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Difficult environment, reliable energy supply

Energy chain systems from igus® withstand dust and dirt in alumina production and secure the energy supply

During the mining and subsequent storage of bauxite, a sedimentary rock for the production of aluminium oxide, a lot of dust is thrown up, which is a major challenge especially for the moving machine parts of the conveyor units. For this reason, Aluminium Oxid Stade GmbH (AOS), one of the major German alumina producers, decided to use energy chains from motion plastics® specialist igus®. For several years now, they have reliably supplied conveyor units and stockpiling equipment with energy, data and media.
 
 

A single ship delivers up to 70,000 tonnes of raw material to the dedicated AOS port. After unloading by ship-to-shore crane, it is transported from there via an enclosed conveyor belt system for intermediate storage before it is withdrawn for processing. Since the motorised cable drums used previously required a great deal of maintenance and were always causing problems, Fabian Wilhelm, Head of Electrical Engineering at AOS, decided to use an energy chain system from igus® for the first time in 2012.

Aluminium Oxid Stade GmbH (AOS)

Aluminium Oxid Stade GmbH (AOS) processes around two million tonnes of bauxite every year. Before processing, the material is stored in a large stockpile.

 
Loop car

The first joint project between AOS and igus® was the loop car directly under a hall roof. The prevailing ambient conditions here are especially challenging.

 
The first joint project – extreme stress and loads under the hall roof

The first joint project by AOS and igus® related to what is known as the "loop car" directly under the roof of a large hall in which bauxite is stored. High dust load and, in some cases, exposure to humidity mean that the ambient conditions are very difficult here. The humidity in connection with the bauxite dust results in a stubborn stony material that sticks everywhere and clogs the energy supply. An electronic push/pull detection unit from igus® shuts down the system before damage can occur.
 

Second joint project – general overhaul of the stacker

The first joint project by AOS and igus® related to what is known as the "loop car" directly under the roof of a large hall in which bauxite is stored. High dust load and, in some cases, exposure to humidity mean that the ambient conditions are very difficult here. The humidity in connection with the bauxite dust results in a stubborn stony material that sticks everywhere and clogs the energy supply. An electronic push/pull detection unit from igus® shuts down the system before damage can occur.
 

Stacker

The second project at AOS was the energy supply system to the stacker with a travel of 330 metres. In the background: the hall that houses the loop car.

 
Stacker

The dust and dirt load is especially high on the heap. An e-chain® with external stop-dogs is used in this case here to reduce the accumulation of dust here.

 
Third joint project – ship loading and unloading equipment

The most recent joint project by AOS and igus® involves two energy chains with a travel of 218 metres running in opposite directions in the same trough. They supply the two cranes that deliver the bauxite and then transport the produced alumina away again. Among others, medium-voltage motor cables from the chainflex® CFCRANE series and fibre optic cables from the chainflex® CFLG series are routed here.
 
 

Ship loading and unloading equipment

Most recently, the motorised cable drums on the cranes for loading and unloading ships were replaced and equipped with e-chains® from igus®.

 
Ship loading and unloading equipment

Roller energy chains are used here too. The rollers reduce the required drive force by 57 percent, which significantly increases the service life of the system.

 

The first chain on the loop car has been in use for over five years now. No significant signs of wear were identified here during the last inspection. Despite the very difficult conditions prevailing under the hall roof. This similarly applies to the other systems from igus® that are in use at AOS. And so, Fabian Wilhelm from AOS is able to summarise as follows: "Less maintenance effort, higher availability, the possibility of running cables and hoses of all different kinds in one system, the electronic push/pull detection system... all these benefits have fully convinced us of the advantages of igus® products. I would use igus® energy chains time and time again!"
 

Further information
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