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Mutual Materials inaugurates Besser’s big board Servopac Premier

Besser Co. has completed a decade-plus development of its next generation Servopac block & paver machines, delivering the newest and largest model to Bellevue, Wash.-based Mutual Materials Co., a top independent in concrete or clay masonry and hardscapes production.

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The Servopac Premier is the industry’s first completely U.S. engineered and manufactured machine. It features servo table vibration and can produce units of 1- to 20-in. (25- to 500-mm) height. At a cycle speed of up to six/minute, coupled with quick mold and height changes, the machine provides the speed and production versatility to satisfy market demand.
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Besser engineers designed simple, easy to operate controls for the Premier. The intuitive, touchscreen control has reduced the amount of time required to train Mutual Materials team members on machine operation. The Allen-Bradley package for the Premier features new controls for the board stacker and destacker, along with all wet side operations. In addition to the main console shown here and companion four-panel Allen-Bradley installation, Besser delivered a new hydraulic power unit for the existing walking beam conveyor.
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Unit-checking Op-Smart technology provides real time information about plant operations for addressing immediate production issues and monitoring long-term trends to pinpoint areas for improvement. The Premier machine assures quality production of Mutual Materials’ Old Dominion pavers and companion hardscape offerings, including the Eco-Priora permeable paver system (above left).

The first big board machine designed, engineered and manufactured in the U.S., the Servopac Premier succeeds a European workhorse at Mutual Materials’ Lacey, Wash. paver plant. The new machine as configured for the Lacey line has a 1,400- x 1,050-mm board size; molds 45- to 200-mm (1- to 4.5-in.) high product; features standard servo table (impact) vibration, providing independent frequency and amplitude control; and, attains hourly output up to 3,600 8-in. equivalent block or 4,650 sq. ft. of (10- x 20- x 6-cm) pavers, based on six cycles/minute operation. Anchored by four impact bars, the servo table affords Mutual Materials production crews markedly greater quality control.

Like sister Classic and Select models, the Servopac Premier is equipped for automated height or mold changes in under 15 minutes. Product changeover on the Premier begins with the push of a button, activating pallet moving bars for mold positioning. The Premier runs on Besser or competitor molds. Such versatility is a key consideration at the Lacey plant, where Mutual Materials has built an inventory of 50-plus molds for a hardscape program offered throughout its Pacific Northwest yards and showrooms.

To keep the Servopac big board model producing quality, dense units at an accelerated clip, Besser engineers incorporated a) laser sensors to gauge material volume or levels in the clamshell gate-equipped hopper; b) a hydraulically driven feedbox with proportional control; and, c) a powered agitator to improve material feed to the mold. An intuitive touchscreen control reduces the amount of time required to train new plant employees to run the Premier.

Mutual Materials President Kendall Anderegg underscores the strong support of a Besser team during the machine’s installation over a late-2018 holiday window. Once it was dialed in and running, she adds, the Premier has delivered on targeted productivity improvements.

Concurrent with the paver machinery overhaul, Mutual Materials has opened a showroom in a transitioning neighborhood near downtown Portland, Ore., orienting the facility to an urban customer base. The producer has also scheduled a mid-2019 opening of a South Seattle branch in Tukwila, Wash. The showroom and branch join Mutual Materials’ 17 other such facilities, plus Lacey and sister block and brick operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho Montana and British Columbia.