A comprehensive refurbishment on an FLSmidth stacker reclaimer in South Africa is preparing this giant machine for another decade of sustainable productivity.
“As OEM and intellectual property owner, FLSmidth is undertaking the mid-life refurbishment of a stacker reclaimer and tripper car for a customer in a large iron ore application,” says Buks Roodt, Director of Mining Site Sales at FLSmidth. “The extensive work programme is being conducted over two shutdown periods – one in 2019 and another one this year.”
The 2019 scope of work was carried out over three weeks, followed by commissioning and handover. After site access was authorised, the bucket wheel structure and component arrived on site and secondary structural steel fabrication was also completed timeously and delivered.
According to Gunther Guse, Manager of Mining Site Salesat FLSmidth, structural integrity repairs were carried out alongside large-scale corrosion protection. To ensure life expectancy and maintain reliability, a range of components and systems were refurbished. These included items that would normally only be exposed to standard maintenance practices and services. The integrity of electrical components was also renewed.
In addition to the bucket wheel fabrication and replacement, the full programme scope included refurbishing the long travel drive assembly, rail clamps and end buffer, as well as the hydraulic system, lubrication system and water hose reeler. Bucket wheel boom stay ropes were replaced, and the spillage conveyor was redesigned, fabricated and installed.
“An important aspect of this refurbishment contract is the installation of technological improvements,” says Guse. “Our continuous improvement process at FLSmidth leads to the introduction of components that are more energy efficient, for instance, or allow greater ease of maintenance. We are incorporating these advancements as part of the scope, reducing the client’s cost per tonne loaded.”
These upgrades, when combined with regular maintenance, can also enhance the machine’s life expectancy, extending its longevity even beyond the initial design life of about 30 years. Guse highlights that FLSmidth’s extensive capability in three engineering disciplines is being brought to bear in the project. This expertise covers mechanical, structural and electrical, control and instrumentation engineering.
On the mechanical side, the work includes components and systems such as the open gear systems, gearboxes and hydraulic systems, as well as rotating and moving parts such as trunnions and car-clamps. Structural work includes wear liners, supporting structures and areas of possible structural damage. Also, maintenance detection is undertaken including non-destructive testing for fatigue fracturing. This is done in areas where access to certain structures is not normally possible while equipment is in service.
The electrical, control and instrumentation work includes panels and drives that are approaching the ends of their useful lives. As part of the scope, variable speed drives, motor control centres and the E-house will be refurbished. Where any equipment had become obsolete, newer technologies will be incorporated.
“Our FLSmidth site engineering team had initially conducted a detailed site condition assessment,” he says. “We documented all our findings in three inspection reports – one for each discipline. These findings were used as the basis for the client’s final project scope.”
Roodt emphasises the relationship of trust between customer and OEM, which is vital to mitigate risk and ensure quality performance within demanding deadlines.
“As the OEM, FLSmidth was able to offer our premium technologies and our leading process know-how and services,” he says. “The customer could also rest assured with their direct access to the designers of the OEM equipment.”
A global track record of safe working practices while complying to the project timelines also contributes to minimised risk and smooth implementation, competitively. The scope of work during the customer’s 2019 shutdown was completed without incident or any lost time injuries.
“The customer also valued FLSmidth’s commitment to B-BBEE, supplier development and integration with the local community,” Roodt says.
The second phase of the refurbishment is planned to be carried out in the third quarter of 2020, says Guse.
“We are known for our expertise in large-scope upgrades, refurbishments and retrofit projects,” he says. “This gives customers confidence in our methodology, risk assessment, engineering support and analysis. We are also experienced in project planning, scheduling and implementation, combined with quality assurance and control, commissioning and close-out.”
FLSmidth also assays iron ore for customers and has designed and built fully automated, robotic on-site laboratories. According to Martin Matthysen, Director of Sampling, Preparation and Analysis – Mining at FLSmidth, the company independently operates and maintains sampling systems on behalf of customers.