Konecranes safety inspections and its latest crane technology have helped BHP Billiton cut downtime and minimise production losses at the Olympic Dam poly-metallic mine in South Australia.

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New Konecranes overhead cranes at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia

The Olympic Dam mine, which is the fourth largest copper deposit and the largest known single deposit of uranium in the world, relies on overhead cranes for lifting different reagents as part of their production process, as well as performing vital maintenance tasks.

The Olympic Dam project is set to benefit from BHP’s investment of more than AUD$600 million over FY2018 on a range of works.

According to BHP’s Asset President, Olympic Dam, Jacqui McGill, this is the most significant investment BHP has ever made in South Australia and it will help build the foundations for long term, safe, stable and sustainable growth at Olympic Dam.

“The investment will ensure the operation is more modern, reliable and can support processing of additional tonnes in coming financial years,” she said.

Mr Scott Montgomerie, BHP Supervisor, Floats Maintenance Execution, Olympic Dam, Minerals Australia, said that the old cranes were breaking down frequently, causing downtime and production losses.

Konecranes safety inspections are designed to assess the remaining life of cranes, and determine whether it is safer and more cost-effective to replace a crane, repair it, or perform a modernisation.

“Konecranes provided us with some great replacement options, and were flexible in their approach as well as having the technical expertise to solve any unique challenges that arose,” he said.

Konecranes is providing BHP Billiton with five new cranes, ranging from 1t to 3.5t lifting capacity. They were a mixture of CLX chain hoists and CXT wire rope hoists, designed to optimise efficiency, safety and reliability at Olympic Dam.

The latest Konecranes CLX chain hoists, of the type specified by BHP for Olympic dam, incorporate a longer lifetime, with up to 1600 hours on most models with a full load, and a durable aluminium construction.

Durability of the lift chain was a key element in the CLX’s design for outstanding service. The patented chain sprocket dramatically improves the durability of the chain. The oil lubrication-based transmission reduces the operating temperature, enabling increased power. Furthermore, the new transmission is maintenance-free and quiet to operate.

The CLX’s transmission increases the speed ratio between low and fast speeds. The new 6:1 speed ratio enables a safe and accurate installation speed and an extremely fast movement speed. The wider speed range makes the CLX chain hoist 25 per cent faster than its predecessor, which helps speed up the work cycle and improves work efficiency.

Safety functions have been integrated into the standard characteristics of the hoist. For example, the brake and the clutch have been installed on the same axle, which prevents the load from dropping even if the clutch breaks down.

CXT wire rope hoist cranes, of the type also being installed at Olympic Dam, are designed to be industry benchmarks of safety and ergonomics, with easy and effective load handling and optimum dimensions for space saving solutions.

Konecranes CXT wire rope hoist cranes utilise the latest technology for improved load accuracy, versatility and ease of use – making them the industry leader in medium-heavy indoor cranes.

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