The Materials Handling business line of thyssenkrupp in South Africa is commissioning a new drum reclaimer on an iron ore mine in the Northern Cape, which will operate alongside a refurbished 43-year old sister. MechTech talks to general manager for Materials Handling, Jacques Steyn.
While we are pleased to be installing a brand new drum reclaimer at an iron ore mine in the Northern Cape, we are also very proud that it will be operating alongside a thyssenkrupp drum reclaimer originally installed 43-years ago. This is a wonderful success story for the robustness, reliability and longevity of our machines and for our partnerships with clients. After 43 years, not only is one of the original machines still operating at full capacity, but also the mine still sees thyssenkrupp as the ‘go to’ company for replacement machines,” begins Steyn.
Of note with respect to the company’s drum reclaimer technology, “the material being handled at this mine is among the most abrasive ores on the planet”, proving the robustness of thyssenkrupp drum reclaimers. “If well looked after with regular servicing and wear liner replacements, the life expected from these machines is exceptional – and it is obvious that the mine is looking after its assets well,” Steyn adds.
Over the years, thyssenkrupp has supplied 10 drum reclaimers to this mine. These machines have become renowned for their excellent blending capability, general machine stability, reliable performance, ease of operation and maintenance – in summary, they are simple, safe and reliable at a competitive price.
The company has also recently supplied five drum reclaimer systems, which rank among the largest ever built, for two new coal-fires power plants in South Africa. In total some 20 systems have been installed in South Africa over the years: in the steel industry; for coal-to-gas-to-liquid operations; in the petrochemical industry; and at coal and iron ore mines.
“We operate in a very competitive market and we do so with considerable success. We can still say that the vast majority of the drum reclaimers installed in South Africa are ours,” Steyn continues. “From an operation perspective, we regard our clients as the experts, so we develop and evolve our machines with clients so as to meet the immediate and future needs they identify.
“We have learned to keep things simple from an operational and maintenance point of view. Machines operating in stockyard environments must not be complicated to look after,” he adds.
thyssenkrupp has also adapted its designs over the years. One of the significant developments, for example, has been a single shell to replace the older double shell designs. These are less complicated and less expensive to fabricate, while finite element analysis techniques enable optimisation of the shell thickness to best suit the application.
Another key innovation has been the development of the thyssenkrupp-patented cascade bucket for bi-directional reclaimers. Material is first scooped into the top half of the bucket and, as the bucket rises, it is transferred into the
lower half before being discharged. The symmetrical shape with no moving parts enables bi-directional operation while obviating the maintenance issues associated with flaps and/or hinge systems.
“There is a big drive in the bulk materials handling industry towards standardisation, which makes it difficult for us to compete in all sectors of the market. Our advantage, however, is that we make client-specific machines. We have excellent engineering capabilities, which means we can adapt and change machines to suit the specific requirements of each customer.
“More importantly, we stand by our customers. From the very start of projects, there is a lot of negotiation involved in designing and developing final solutions. Following that, we are also very proud of the extensive support we can offer on the service side,” he tells MechTech.
Download a pdf of this story here.