Many projects are discussed years before they come to fruition. Permitting, plans, environmental concerns, engineering, budgeting... the list continues on until all aspects are properly addressed and agreed upon.
Complexity can throw some suppliers off because they offer only standard equipment and don’t have the years of experience to adapt and be flexible to varying situations and conditions. This is where more than 130 years of FLSmidth’s know-how and expertise can mean the difference between just installing equipment and benefiting from the synergies of a well-tuned system that's tailored to the requirements of the terrain and the plant.
South West Port Limited (SWPL) had requested FLSmidth to propose a design for a coal conveying system back in mid-2010. The purpose was to enhance their cargo evacuation capacities at the port and conveying the coal to the nearby rail loading station.
SWPL is part of the JSWIL vertical of JSW group of companies, one of India's largest business conglomerates. SWPL operates two multipurpose cargo handling berths in Mormugoa, a sub-district in the Indian state of Goa. The Goa region is well known for its natural harbor and iron ore mining, as well as its beautiful beaches. SWPL's terminal facilities have the capacity to handle 10 million tonnes of cargo, which includes coal, fluxes and finished steel products. The materials are taken to and from hinterland destinations through South Western Railways. FLSmidth already enjoys a long association with JSW, and many FLSmidth products and systems are in successful operation at various JSW plants.
Working with the client over several years, many revisions were made to the original proposal as challenges were presented, including having to span across a network of railway lines while making sure the conveying system was safe and environmentally friendly. FLSmidth’s India office won the order in April 2013, having proposed the design and installation of our successful pipe conveying system.
Being an active port and already limited with space constraints, the project required very close coordination with the client’s civil and structural design groups and site team to complete the civil and structural work within the challenging project timeframe of 15 months. In fact, FLSmidth engineers made a number changes in the structural design to circumvent real-time obstacles that came out during execution of the trestle/tower foundations.
While the profile of the pipe conveyor and its design was less of a concern, the bigger effort was to design the individual trestles and their foundations such that they could meet railway requirements and adhere to safety and shutdown protocols. Each trestle had to be uniquely designed with bracings positioned above a 10-meter elevation from the ground level to allow for safe passage of engines and wagons underneath.
Counting on FLSmidth’s manufacturing and supply network, all pipe conveyor components arrived to the site on schedule and the installation work began. Every aspect was cross-checked before installation.
The pipe conveyor was engineered for a capacity of 2,200 tonnes per hour for conveying materials a distance of 565 meters. Over the course of the system, material is elevated a total of 40 additional meters. After completion of the installation and required checks it was time to run the conveyor. As the capacity was stepped up gradually during commissioning, it was found that the conveyor could not take more than 60 percent of its design capacity and the motors would trip thereafter.
FLSmidth’s team of experts immediately started troubleshooting so they could remedy the problem. Taking careful steps to examine all possible reasons, the team undertook a systematic analysis approach to find the root cause and involved global experts to verify their findings independently.
The initial reaction from the SWPL site team was that they felt the drive unit for the conveyor was undersized. An increase in drive kilowatt capacity by installing an add-on drive would have been an easy solution, but the FLSmidth team cautioned that an additional drive would not address the root cause and in turn would increase investment and operating costs for all parties.
After careful evaluation of all the components, it was determined that the belt was causing the reduction in capacity and needed to be replaced. FLSmidth's India team and our global supply chain team worked together closely with the belt supplier’s local and parent companies to evaluate the reasons and respond with solutions. The replacement belt was redesigned, supplied and installed as soon as possible to minimize the impact to the project. SWPL was continually apprised of developments and involved during each stage of the process. They were understanding and extended support despite being under pressure from their own customers to get the project back on track.
After the belt was replaced, the pipe conveyor took hardly any time to achieve its rated capacity and beyond—much to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. This project became successful because it required our FLSmidth team to exercise innovative thinking, as well as close and constructive involvement with both customers and suppliers to provide the right solution.
"Getting involved with FLSmidth in their pipe conveyor project was an immense pleasure both professionally and personally," Mr. Anthony Fernandes, Assistant General Manager (Projects), SWPL said. "Their involvement and commitment at every step of the project amazed me. Their resolve to mitigate the hiccup of the underperformance of their conveyor at the beginning of load trials is something to be appreciated (it appears to be their forte) and sets the benchmark for professionalism. Kudos to their Project Team!”
The success we experienced in the Goa region is something we look forward to continuing in many other areas of the world.