Monday 13th Jul, 2020

Schenck Process installs Australian-first TEDO tube conveyor

Schenck Process Australia has installed one of Australia’s first tube conveyor systems as part of an alternative system for an east coast cement plant.

Schenck Process Australia has installed one of Australia’s first tube conveyor systems as part of an alternative system for an east coast cement plant.

To manufacture cement, specialised kilns are used to reach extreme temperatures.

High carbon fuels such as coal, heavy fuel oil, or gas are often used to fuel these kilns. However, as more companies look to improve sustainability in their operations, alternative fuels are becoming more popular.

These fuels are often materials that would have otherwise been sent to landfill, including tyres, paper and packaging, sawdust or shredded plastic. Many of these fuels have bulk densities that are only 10 to 20 per cent of a primary fuel, meaning a large volume needs to be transported, stored and metred.

Raja Ratnam, General Manager of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Schenck Process Australia, explains the company has seen a rise in popularity with alternative fuel systems and has designed, supplied, installed and commissioned an Australian-first tube conveyor for the application.

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“Schenck Process’s extensive record in delivering these systems to other worldwide locations and the capability to supply the entire process was key to the successful tender in Australia,” he says.

“We are a global technology company, which means we are able to draw on a diverse range of expertise. This is then combined with our local teams’ understanding of the regulations and requirements for certain projects.”

Schenck Process operates technology centres around the globe. The company’s experts in the Czech Republic specialise in alternative fuel systems and have extensive international experience in providing alternative and biomass fuel feed systems. The company has installed a number of systems for public and private clients in the US, Europe and the UK, including Yorkshire’s Drax Power Station.

The company’s Australian team helped their European counterparts during the design phase, ensuring that all of the local regulations were met, especially when it came to operations and maintenance. The plant was then manufactured and shipped to Australia, where Schenck Process’s local team oversaw the installation.

Mr Ratnam says Schenck Process is prepared to deliver complete plants, including engineering and steel works as part of a turnkey package.

“In addition, we own a test field where new developments can be tested, new materials can be checked for flow behaviour and Schenck Process equipment can be seen in operation,” he says.

Material is loaded onto a tube conveyor the same way it is in a conventional system, but as it travels, special devices close the belt carrying the conveyed material. The belt forms a closed pipe over the entire conveying distance, where it then opens automatically before the discharge point is reached.

Mr Ratnam says this is one of the first tube conveyors in the country, selected for its ability to contain and transport light loads.

“Refuse derived fuel isn’t homogenous. There’s a lot of variance that can arise in the consistency of the material, so the material handling system needs the flexibility to manage this while also being low maintenance,” he says.

“Tube conveyors have no pinch points so the material can’t cause hang ups or blockages. The environment is protected against any material being lost and can handle both horizontal and vertical curves.”

The tube belt installed in the plant lifts the feed almost 70 metres on a 30-degree angle to be processed through a screw weight feeder. This helps the system prevent surges and regulates the flow of fuel product. Material is then delivered to the site’s calciner, which operates at temperatures of above 850°C.

Weighing equipment is a key component in the control system of the plant as it controls the belt speed and the speeds of the upstream feed conveyors. This ensures a constant loading, a basic requirement for high-accuracy weighing of a flow of material.

Schenck Process ensures the metering systems included in its alternative fuel systems are designed for widely varying materials and designs the plants to be protected from foreign body damage as well as blockages.

Mr Ratnam says Schenck Process has a responsibility to take care of their customer’s needs and is investing into new technologies to improve this support.

“Moving forward, we’re looking to embrace more digital technologies and provide additional insights for conveyor operators,” he says.

“Schenck Process wants to bring the technology that has been proven internationally to Australian shores, providing local businesses with the support of an OEM that understands their needs.”