Wednesday 8th Jul, 2020

How green is your machine?

Automation, analysis and plant revamps are part of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ push to modernise bulk handling operations and help reduce environmental impact. ABHR learns more.

Automation, analysis and plant revamps are part of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions’ push to modernise bulk handling operations and help reduce environmental impact. ABHR learns more.

With the environmental impact of mining operations coming under increased scrutiny from environmental groups, it is becoming a high priority for mine owners and operators to ensure their plant and equipment are as efficient as possible to reduce emissions.

However, the current economic climate often means replacement of aging equipment with more modern, energy efficient options is not always feasible. As an alternative, companies have begun to look to find ways to modernise their existing operation in a bid to reduce their environmental impact.

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions  is one such company that offers these services to enhance productivity and allow natural resources to be used responsibly and efficiently.

It aims to do this by allowing clients to get the most from their existing infrastructure as part of its ‘360 service’ approach. By providing plant and equipment servicing, technical and safety inspections, automation, optimisation and revamps, thyssenkrupp helps modernise plants and reduce energy costs as a result.

Modernising mines

As part of thyssenkrupp’s suite of services to modernise plants, it can provide technical inspections and audits to detect and eliminate problems before damage can occur. In addition, it provides a comprehensive overview of the condition of existing plant and equipment and can give individual recommendations to increase the efficiency and availability of machines and components.

Scott Clenaghan, National Manager – Business Development at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) says the technological advancement of industrial drones has allowed for inspections of a whole new kind, making it easy to inspect larger areas in a shorter period of time.

“Due to their range and flexibility, industrial drones allow us to reach high and obstructed places, meaning expensive scaffolding or industrial climbers are no longer necessary,” he says.

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thyssenkrupp has a fleet of customisable drones, which can be mounted with different types of sensors as required. Cameras provide optical data to detect structural damage or erosion, and can be used to take high resolution images, videos and 3D scans. It is also possible to use thermal imaging to find thermal losses, pipe congestions, gas leakage points and more.

These data-driven services often act as the starting point for sustainable energy saving measures in plants and machine. Armed with the knowledge gathered through these methods, the operator can make better decisions about how to improve the plant.

Automation has become key to improving the safety and efficiency of mine sites around the world, with technologies that can be applied on different scales as required, from single machine to a fully automated site.

“thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions takes a data-driven approach when it comes to automation,” Clenaghan says.

“Our ‘Evaluate and Predict’ portfolio includes solutions for the monitoring and maintenance of machines, with a focus on increasing efficiency and profitability. Most plants and machines generate vast amounts of data which can be combined with digital and technical competencies and used to create measurable added value.”

For even more insight, thyssenkrupp can provide a 3D Plant Scan to create models and plans of plants that are accurate to within a centimetre. In addition, Internet of Things-capable sensors can allow for remote inspection and condition monitoring, predictive analysis, and digital telematics.

“These solutions help to future proof our customers systems, increasing the productivity and safety of plant and machinery, while reducing operating costs and downtime,” Clenaghan says.

“Digital products also help ensure compliance with safety standards. For example, solutions with integrated collision avoidance functions or sensor solutions that deliver directly measurable cost and productivity benefits.

“These sensors have been specially developed for the tough demands of mining and other industries, and they work efficiently and safely, even under the harshest weather and environmental conditions.”

Revamps and shutdowns

Over time, the demands placed on production can change. As such, thyssenkrupp can provide a full revamp or renovation of a site to include the latest in process technology.

“Ongoing upgrades and modifications ensure customers maintain a competitive advantage through the entire life cycle of their plants and equipment,” Ian Austin, Manager Service Centre at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) says.

“However, time is money and reliable shutdown repairs and support in the event of any unplanned downtime is critical.

“thyssenkrupp’s specialist maintenance services, repairs and revamps can be achieved in specific shutdown schedules and assist in emergency situations through failure identification, ad-hoc repairs and targeted improvements.”

The company often undertakes major shutdown projects throughout Western Australia’s Pilbara region and Australia wide, with jobs ranging from reclaimer bucket wheel change outs to gearbox change outs.

An example of its team in action can be seen when a reclaimer and stacker required maintenance at a mine in Newman, WA. thyssenkrupp’s field services team provided an original equipment manufacturer-based routing solution for its customer.

“Using our own specialist team of technicians in both mechanical and electrical disciplines, coupled with specialist tooling, we can provide expert solutions with consistency in execution and reporting,” Austin says.

“Our team know these machines like no other and perform routine inspections, rotable change outs, repairs, upgrades and structural welding to the highest standards.”

Not every shutdown is planned, so thyssenkrupp also specialises in emergency services. When a customer’s shiploader required an emergency slew bearing replacement, its teams worked day and night to replace the bearing and repair the damage and get the machine back into operation.

“Our client commended our team on the safety controls implemented for the high risk tasks required to have the machine back in operation so quickly,” Austin says.

“Our team can locally engineer and fabricate maintenance equipment to assist with any change out. We also have our specialised tooling and maintenance equipment managed and stored locally in the Pilbara, which allows for a speedy response to planned and breakdown scenarios.”

Centres for service

A global network of service centres providing connected support is what gives thyssenkrupp the resources to provide this holistic support.

According to Austin, these are high-tech workshops, specialising in the complex processing of large wear parts for crushing, grinding, pyro processing and raw materials handling equipment.

“We provide fast, local and comprehensive assistance when it comes to supplying or overhauling strategic spare and wear parts,” Austin says.

“We also offer field service support, technical assistance, maintenance, inspections and further services as well as a fully equipped heavy equipment workshop with heavy machining and fabrication capabilities.”

The company has three such service centres in Australia, all fully equipped with supply chain backing, engineering support, and site service and installation capabilities.

Two of the service centres are located in Western Australia – one in Henderson, near Perth and the other in Wedgefield, Port Hedland – each provides more than 2000 square metres of dedicated space for multiple workshops and heavy industrial equipment. The Wedgefield site has the added benefit of maintaining a fully mobile workshop, consisting of boilermaker trucks, and a mobile workshop container. The Wedgefield facility also has a dedicated machine for manufacturing Integrated Rail Joints for its customers privately owned rail networks.

The most recent addition to the company’s service capacity was the Brisbane Service Centre, opened in May 2019. The operation has a full range of functions dedicated to the East Coast and Oceania market including project management and delivery, technical and engineering support, spare parts management including warehousing and field service technicians.

It has already proved central to a number of projects, including the planned shutdown of a shiploader to replace shuttle bogies and rails. thyssenkrupp provided everything  for the job, from engineering specialists to shutdown facilities,  labour and materials.

Works involved air-arc gouging of 160 metres of fully-welded inverted rails, which required the erection of a 16-metre high, 40-metre long, 10-metre wide scaffold access platform. Following the removal of the old rails and bogies, the entire shuttle rail section was encapsulated for abrasive blasting and painting.

A jacking assembly with two, 250-tonne, hydraulic cylinders was installed on the bridge structure to lift the rear of the shuttle clear for the removal and installation of the replacement bogie.

The new rail sections were thermite welded and trimmed to length on the ground before two cranes lifted the full-length rail onto the support jig, where it was fastened to the underside of the shuttle for installation.

“During the shutdown, the site received more than 150 millimetres of rain across the two days. Further, when the rail was removed, inspectors discovered significant stress fractures in the shuttle structure parent metal,” David Pickerill, Manager East Coast Services at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (Australia) says.

“The client requested thyssenkrupp repair all cracks, validated by non-destructive testing, before 276 new rail clips were installed. The job was completed on time, with the client extremely satisfied with the results.

“The investment made by thyssenkrupp in its East Coast setup over the past two years has been well received by the market and the operation is expanding to match market demand.”