The Kawartha Lakes-based Quarry Bay Stone turned to Komatsu equipment to open a new armour stone operation
By Bill Tremblay
When Bryan Shipp, Allan Hancock and Kevin Kingsbury set out to create Quarry Bay Stone Corporation, they wanted to create a different image than what’s typically expected from a quarry.
Rather than the usual harsh quarry grounds, Shipp, Kingsbury and Hancock are creating an inviting entrance and showgrounds to their armour stone operation, which will be open to the public.
The 45-hectare site, in Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, will feature several displays of landscaping designs, using the quarry’s armour stone, to help inspire property owners looking to refresh their grounds.
“We want it to look like a provincial park when people drive in here,” Shipp said. “We don’t want folks to come and feel intimidated. We want them to feel that the environment is inviting.”
And when they started to develop the site this fall, they had a blank canvas to work with.
“It was virgin when we arrived. We really started from scratch on this,” Shipp said.
Matching machines to task
Before Quarry Bay Stone could begin development, they approached Equipment Sales and Service (ESS) to help form a heavy equipment game plan.
“Armour stone is rough duty for machines. We wanted to be comfortable that we’re getting the right size, and the equipment is able to take the right load,” Shipp said.
“We approached ESS and explained the situation. They were fantastic in terms of giving us options and finding the right equipment.”
After consulting with ESS, Quarry Bay Stone purchased a Komatsu PC-200LC-8 excavator, a WA250PZ-6 wheel loader and a PC35MR-5 mini excavator.
“When you see a new startup, you figure out angles to help people get moving,” said Shawn Auld, a salesperson with Equipment Sales and Service.
One of those angles was financing for a new company.
“Being a startup, money is always an issue. They came to us with some good options for financing, which is critical for a new business,” Shipp said.
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In the quarry, the PC-200 works the face and pulls the rock. The WA250PZ-6, equipped with forks, then moves the armour stone slabs into Quarry Bay Stone’s inventory yard.
“After we get the stone out, we put the bucket back on the wheel loader and clean up the rubble,” Shipp said.
The PC35MR-5 mini-excavator is equipped with a thumb to select smaller, decorative landscaping stones.
“It’s agile enough that you can pick and place stones right onto the skid,” Shipp said. “There’s a significant component of our market that is smaller stone.”
The PC-200 is powered by a six cylinder, 155 hp Komatsu engine.
The machine delivers hydraulic flow of 439 litres per minute, as well as 49,907 foot pounds of swing torque.
In order to handle extracting the slabs of armour stone, the PC-200 is also equipped with a 5,500 kg counterweight, bringing its total weight up to more than 24,000 kg.
“It’s heavier than most standard 200s, it’s probably the most purpose-built for what these guys are doing with the stick configurations,” Auld said. “As far as a 200-class excavator, it’s the heaviest they’re going to find.”
The added weight on the PC-200 allowed Quarry Bay Stone to avoid having to immediately move into a bigger machine.
“Most guys would immediately step into a 36-ton class to do this. But they’re saving about 15 litres an hour by not jumping into a higher class. That’s a whack of money,” Auld said.
Marty Fairfield, the first employee hired by Quarry Bay Stone, is tasked with removing stone from the rock face using the PC-200. He noted the power and fuel efficiency of the PC-200 are impressive.
“I’ve had the opportunity to run a lot of different equipment for 25 years. What these machines will do has exceeded my expectations,” Fairfield said.
“They’re very operator friendly, they’ve done a fantastic job.”
He added the cab of the excavator delivers more than enough comfort to tackle a 12-hour work day.
“When you get out, you’re happy at the end of the day and you’re not hurting. That’s a big factor,” Fairfield said. “I love coming in and running this equipment.”
The counterweight on the PC-200 also helps ensure a comfortable working environment.
“If the weight isn’t there or the balance isn’t there properly, you’re beating yourself up and you’re beating that machine very hard,” Fairfield said. “I can pick stones out of there with ease with this machine.”
Before the three Komatsu machines were able to go to work pulling stone, Quarry Bay Stone used the equipment to build the road leading into its outdoor showroom and the quarry itself.
As well, they removed the topsoil, which ranged from a few centimetres to more than a metre in depth, to expose the rock face.
“We spent a lot more time opening this than might be traditional in an amour stone application,” Shipp said.
The quarry license requires Quarry Bay Stone to stay above the water table, as well as conduct progressive rehabilitation as they mine the more than 9-metre-deep armour stone.
“When we looked at the length of this escarpment, it made sense to get the top soil moved now and onto a berm. And then as we pull and get down to our depth, we’re ready for our rehabilitation right away,” Shipp said.
The company plans to start moving stone out of the quarry this month.
“Our primary channel this winter is putting stone into wholesalers or companies that cut stone,” Shipp said. “We already have a couple pieces out for test cutting.”