Team Mixing Technologies
Tony Reschke, general manager of Team Mixing Technologies (Team Mixing), says his job is the best ever. “I’m a geotechnical engineer by trade, but I love what I do now,” Reschke shares. “We have a dedicated team that develops unique products and we get to work on some of the most cutting-edge projects in the industry. It’s interesting to seeing jobs evolve from concept through design, fabrication and finally, commissioning on-site. Being able to see a product’s full lifecycle is really rewarding.”
Since the early 1990s, Team Mixing has been creating tailored solutions for large-scale mining operations. The British Columbia-based company offers fully automated material handling systems, including high shear colloidal mixers, cemented rock fill plants (CRF), wet or dry mix concrete/shotcrete batch plants, complex pumping, delivery systems and a range of other in-house capabilities backed by a team of talented engineers.
“We were originally part of the Thiessen Team, which was a privately held company, but in 2003 the company was sold to Target Products,” recalls Reschke. “Our model is team manufacturing with a focus on cement mixing and pumping equipment.”
Team Mixing is based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, but the demand for high-tech mining and tunneling products brings the company and its 25 employees around the world. “U.S. operations account for about 75 percent of our business, but we’re often working overseas, as well,” shares Reschke. “We do all of the design, manufacturing and fabrication of our cement mixing products in-house in Canada, but we travel to sites around the world to provide product support and supervision. We have equipment on every continent except for Antarctica.”
Although Team Mixing doesn’t perform installations, Reschke says the company is there to monitor operations and ensure the equipment is running smoothly. Team Mixing provides complete project services from engineering to hands-on training, supported by full CAD documentation, electrical drawings, operation manuals and spare parts.
“We send crews to offer initial support, but we can actually control our machines from our home base in Canada,” he reveals. “We can make adjustments and do live program changes from our office.”
Team Mixing’s project expertise has earned the company a spot on some of the largest global mining and tunneling operations to-date. “We’re involved in the Alaskan Way viaduct replacement tunnel project, which is a massive undertaking,” shares Reschke. “To construct the road tunnel under the city of Seattle the project team is using the world’s largest tunneling machine, which will dig a 17.5 metre wide tunnel. We’re supporting the project with a grout plant, which fills in the voids behind the concrete segments as the tunnel machine digs deeper. In Seattle, you don’t want the ground to settle beneath high-rise buildings, so our efforts are extremely important.”
Team Mixing is also gearing up for a large-scale tunneling project in Turkey. “From Istanbul, this project will connect Europe and Asia,” adds Reschke. “Engineers are planning to tunnel 106 metres below sea level and it’s the highest pressure a slurry type tunneling machine has ever faced. Our mixing plant should arrive in about four weeks and we’ll be training operators on the set up and setting up a communication network.”
From Istanbul to London, Team Mixing is also part of the Crossrail east-west extension of the city’s subway system. “Eight tunneling machines are working on this project and we’re supplying grout for six of the eight, which we’re very proud of,” notes Reschke. “This is the largest infrastructure project in Europe right now.”
Reschke adds that the technology Team Mixing utilizes is actually nothing new. “The colloidal mixer is a British invention that’s about 80 years old,” he says. “We’ve taken it to a whole new level with modern automation and the magnitude of capabilities. We’re affiliated with Colcrete Eurodrill out of the U.K. and our initial designs came out of an arrangement with them.”
Even with the onset of the recession, Reschke says Team Mixing’s business has remained strong. “We haven’t really had a hiccup, because we’re in a niche market,” he adds. “When the economy crashed in 2008 our sales were still skyrocketing. As long as China and other key players continue consuming, there’s always a demand for raw materials and infrastructure additions or improvements.”
Reschke admits Team Mixing’s biggest challenge is finding a pool of young engineers. “We’re only as good as our people,” he says. “We’re hoping to hire more engineers so we can expand, but there’s been a bit of a bottle neck. It’s hard to find people with experience, but we have a core group of employees who’ve been here for a long time and we’re training the next wave. We need to grow as far as manpower.”
Reschke also plans to double the shifts at the company’s fabrication shop. “As we continue to grow, we’ve had to subcontract our fabrication and raw steel work, but I want to bring it back in-house with more Team Mixing people,” he adds.
Reschke continues to take the challenges – the good and bad – while still loving his line of work. For decades, Team Mixing has supported the mining and heavy civil construction industries with expertly engineered support products. With more global expansion on the horizon, Team Mixing Technologies looks to a trusted team and specialized niche for further success.