Australian coal ports are under growing pressure to increase capacity and improve the efficiency of loading ships.

As part of an expansion project at the Hay Point Coal Terminal, 30kms south of Mackay in Queensland, global engineering company Thyssen Krupp is constructing a new coal handling facility that includes a new bucket wheel re-claimer.

A partnering approach between Central Queensland staff from Boom Logistics and Thyssen Krupp engineers recently delivered a new technique for assembling and fitting the re-claimer that reduced construction risks and saved around six weeks of assembly time. This was carried out at a lower cost than the conventional methodology.

The concept was to assemble the entire re-claimer including the bucket wheel and special hydraulic drive system, supplied by Hägglunds, at ground level prior to lifting the entire assembly into the re-claimer slewing deck unit.

“Previously, with this sort of project, the building process would involve the reclaimer being progressively assembled after attaching the frame structure of the 60m long boom to the machine,” explained Peter Chapman of Thyssen Krupp.

“We chose to discuss the process with the experts at Boom Logistics,” said Peter Chapman. The alternative process visualised was one of building the entire re-claimer at ground level and when completed, moving it close to the machine and then lifting it up into position for attaching to the slewing deck.

“After assessing the requirements of the lift, Boom designed a solution and confirmed that the proposed process could be carried out… and, importantly, they had the equipment to do the job,” he added.

“The lift design was a lift and carry process,” said Darren Jones of the Mackay depot of Boom Logistics’ Heavy Haulage Division.

“The 205 tonne reclaimer assembly was sitting on props at a height of just over 2.4m above ground level.

“As can be seen in the accompanying photo, we located our unique low profile prime mover and float under the far end of the boom…and we could do that as the prime mover, adapted from a CLR Mack chassis and powered by a 210hp engine, is only 1.2m in overall height.

“Then, with a lift mechanism on our float we were able to lift the reclaimer’s boom up off the props with the 125 tonne weight of that end of the boom then carried by the float,” explained Darren.

The crew was then able to bring in the full size 550hp Mack Titan prime mover with a specially engineered front mounted drawbar and connect it to the rear end of the float.

With the other end of the re-claimer’s boom ready to be lifted by a Manitowoc 200 tonne ringer crane, all was ready for the lift and carry operation.

With the ringer crane slewing to locate the boom assembly into the re-claimer machine deck, the low profile prime mover – aided by the big Mack – pushed the entire 205 tonne unit forward one metre at a time into final position.

“This is a terrific example of lifting solution innovation which resulted in a range of direct and indirect benefits for our client,” said Jim Carr, Executive General Manager Sales and Marketing at Boom Logistics.

“Firstly, many of the previous construction risks associated with working at heights while assembling the reclaimer boom after installation were removed by assembling the unit on the ground.

“Secondly, the cost of equipment was significantly reduced through the need for only one heavy lift crane in place of two normally required.

“Thirdly, construction time was reduced by approximately six weeks with the associated savings in on site and overhead costs.

“Bringing the project completion time line forward six weeks represents a huge indirect saving in demurrage costs for the fleet of coal carrying ships anchored off Hay Point” added Jim Carr.