Thumbs up for belt replacement

Dampier costal operation’s 6 km long C208 belt, was replaced recently following three months of work.

Preparation for the change began in early May with a small team and concluded in July with a team of around 50 dedicated company and contract personnel.

All work was completed without serious incident, and the preparation work and week-long shutdown were both finished ahead of schedule.

Planning superintendent Mark Saunders commended the efforts of all staff who worked on the project.

The replacement job included three parts: the civil, mechanical and electrical preparation of the stockyard area near Reclaimer 1; gathering the required equipment from around the Pilbara sites; and ensuring all the engineering calculations and modifications were completed.

Special ‘pony’ drive modules were prepared for both ends of the conveyor to help pull the new belt onto the system.

Saunders said there were a few challenges with replacing the belt due to its size, but hard work and innovative thinking made the project a success.

“The second stage of the work involved pre-splicing 14 reels of belt together to save time during the shutdown,” he said.

“A climate-controlled shed was erected in the stockyard to facilitate the splicing, and a team of Bridgestone personnel from overseas were flown in to guarantee the quality of the work.

“The new belt was layered (‘flaked’) out into the yard in a pile 100 m long and 1.7 m high. Sandvik belt splicing personnel completed the splicing and flaking ahead of schedule in around two-and-a-half weeks of continuous day and nightshift work.

“In addition, there were safety innovations such as the successful introduction of a machine to assist in stripping the steel cords out of the belt, which reduced the amount of knife work by about 75%. We hope to extend its use further and to other Rio Tinto Iron Ore sites.”

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