Metso meets early Apron Feeder, delivery creates innovative thinking

Metso has delivered a second D9 Apron Feeder, similar to the original Metso machine to Kumba Iron Ore in record time. This particular D9 machine is 3.66m wide, (5.5m including Head shaft), over 12.0m in length and weighs 108 tonnes when fully assembled, greater than the capacity of the EOT cranes servicing the workshops.

Normal practice involves the assembly and factory testing of all Apron feeders, and on this size of machine would require the stripping of the machine after factory testing and reassembly on site.

This additional dismantling and reassembly at site would have meant that the new delivery date would not have been met and an innovative approach had to be taken to save on delivery time. A collaborative approach between the Metso and Kumba project teams explored the possibility of lifting the main frame of the Apron Feeder onto a low bed trailer, and then to fully assemble the Apron Feeder and test it after completion whilst on the trailer itself. A full detailed study was done to test this solution, which included making modifications to the main factory access gate to accommodate the turning circle of the laden trailer. A total team effort from both the client, their transporter and Metso had to be managed and a tight assembly programme maintained. The end result, despite many challenges, including industrial strike action, truck breakdowns and abnormal transport restrictions was reached and the Apron Feeder arrived at Sishenthree days before the planned shut-down.

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