Students in the class of David Washington, Ph.D., an assistant professor of engineering technology at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), recently visited a New Jersey quarry known to be the largest producer of granite in the United States.
The quarry, owned by Tilcon New York Inc, consists of 560 acres surrounding an historic iron ore mine that has been in operation since the days of George Washington. The mine is located in the Mount Hope section of Rockaway Township. The quarry is the largest of its kind on the east coast. The company at that quarry produces aggregate—crushed stone, sand and gravel—used in buildings and roads.
Washington says the visit benefits his students by exposing them to how the industry performs field tests and quality control. An added bonus to the annual excursion, now in its third year, is that Tilcon has offered NJIT students internships and job opportunities. “Student also learn about regulatory agencies, observe the manufacturing process for asphalt, visibly observe rock blasting and crushing stones for concrete construction equipment maintenance and more,” he adds.
Students, who went on the trip, were enthusiastic about the experience. “This class gave me a clearer understanding of the how to produce asphalt and concrete for industry,” says Jeremey Paul, of East Orange, a student in the construction management technology program at NJIT. “The field trip was a beautiful experience for me. I learned about the different processes the raw materials like rock go through before the final product is manufactured.”
His favorite processes to watch included: the blasting of rock, the loading of large trucks to transport material to be crushed, the operation of different types of asphalt plant mix and more.
Ronald Baksh, of Manalapan, another student majoring in construction engineering technology, says he was impressed by the size of the site, its production capacity and the different types and sizes of mobile equipment.
“The operations equipment such as the Allis Grizzly Feeder and Nordberg Gyro- Disc Crusher were remarkable pieces of machinery. The plants computerized operations were far more advanced and sophisticated than what I had previously imagined for a quarry. What was greatly surprising was how well the company was able to maintain the quarry operations to the Department of Environmental Protection standards.
Other students in the class have more comments about the value of this trip and why they like studying this subject. Those students are Carl MacDonald, of Flemington, Mustafa Mahmud, of North Brunswick, John Nawrocik, of East Orange, Adeola Ogundana, of Nigeria, Christian Sammarco, of Woodbridge, Alexandra Uribe, of Berkeley, Raymond Villiers, of East Orange, Christopher Johnson, of Clifton. (For interviews, call Sheryl Weinstein at 973-596-3436.)
Tilcon New York Inc., purchased the Mt. Hope facility in 2001 from Mt. Hope Rock Products. Tilcon has applied innovative operational techniques at the Mt. Hope facility to become the largest producer of granite in the United States and the highest volume, single location producer of bituminous concrete. The facility is considered one of the elite hard rock quarries in the United States. It operates 24 hours daily with a 2,300 TPH crushing plant, three on-site asphalt plants and a soil remediation plant.