The D61PXi dozer is ’amazing’
Bob Hall has made a career out of crushing rocks for people. After high school, he held several jobs handling this type of work around the state of Idaho. Finally, in 1989, he decided to take a shot at running his own operation. Bob bought a portable crusher, called some contacts he’d made in the industry and got started.
“I’d been crushing for a while and was running a crew for a company, so I figured it was time to try it on my own. I guess I wasn’t old enough to know any better,” joked Bob. “It was great at times and a struggle at others, but I made it.”
From day one, H&B Crushing, LLC has been a family operation. Bob’s first “employee” was his oldest son, Robert Jr. (B.J.), who was 10 at the time. His youngest son, Jeff, joined eight years later when he turned 10.
“Jeff and B.J. both had a passion for this business from a young age, and now it’s in their blood,” shared Bob. “They were always playing around on equipment. We’d have customers stop by, and they’d get a kick out of seeing two kids working.”
Today, the sons are co-owners along with Bob, and the employee roster now extends beyond the family dinner table. The Kuna-based firm has 47 employees and operates a wash plant as well as three mobile crushing plants throughout Idaho. H&B Crushing focuses on gravel and aggregate for concrete and asphalt production.
“We mainly work for a handful of customers who we have a good relationship with,” noted Bob. “As long as they want us to crush something gray, we’re happy to do it. Our specialty is gravel, but our products are used in pipe bedding, landscaping, road base and sub base.”
Bob says there is no secret to the growth of H&B Crushing, which produces nearly two million tons of material annually; he simply concentrates on making a quality product.
“Our customers give us a spec, and we stick to it,” said Bob. “We are dedicated to quality; that’s what made us successful. We don’t sacrifice quality for production. We constantly monitor the material. If we fall off spec, we stop and get it right. A company’s word and reputation are what set it apart in this industry, and we take pride in both.”
While 90 percent of the company’s business revolves around crushing, it has evolved slightly to include other related services, mostly site development at the pits and quarries to which they are contracted.
“We do all of our crushing on site,” detailed Bob. “In the past, we primarily went in, stripped the material and created a product. Eventually, customers asked if we could do other things at the site, like filling in a spot, building a pad and handling some of the finish work. It makes a lot of sense. By having us do everything, it saves our customers time and money, and it guarantees us more business. It’s a win-win.”
Reclamation projects at crushing sites are commonplace for H&B Crushing. The company dewaters the area before mining the aggregate, which creates a sizable hole. Instead of leaving these areas unfinished, customers are now looking to turn them into man-made ponds.
H&B recently crafted a 49-acre pond that will serve as the center of a residential community. Crews excavated the 20-foot-deep pond, landscaped the shoreline and built 10 housing pads at the site.
“We’re fortunate that our customers are happy with us and trust us to do things like this,” said Bob. “It’s a very efficient way of operating, and it’s a fun challenge.”
Crushing with Modern
When H&B Crushing needs equipment, it calls Modern Machinery and Territory Manager Jared Johnson. Bob knows he can trust both to get him the right equipment.
“Jared and Modern have supplied us with the tools we need for our business,” shared Bob. “In this industry, you need somebody to help you succeed, and we have that with Modern. It’s the best partnership we’ve had.”
The company turns to Modern for its mobile crushing units as well. The Halls have three K300 KPI-JCI mobile cone crushers in addition to stacking conveyors, a double screening plant and sand screw washing plant, all from Modern.
Bob made the switch to KPI-JCI equipment in 2016 after a product demo with Modern.
“We were ready for an upgrade. Jared came to us with the KPI-JCI setup, and we demoed it,” recalled Bob. “The proof is in the pudding; the equipment we get from Modern works. More importantly, Modern stands behind it. When you’re using a machine to break things, eventually the machine is going to break down as well. Modern has been excellent about taking care of any issues we’ve had and helping reduce our downtime.”
H&B Crushing also relies on Jared and Modern for Komatsu construction equipment. The company’s equipment list boasts four Komatsu WA470 wheel loaders, three Komatsu PC360LC excavators, 10 HM300 haul trucks as well as D61 and D65 dozers.
“Komatsu makes great machines,” said Jeff. “The excavators fill haul trucks quickly, and they are very quiet. The trucks get a lot of use hauling material in and out of messy jobsites without an issue. The loaders and dozers are also very dependable.”
The latest addition to the fleet is a Komatsu intelligent Machine Control D61PXi dozer with integrated GPS technology. “The D61i is a valuable tool for us on reclamation projects,” explained B.J. “When we dig ponds, we do them in six-foot cuts or safety benches. We upload the models from the customer and get started. Plug-and-play. We’re on-grade, and we don’t have any masts or cables to deal with. It’s amazing.”
In addition to providing reliable machines, H&B Crushing appreciates the extra benefits that Modern Machinery and Komatsu deliver. Services like KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s telematics program; Komatsu CARE, which includes complimentary service on Tier 4 machines for the first 2,000 hours or three years of operation; and Komatsu Financial have all made H&B Crushing’s day-to-day operation easier.
“These are examples of Komatsu and Modern going above and beyond,” said Bob. “KOMTRAX helped us cut idling time from 37 to 18 percent, in addition to increasing our uptime. We’ve had numerous instances where a Modern technician called about a warning that came up on a machine through KOMTRAX and sent someone to fix it before it became a larger an issue. Komatsu CARE is similar; it helps us be proactive in our maintenance. These services are so beneficial and keep us on top of our fleet, which is hard to do with one as large as ours.
“We’re also big fans of Komatsu Financial,” he continued. “It’s a hassle-free process. We’ve used it for most of our purchases – I can buy a WA470 easier than I can a house. We appreciate that Komatsu and Modern go the extra mile.”
Continuing to rock
While the project list, equipment fleet, employee numbers and customer base have grown throughout the last 28 years, Bob says what matters most to him is that H&B Crushing is a multi-generational family firm.
“It makes me proud that Jeff and B.J. are involved and invested in the business, and that they are as dedicated as I am,” shared Bob. “My sons are good at this and have a strong work ethic. They will have success when I’m gone.”
Even after Bob’s retirement, don’t expect much to change.
“Our motto is ‘let our quality aggregate rock your world,’” said Jeff. “B.J. and I love crushing, and we’re going to continue to do it with the same dedication to quality that we always have. We’re excited about the future.”