Canadian producer upgrades its concrete batching facility

Concrete pipes and precast concrete products are the main specialties of M CON operating in Ontario through their facility in Carp. M CON Products Inc. was established in 1989 in Carp, Ontario, but its roots go back much further, all the way to 1956 when Central Precast Inc. was founded in Ottawa. Central Precast Inc. was established to service the Ottawa and Eastern Ontario areas with high quality precast products. Included were circular maintenance holes, catchbasins and valve chambers. As the City of Ottawa and surrounding areas grew, so did the need for new and innovative sewer infrastructure products, M CON Products Inc. was founded with the aim to provide this fast growing market with high quality products on time and at a competitive price.

When it came time to replace M CON’s aging and under capacity batch plant. M CON reached out to several major suppliers of batch plants. After a thorough review of the proposals for the retrofit of the batching plant that feeds the factory in Carp, including several trips to investigate solutions and suppliers throughout North America and Europe, the management at M CON selected the simple and efficient solution proposed by the MCT Group. MCT’s custom design expertise was clearly demonstrated throughout the preliminary design development. Along with ideas and knowledge acquired from the various plants and factories visited during the process of selection of the suppliers, MCT’s stood above the rest.

3 planetary mixers feed 6 production points

The complex project included the replacement of the combined aggregates and cement tower plant as well as the aggregates receiving hopper and bucket elevator. Along with the 6 new aggregate storage hoppers, two new 180mt split cement silos were also installed. The complex series of screw conveyors has the capacity to feed all four cements into each of the three mixers, this is extremely important when blending of various cements is required to meet the ever stringent design specifications. Also part of the retrofit is the aggregate and cement dosing equipment and the concrete distribution system from the 3 planetary mixers to feed 6 production points.

Further challenges for this project were: the location of the tower in the building layout, the connection with existing supporting framework and civil work. The timeframe for the retrofit, scheduled to be carried out during the winter shutdown of the factory added additional challenges for everyone because of the cold and snowy Ottawa winters.

These types of challenges are the specialty of MCT, and their team approached the project from the beginning with the aim to design a ‘modular’ solution in order to minimize the installation time and the impact of this retrofit on the existing equipment. Immediately following the handshake for the contract in August, a team of engineers went to the site to inspect the plant and the structures to be recovered, to check and survey all the dimensions for the customized design and to organize the installation.

The supply consisted of a new primary receiving hopper to be installed in the existing pit, an 80’ bucket elevator with aggregates dispensing system by rotating conveyor, to the new aggregates storage tower with 6 compartments for approximately 450ton total capacity, with extracting devices consisting of both clamshell gates and extracting conveyor belts. The plant also consists of 2 aggregates and 3 cement weigh scales with a combination of screws and conveyors to supply the 3 planetary mixers. Concrete holding hoppers at each of the mixer discharge gates and a series of conveyor belts were used to supply concrete to all the production machines. Included in the project, the replacement of the access stair tower to the top of the aggregates storage and the complete new cladding of the tower, which supporting structure are integrated in the plant itself. As typical for MCT, all the structures and aggregates storage panels are hot dip galvanized.


Aggregates tower one of the masterpieces

The aggregates tower in particular is one of the masterpieces of MCT’s design, with 50 years of experience in this field and hundreds of tower plants installed on every continent. The modular design, uniquely developed in the MCT technical departments over 30 years ago, allows the installation of the panels modules entirely on the ground, with minimal use of lifting equipment and in the safest way for the workers. The modules are then coupled very quickly at no more than 3m from the ground level, so to have the complete ‘cube’ pre-installed on ground, and ready for the lift in its final positioning on the top of the lower structures with the need of important cranes only for one day. The smart coupling with the lower structure is performed by a pin system, which secures the installation in place for the whole aggregates storage module (in this case at M CON a lift of approx. 50 tons) very quick and safe.

Additionally, all of the tower accessories are pre-installed at the MCT factory first (where they are already wired and tested) including the aggregate dispensing system on the top of the tower, with switchboards and conveyors.

After the ‘big lift’ is completed, only the major power feeding connections have to be performed and the whole system is now ready for commissioning.

The cladding panels as well are pre-installed on the tower plant module while on ground before the lifting, leaving only some roof panels and trim pieces to be installed on the top of the plant when installed in place. This minimizes the issues of installing the cladding panels at high elevations, which in environments such as Ontario during wintertime is a huge added value in the installation schedule.

Basically all the work required in the installation of the MCT towers is then planned to be performed on ground, minimizing all the activities at the elevations of these modules (usually over 25m or 80’) to ensure the optimal and safe working environment for every phase of the installation, as well as the quickest possible time for the plant commissioning.


MCT’s innovative design solution

The retrofit project also included the replacement of the automation control system for the whole plant. As part of the complete package offered by MCT, the customized development of the control system was another key component of the project. The MCT ‘Compumat’ platform integrates both the batch plant and concrete distribution in the same control system and this special system developed for M CON is composed of a central ‘server’ station located in the central production office and 6 ‘satellite’ stations located at the production machines. This layout allows the operators working on the production lines to deal with their portion of the control themselves, performing the concrete calls and all the operations from their station. The central reporting platform then collects all the process information and stores the data in the ‘server’ station, which is also a supervision spot connected live with all its ‘satellites’.

The automatic aggregates and cement loading systems have their independent control automations operated by a touchscreen interface and always connected with the central batching system.

“MCT brought an innovative design solution, which satisfied our complex operation. The overall design is robust, including the structure itself, galvanized steel used throughout and top electrical components”, comments John Mion, Vice President of M CON.

“MCT assembly and installation crews were very knowledgeable and experienced. As expected during a retrofit project, there were unforeseen challenges that arose. The MCT crews were able to make modifications and decisions on site to keep the project moving along.

The sales and ownership of MCT were always in contact for support throughout the project. Through smart design, the retrofit enabled us to increase our aggregate storage creating efficiencies in the overall production process. It also eliminated the need for aggregate storage bins we had on the ground outside the plant.”

“This is another key plant in Canada”, says Eng. Alessandro DiCesare, MCT General Manager for North America. “The nature of this project is the perfect platform for MCT to create a strong partnership with our customer, who becomes a crucial player in our team to develop new solutions based on the challenges presented by his requirements. We at MCT encourage and support these challenges, working to adapt our experience and solutions to the customer’s needs, not the other way around. This ensures long lasting relationships with our clients, and in this case we are very pleased and proud to work with the Mion family.”

Once again, the MCT customized design skills both for hardware and software ensured a successful project, carried out under important critical requirements such as: design challenges, location of the project, scheduling and organizing of special lifting equipment in addition to the timeframe and duration of the project during the cold winter season.

M CON Products, Inc.
2150 Richardson Side Road,
ON K0A 1L0
Carp/Canada" >
MCT Italy S.r.l.
Via Perugia 105
06084 Bettona (Perugia)/Italy
+39 075 988551" >

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