Aggrecon

CALCULATED RISKS TURNED THIS KIEL, WIS., FARM INTO A THRIVING QUARRY OPERATION

September 12, 2017

“Komatsu makes such a solid product”

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Farmers understand that getting land to produce the highest yields is the key to financial success. Tod Pauly also knows this, which is why he decided not to plant any crops on the farm he bought from his father in 1986. He realized the real treasure lay beneath the surface of the Kiel, Wis., farm.

“I looked at the well logs for the property and quickly saw that I was sitting on something more valuable than cropland,” recalled Pauly, who is President of Aggrecon Ltd. “We were cheese makers, but also had a concrete company at the time. I thought it would be a good move to utilize this property the right way and turn it into a cement plant to take advantage of all the stone on the site, and my father was on-board.”

In 1998, Pauly made another decision that helped maximize profitability when he started a quarry operation to develop high-spec materials primarily for asphalt road base.

So, how exactly does one go from making cheese to selling aggregate? “Vertical integration,” suggested Pauly. “It was a happy accident. We changed our philosophy on crushing to get into specific, tighter product specifications. Soon after, construction began on Interstate 43, and we had a lot of rock to sell. It wasn’t some grand plan, we just stumbled into it.”

While the initial spark may have happened by accident, the sustained growth and success of Aggrecon is a result of quality control and hard work.

“We put a lot of effort into controlling the gradations of our mix designs,” noted Pauly. “We take pride in our products and our relationships with customers. The days of creating huge stockpiles and waiting for buyers are over, so it is imperative to have strong connections with large distributors and meet their needs quickly when they want material.”

Thanks to a consistently high-quality product and connections with nearby Manitowoc County companies such as Northeast Asphalt and Carew Concrete, Aggrecon has remained busy with a staff of 11 employees.

Rebuilt for success

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When Pauly was looking for a new wheel loader for his business last year, he wanted a low-priced, large machine that could handle the harsh conditions that come with the quarry application. When he reached out to Roland Machinery’s DePere branch about a second-life machine, he got the answer he was looking for, so to speak.

“I called Roland to price a rebuild for two of my loaders that were other brands,” recalled Pauly. “The numbers didn’t work out, so they suggested purchasing a used Komatsu WA600 to rebuild. I trust Roland, so I gave it a shot. The result was a good-as-new machine for half the cost, so I’m glad I did!”

Roland Product Support Sales Rep Brad Treml, Parts and Service Manager Scott Wilson and Director of Product Support Brett Anderson located a used WA600-6 wheel loader with 24,000 hours at Roland’s Portage, Ind., branch. When the machine arrived in Wisconsin, Roland began the 90-day rebuild process. It replaced the engine, transmission, torque converter and hydraulic pumps with Komatsu-certified OEM parts; rebuilt the axles and differentials; re-sealed and repaired the cylinders; re-hosed the machine; provided warranties; and topped it off with a fresh coat of paint and decals.

“Had they just dropped it off, I would have thought it was a new machine,” admitted Pauly. “I was confident in the process. The cost-per-hour numbers were substantially better with the WA600 than any other machine we looked at. Komatsu makes such a solid product; the magnitude of the WA600’s construction is outstanding – it was built for this.”

Pauly put the wheel loader right to work in the quarry at the end of April, and it quickly became the company’s go-to machine.

“The only issues we’ve had with it are that it’s too quiet, and we can haul a lot more in one pass than we could with our older loaders,” joked Pauly. “Roland did great work, and our customers took notice. They thought we bought a new machine because of the paint job.”

Komatsu trust

Pauly’s decision to seek Roland’s input on his search was intentional. He has trusted the DePere branch to service all of his equipment for the last five years; it’s a relationship he values.

“It’s hard to find mechanics who are trained on all of the latest equipment on the market today, but I know what I’m going to get with Roland,” noted Pauly. “They have a proven track record, and they are going to do a great job. It has really improved our operation.”

Because of Pauly’s history with Roland, Komatsu machines are becoming more common at the Aggrecon quarry. The company owns an HM400 articulated truck and rents a second one. Pauly envisions more pieces at the site in the future. “With the success we’ve had with the WA600 and our HM400s, it’s safe to say Komatsu is on our list,” said Pauly. “The Komatsu machines are terrific, but what puts them over the top is Roland’s service. It’s a super combination.”