Carolina Sand, Inc. is a dredging company that is based out of Lenoir, NC. The owner, Wayne Cassavaugh, is a self-taught engineer who was one of those kids that was mechanically inclined from a very young age. Not only did Wayne help his brother fix a car when they were in elementary school, he was also in the racecar industry for a number of years. The hands on experience, as well as knowledge that Wayne inherited from his father and grandfather, played an important role in helping to foster his passion for engineering.
In 1999 Wayne purchased the sand end of a concrete company’s business. The purchased equipment was old and rusty, and in desperate need of repairs. During the process of fixing the dredging equipment, Wayne found ways to do things better. Once the company had a good stockpile of sand, the old dredging equipment was scrapped, and Wayne started the reengineering process of a new dredge and process plant.
Using a gearbox within the dredging system was the preferred method; however, the company needed a quicker solution so they went with a Poly Chain belt drive. The advantage of a gearbox was the pulley distance, because of the 2.5:1 ratio that was being used. This meant that the engine would need to sit up over the top of the pump pulley. As a result, the engine was raised 8” so the pulleys would clear each other. When they loaded it back down with the gearbox in place, the engine was approximately 8” lower than the dredge.
The first redesigned dredge utilized a coupling to marry the gearbox and clutch together. Several years of constant use caused the splines to wear and slip. Rj Link had a direct drive solution that was being used in a snow blower application. Wayne explained that they came up with another whole assembly where Rj Link used the concept from the snowblower application and made it available for their dredging application. This new gearbox solution allowed for the output shaft from the gearbox to connect directly to the clutch, which eliminated the need for the coupling. Wayne stated, “The dredge has been running for four years, and we haven’t had any trouble with it. The new gearbox that Rj Link offered was definitely a better design.”
The process plant that Wayne Cassavaugh engineered stands out as one of the only plants that can handle the amount of water being pumped through it. The process consists of pumping several thousand gallons of water a minute, discharging with a 24 ft. pipe out of the plant and into a sediment pond. Approximately 30% of what is being pumped consists of solids. A screen is used to separate the sand from the rocks and trash that comes out of the river. The sand is primarily used for asphalt and concrete, and the by-product that comes out of the settling pond is some of the best top soil that you will find anywhere.