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Dandy’s Topsoil use Sandvik screening technology to enhance their UK wide offering

Dandy's topsoil traces its origins to the supply of high quality fruit and vegetables way back to 1826. From these beginnings the business has diversified into many areas, with the development of products for crop cultivation becoming the primary focus for Dandy's. Now under the leadership of MD Adam Dandy, the company supplies topsoil, mulch, sand and gravel, as well as other related materials, throughout the UK. Aiding the business has been the recent investment in Sandvik Construction mobile screening equipment, which has allowed the company to improve the production of core products, further enhancing their product portfolio.

Dandy's Topsoil use Sandvik screening technology to enhance their UK wide offering

Dandy's topsoil traces its origins way back to 1826 when the family business began selling home grown fruit and vegetables from their market stall in Old Chester Market. From these humble beginnings the business has been through many changes of focus, and in recent years the orientation has been very much centred on the production and supply of materials than are used in horticulture. Now catering for both the trade and consumer markets throughout the UK, Dandy's Topsoil is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the UK's highest quality suppliers.

The reasons for Dandy's success in developing products for the horticultural market is easy to see; as the business was originally focused on producing their own fruit and vegetables the diversification into related areas that would boost crop yields made common sense. "We've such a long proud history of growing and selling the finest fruit and vegetables, one of our aims was to ensure that we had the best soils, and composts, so that initially we could maximise our own crop yield, whilst latterly enabling our customers to do the same." Says Managing Director Adam Dandy, who further expands on the focus of the business; "Because we've kept the traditional values of a family run business we make sure that we only employ dedicated, passionate people in order to help us achieve our mission – namely to get our customers to get the most from, and to love their garden."

The best in Britain
Unlike many topsoil suppliers Dandy's is able to draw on the vast experience of producing garden products for commercial and consumer activities that are known to work, due in the main to Dandy's original main interest being crop yield enhancement. This means that Dandy's is now at the forefront of topsoil and compost development thanks to their own in-house soil R&D programme using their own team of experts. Thus in recent years market leading products such as Vegegrow® Topsoil, and Lawnmix® Top Soil for underneath turf and grass seed, have been both developed and launched to great acclaim.

This innovation in product development, in what is considered by many to be a conservative industry, follows on from being at the front end of growing fruit and vegetables; however, that is just part of the story as Adam Dandy explains: "What really sets Dandy's apart is not only the original vested interest in growing crops, but the passion that develops from being almost obsessed with fruit and vegetables. This has been channelled into the business area by developing and selling products that will actually increase yields." Adam also explains that the company has always been at the forefront of new, successful, business practices – "What you have to remember is that Dandy's was the first company to start marketing its topsoil and compost products on line; we have always used what is termed organic materials, and we are one of the few companies to use their own in-house product development teams."

Dandy's Topsoil use Sandvik screening technology to enhance their UK wide offering

Continuous development
In order to stay at the top of the game, and maintain its leading position, Dandy's has invested in developing its own R&D programme. The development of new products is but one part of the story however, as once developed, the production of these products had also to be addressed. It was here that Adam Dandy became aware of the possibilities that would be open to Dandy's through using state of the art mobile screening equipment. "Once the boffins have done their stuff we have to turn the ideas into a marketable product that can be produced. The problem is our R&D people are so clever in coming up with brilliant ideas that sometimes they were hard to translate into products we could produce in large enough quantities to satisfy customer demand."

There was help at hand however; Adam became aware of some of the latest developments in mobile screening, especially those from Sandvik Construction. To this end Adam, together with other key members of the Dandy's team, took a close look at some very interesting pieces of equipment. Adam explains: "We were obviously aware of the possibilities of using modern screening equipment to produce sand, gravel, aggregate, fine topsoil etc, but wondered if they could be used in the produce mulch and bark as well. We realised that these state of the art pieces of kit, with their emphasis on aggregate production, could, with some tweaks, be the answer we had been looking for."

Full scale mobile production
The first port of call for Dandy's was to contact Sandvik Construction, and following on from advice based on Dandy's true requirements, the first piece of equipment looked at, and then acquired, was the Sandvik QA440. This beast of a machine was developed to deliver true static screen productivity in a durable, mobile package, being designed with maximum productivity to the fore, as it incorporates a large feed hopper, a pair of large screen boxes and extended conveyors that afford massive stockpiling capabilities. The operational flexibility of the QA440 is also enhanced by an exceptionally wide range of optional extras: these include vibrating and tipping grids, mild steel hopper liners, and a reversible side conveyor. What made the QA440 really stand apart for Adam was the unique, independent 6 x 1.5m (20' x 5') equivalent Doublescreen box design, which facilitates precision screening, but the huge screening area also enables high volume production. Furthermore, and in order to improve the performance of the QA440 in soil production, an optional shredder box was fitted.

Although 3 way split screens have been used in soil production for many years, the acquisition of the second screener was more surprising, as the Sandvik QE340 is a heavy duty, tracked, self-propelled, open flow screening and stockpiling system. This revolutionary machine was purpose designed for the recycling and quarrying markets, and is based on a sturdy, crusher-type chassis, featuring a hydraulically operated heavy duty hopper, together with a double plated apron feeder. With its adjustable heavy duty screen box and high throw, impressive vibration characteristics ensures the QE340 is capable of delivering results whatever material it encounters. Traditional applications proving ideal for the machine include the screening of heavy overburden at a quarry face, pre-screening and scalping, recycling of construction and landfill waste, and separation of cohesive aggregates. However, due to the large screening area, and open flow nature of the screening process, Adam realised that the QE340 could, if configured to Dandy's requirements, make a massive contribution to soil, mulch, bark and other associated production requirements.

Drawing on the close working relationship that has developed between the two companies, and following consultations and advice from Sandvik, Dandy's QE340 has been specifically configured to facilitate Adam's unique production requirements, with the machine now featuring a set of "fingers" to separate large and difficult materials from the finer constituents. Additionally, the heavy duty nature of the machine allows for contaminated material (such as stones, bricks, large pieces of wood etc) to be fed directly into the QE340 with no need for prior separation. The integrated hydraulic side conveyors are thus able to produce valuable stockpiled products, whilst the material that is either over size, or of no use, simply is separated and is stockpiled off the tail conveyor.

Whatever customers need
The Sandvik supplied screeners have been seamlessly integrated into the Dandy Topsoil operation, and are playing their part in enabling Adam to now supply an even greater variety of materials. Thus the company is now able to provide gardeners, and commercial operations, across the UK, with not just traditional horticultural products such as bark, mulch or topsoil, but also gravel, slate, sand, hard-core, decorative stone, rock salt, coal; in fact any material, to virtually any recognised specification. "The Sandvik screeners are now playing a major role in the Dandy operation; they ensure that we are able to process virtually any material, transform it into a useable product, and supply wherever and whenever it is needed." Commented Adam Dandy, who added: "We haven't lost sight of what our business is about, but our customers can now be supplied with virtually everything they need for their garden, and through the use of equipment such as the Sandvik screeners, and our know-how, we are able to do this." Of the relationship that now exists between Dandy's and Sandvik Construction, Jaime McGlinn, Area Sales Manager stated – "We are proud of the assistance we have been able to provide Adam, and look forward to working with Dandy's Topsoil in the coming years."

For further information, please contact:

Aine Kelly
Marketing Coordinator
Office Phone: +44 (0) 28 855 66123
Fax: +44 (0) 28 855 67007
E-mail: aine.kelly@sandvik.com

Kimberley Page
Senior Marketing Coordinator
Office Phone: +44 (0)1283 818163
Fax: +44 (0)1283 818360
E-mail: kimberley.page@sandvik.com

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