The company was contracted to supply one 130-t span ladle crane, one 40-t slag-handling crane, a 140-t hot-metal ladle car, two 70-t slag pot cars, and various maintenance cranes for the first furnace phase.
In addition to this equipment, an extra 140-t ladle transfer car and two 70-t slag pot transfer cars were ordered for the second phase of the smelter expansion project, involving furnace two.
These orders, with a multimillion-rand combined value, were placed in November 2000 for phase one and July 2002 for phase two, with commissioning for phase two taking place as from end 2002 up to the beginning of 2003.
Further orders for spare slag pot cars have been placed since then.
According to Demag Cranes & Components projects manager Tom Reynolds, this equipment has been sufficient to start and further to cater for the material-handling requirements of the plant.
“The cranes are essential in the hot-metal process as the hot metal and slag have to be transported throughout their specific processes by this Demag equipment.
“The equipment was designed specifically for use in the hot-metal environment at the smelter, with the 130-t and 40-t cranes being special hot-metal ladle-type cranes.
“These cranes comprise electrical and mechanical components that are able to operate in high ambient temperatures,” says Reynolds.
Other features include the ability to hook the auxiliary hoist onto the ladle without assistance from maintenance staff, with the 130-t crane being designed such that the hoist components will prevent crane breakdown in the occurrence of single failure of any hoist mechanical component.
The cranes are also equipped with special safety overspeed switches on the main hoist, which activate the hoist brakes to bring the load to rest if overspeed situations should occur.
Reynolds says that the ladle cars were designed so as to enable a ladle to be placed into the car at a 35 degree tilt, therefore directing spillage of the hot metal into a specific area, preventing damage to the car.
“The main challenges on the project were to ensure that the equipment met Ticor South Africa’s stringent specification requirements, and that the cranes and related equipment could handle the ladles safely with minimum downtime.” says Reynolds.