Electrical switching & drive systems & components


Total drive solution for iron ore project

Second Quarter 2021 Electrical switching & drive systems & components

Bauer Geared Motors recently delivered a total drive solution including five large-sized 750 kW industrial gearboxes and two 185 kW units for the Tippler upgrade project at the Saldanha Iron Ore Export Plant. Weighing up to 15 tons each, the 750 kW gearboxes are the largest machines ever supplied by Bauer to date. The full scope of supply from Bauer includes industrial gearboxes, medium voltage electric motors, drive base plates, high and low speed couplings, brakes, actuators, parts and spares as well as condition monitoring. “We are also responsible for torque arm and complete drive assembly,” says MD, Derek Gilmore. “Our industrial gearboxes are manufactured by India-based OEM, Elecon Engineering Company, one of the largest manufacturers of industrial gear units in Asia,” he continues. These rugged and reliable gearboxes boast a service factor greater than 2 and 100 000 hours design life.

The 750 kW gearboxes, two parallel drive systems and three parallel and tandem drives, are installed on a sacrificial conveyor and a 283 metre long overland conveyor respectively. The 185 kW units drive an adjustable shuttle conveyor. Compliant with necessary and important thermal criteria, the 750 kW gearboxes are equipped with a cooling and forced lubrication system with dual oil pumps, one serving as a backup unit. Derek explains that, in addition to machine longevity, this system is also a safety feature, keeping the drive temperature to below a safe-touch of 70°C.

Bauer is also responsible for providing the condition monitoring sensors to facilitate remote monitoring of the gearboxes, including motor speed and motor winding temperatures, brake wear and temperatures, oil levels and flow pressures, as well as bearing wear and vibrations. “Early detection allows for a planned shutdown to do the necessary maintenance, thereby avoiding critical failure and costly downtime,” notes Derek. He adds that Bauer is also supplying large 710 mm diameter hydraulic disk brakes for the sacrificial and shuttle conveyors in collaboration with supply partner, Magnet Service Binder. Alongside local assembly, service and repair capabilities on all its products, Bauer also has the capabilities to service and repair competitor gearboxes to OEM standards.

Bauer received the order for the complete drive solution when the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was sweeping over the northern hemisphere. “This set us some tough challenges, forcing us to come up with innovative solutions,” states Derek. “Elecon was able to continue operating although output was understandably affected, with subsequent delays.”

The next challenge was how to conduct witness testing at the Elecon factory in India, given that the pandemic prevented travel. “We realised that we had to tackle this from a completely different angle. Making full use of digital technology, we held technical discussions, viewed instruments and meter readings as well as actual tests on video clips and images, even finalising factory acceptance tests, all via e-meetings.” Derek points out that by having a permanent digital record, they can conveniently reference this electronic library from anywhere at any time. “In addition to saving money in terms of travel costs, we also saved loads of time and subsequently realised a much quicker turnaround.”

According to Derek, they see a great deal of potential in large-sized gearboxes in the mining industry across the SADC region. “Our success in supplying large gearboxes to the Tippler upgrade project at Saldanha Iron Ore showcases our capabilities and competencies to realise our ambition of entering this space. “We already have an installed base of smaller-sized industrial gear units at Rustenburg gold and platinum mines, where we have a strong foothold, as well as in the SADC region and beyond into Egypt, Eritrea and the DRC. In line with this new agreement, the welcome addition of the Elecon range of power transmissions up to massive 9 MW drives further opens up the large gearbox market for us. Moreover, we are also perfectly positioned to supply our customers in these regions with new bevel helical Elecon drives or drop in retrofit solutions for older gear units. We add further value by offering local content, assembly, testing and commissioning.”

Wrapping up, Derek says that they are extremely proud of this out-of-the box drive solution at the Saldanha Iron Ore Tippler upgrade project. “Despite facing numerous challenges, we found creative ways to get the job done while adhering to all Covid-19 protocols.”

For more information contact Derek Gilmore, Bauer Geared Motors, +27 11 828 9715, derekg@gbauer.co.za, www.gbauer.co.za




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