Aggregate Industry Case Study: LafargeHolcim Group: Aggregate Industries, Torr Works Quarry

“We got one in the workshop, and it is working REALLY well”

Calum Barnett – Interim Mechanical Maintenance Manager.

About the customer

Aggregate Industries is a proud member of the LafargeHolcim Group, which is the leading global building materials and solutions company with around 70,000 employees in over 80 countries.

Aggregate Industries produce and supply an array of construction materials including everything from aggregates, asphalt, ready-mix concrete and precast concrete products. Additionally, they produce, import and supply construction materials, export aggregates and offer national road surfacing and contracting services. They operate 200 sites and employ around 3,700 people.

Project Background

Torr Works Quarry is one of Aggregate Industries’ largest quarries in the UK. At the time we assisted the site, Torr Works Quarry was producing approximately 5.6million tonnes of aggregate products a year. This was filling 50 mega trains a week with 30 wagons on each train. Considering the size and output of the site, it meant that even a small of amount of production downtime could result in vast financial losses.

The quarry was suffering with moisture in the airlines in numerous places at the site. For instance, the pneumatic hand tools and plasma cutting machine in the workshop were receiving extensive damage from liquid water in the compressed air lines. As a result, pneumatic hand tools would have to be frequently replaced along with various components like the tips from the plasma cutting machines. This was resulting in unnecessary equipment wastage, avoidable costs, and production downtime.

In the winter months, issues with moisture would intensify and cause further problems at the site because the liquid water would freeze causing ice blockages in the lines which proved difficult to rectify because the addition of antifreeze lube oil (to get rid of the ice blockage) adds yet another damaging liquid to the lines.

Why did Aggregate Industries choose Expel?

The site was looking to install a refrigerant dryer for one of the workshops where the most pressing issues with moisture were occurring with the aim of protecting the pneumatic hand tools and plasma cutting machine. However, refrigerant dryers are expensive to buy, run and maintain. Additionally, the team were aware of the limitations of a refrigerant dryer when exposed the particularly warm or cold conditions and knew that a refrigerant dryer would only offer limited help the problem, but it would not solve it. Furthermore, other areas of the quarry which require compressed air are a long distance from the compressor house. This means that even if a refrigerant dryer were to be installed, the site would always run the risk of having moisture occur at other points down the lines where the dew point differs like where the solenoid valves in the screening area and on the wash plant by the site’s crusher.

Considering both the limitations of a dryer and hefty price tag it carries, Interim Mechanical Maintenance Manager Calum Barnett wanted to explore more effective solutions to completely remove the source of the problem.

Expel offers a revolutionary approach to compressed air filtration. It uses Computational Fluid Dynamics to instantly expel the liquids and particulates that enter the unit instead of retaining them, meaning the performance of Expel never drops below 99.999% efficiency.  This contrasts with traditional compressed air filters because ordinarily they contain saturable internal elements that become less and less effective as they are used. Expel does not require any replacement internal elements and is virtually maintenance free. A lot of customers in the aggregate industry have found Expel is so effective that it has saved many our customers from having to buy and run refrigerant dryers. The Interim Mechanical Maintenance Manager was no different in experiencing these remarkable results…

Calum Barnett immediately recognised the benefit of the Expel units. He knew Expel could positively impact the site in ways that other filtration products couldn’t compare to. After installing Expel, Callum was so impressed with the results that he has meticulously logged the improvements and results that the site has had thanks to Expel so that he can share this information with other sites and colleagues to keep Aggregate Industries’ sites as efficient as possible.


Reduced Wastage

Reduces Costs

Reduced Downtime

Increased Productivity


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