When we are sightseeing in a town square in Trentino or strolling through one of the region’s old city centres, we may often stop to admire the beauty and quality of the exclusive porphyry stone from the local quarries.
In two of these quarries, Indeco breakers have been entrusted with the delicate task of extracting the precious material. We have come to Fornace, known to the German-speaking community as Braunstein (or “Brown Stone”), 850 m above sea level in Upper Valsugana, about 20 km from Trento, to visit two quarries run by two of the area’s biggest companies - Lorenzi Vito and Porfidi Vicentini Romano.
For 50 years, the Lorenzi family firm has been mining and processing porphyry. As Angelo Lorenzi, one of the owners,
says, back in the '60s, when his father started the firm, everything was done by drill and blast. Now, with the advent of machinery and new technologies, the company has grown, and currently employs 11 people (5 partners and 6 employees). Porphyry quarries used to be mined by tunnelling first at the bottom of the rockface followed by a hole both on the right and on the left, which were completely filled with explosives.
So when the dynamite went off, down would come up to 40 m of porphyry. Practically a whole mountainside.
That is the way things went until the 1970s.
Later, safety regulations, health problems among quarry staff, and the considerable environmental impact caused by the explosions began, with the advent of pneumatic drill rigs, to lead to changes in quarrying techniques; these techniques then underwent a radical upheaval with the introduction of the hydraulic breaker.
Today, the breaker is used for primary demolition of the rockface, producing slabs or small blocks which are first sent for processing and then delivered to customers such as construction warehouses and companies working in the public procurement and flooring industries. The processing waste is reused for in-fill, and for road and railway ballast. Back in the early ‘90s, the Lorenzi family bought their first small Indeco breaker. The results were so excellent, that several more purchases have been made in the meantime.
The latest arrival, two months ago, was an HP 4000 which they are very pleased with, given its excellent productivity and completely normal wear. And whenever more radical servicing is needed, close at hand is the competence and efficiency of Officina Marchi, the local dealership and authorised service centre for several prestigious brands, including Indeco.
Not far away, is where Mauro Vicentini of Porfidi Vicentini Romano & C. snc works. It was his father who started the work of excavating, processing and marketing porphyry - now there are a total of 12 people at the firm, including shareholders and employees. Using hydraulic breakers alone means better productivity than with drill and blast and, incidentally, damages the rock much less, ending up with slabs of a precise size. The company bought its first Indeco breaker 20 years ago - and as time passes, their confidence increases in Indeco’s product quality and in the efficiency of our after-sales assistance provided by Officina Marchi. Given the type of work they do, they have currently chosen an HP 5000 mounted on a CAT 330D excavator. The breaker is so powerful and efficient at extracting the stone for processing that the breaker only needs to be used for a dozen or so hours a week.