the other hand understands the value of effectively operating machines on customers’ sites and this combined experience made for a compelling case to get the finance required to get the start-up company off-the-ground.

“With their operation permanently based on the Blue Platinum Quarry in Lanseria, the operation processes run of mine material into highly saleable sand and stone products. Its high output ability also ensures that the business is able to stockpile materials so that it can be transported to sites as required without impacting the permanent supply stream at Blue Platinum Quarry.

Cream ontop

“This effectively gives them the freedom to run a permanent supply business on the one hand, and to generate extra income from on-site screening on the other. And at the rate they are producing materials at approximately 100 tons per hour it appears that it won’t be long until they are in the market for a second and third machine,” he suggests.

Ground Breakers officially began producing materials in October last year and went into full production in November. During this time the Powerscreen Warrior 800 has already been deployed to other sites where it has been used to clear backlogs and produce saleable building material.

ELB Equipment, Wakefield Harding, Tel: (011) 306 0700, Email:,  Web: