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‘Feeder Blockage Removal Device’ Shane Phillips – Saraji Mine (BMA). Presentation Overview . Context for innovation (problem) Solution generation Innovative approach Opportunity for replication Acknowledgements. Context for Innovation.

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feeder blockage removal device shane phillips saraji mine bma
‘Feeder Blockage Removal Device’

Shane Phillips – Saraji Mine (BMA)

presentation overview
Presentation Overview
  • Context for innovation (problem)
  • Solution generation
  • Innovative approach
  • Opportunity for replication
  • Acknowledgements
context for innovation
Context for Innovation
  • Saraji Mine is one of BMA’s 8 mines operating in the Bowen Basin – producer of high quality coking coal with a production name plate capacity of 8Mtpa
  • As part of coal processing activities, coal is temporarily stored prior to treatment in the Preparation Plant, on the crushed coal stockpile
  • Coal is extracted from the crushed coal stockpile and fed onto the Plant feed conveyor via 5 vibratory feeders located under the stockpile
  • Feeders work to draw coal from the bottom of the stockpile onto the feed conveyor, located in a service tunnel
context for innovation4
Context for Innovation
  • Bridging occurs periodically in the hopper section of the feeders, disrupting the continuous supply of coal onto the feed conveyor
  • An incident occurred in early 2008 which initiated a review of feeder unblocking practices
  • Opportunity to review practices that had been in place for +30 years across the Industry and to initiate the development of a ‘hard control’ or ‘engineered solution’ to a long standing safety issue
  • Feeders located in a difficult operational environment
    • limited access, high noise/dust/vibration level area
solution generation
Solution Generation
  • Blockages previously removed via a manual water lance operated via an inspection hatch on the side of the feed chute section of the feeder
  • Commenced 3 phase solution generation process:
    • Developed range of new ‘safe’ hand tools (short term action)
    • Developed a range of trial high pressure water based lances (medium term action)
    • Installation and automation of best performing trial lance (long term solution)
  • Final solution: remotely operated, pneumatic ram driven water lance – removes personnel from the physical hazard associated with previous unblocking methods and the hazards associated with the work environment
  • Solution fully installed and operational in June 2009
innovative approach
Innovative Approach
  • Benchmarked other Sites and engaged equipment manufacturer in devising final solution – no suggestions forthcoming for easy replication
  • Solution to problem developed by Operations and Maintenance personnel on-Site
  • Hand tools and trial water lances constructed using parts that were readily available on-Site
  • Final solution scope:
    • Fix device that when not in use was fully retractable and did not impede coal flow through hopper section
    • Easily removable for repair/maintenance
    • Able to be automated and operated remotely (ie from Plant Control Room)
    • Able to use existing infrastructure (ie water supply)
  • Final design and installation was a relatively low cost solution to a long standing HSEC issue
opportunity for replication
Opportunity for Replication
  • Innovation has been shared extensively throughout BMA/BHP Billiton (publications and web-site articles)
  • Today is our opportunity to share information regarding our ‘Feeder Blockage Removal Device’ with personnel across the Industry for the purpose of replication where applicable
  • Innovation originally devised for a specific feeder/coal operational scenario, but it has application in any situation in which water or air could be used to remove a blockage or build-up of material
  • Devices can easily be retrofitted to existing installations, low cost and easily able to be maintained
acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • Coal Handling and Preparation Department personnel at Saraji Mine would like to thank the following people and Companies for their assistance in making this project possible:
    • Department personnel – Glen Althaus, Glenn Deaves, Matt Boswood, Dave Kilpatrick, Warren Borg, Max Fraser, Bob Eldridge
    • Group Engineering
    • Advanced Cutting Solutions