Industrial service provider

A project of superlatives: the largest attachment ever built by KAUP. Designed and produced in record time: the length of the project between initial contact and putting into service not even a year. A project that is much more than two rotators each with a load capacity of 45 tonnes – it is a milestone for KAUP.

Two giants in record time

You can taste the salt in the air. You can sense the sea. A windmill rotates on the dyke. Directly on the North Sea, north-west from Amsterdam. But here there is not just the tourist idyll, but also the only steelworks in the Netherlands can be found here. Put more precisely, in IJmuiden, in the province of North Holland. Over 8,000 people work on this side of the dyke in an area the size of a medium-sized provincial town. And numerous industrial service providers work in that area and deal with, for example, the removal and processing of the slag produced by the steel production process. It is a by-product of steel manufacture and is used, for example, as the subgrade in road construction.

Graphite dust in the air

In the past, the slag was collected in large ladles and moved to the edge of the site. There, massive gantry cranes emptied the containers in the open air so that the slag could cool before being processed. The disadvantage of this method was the production of huge amounts of graphite dust, which the inhabitants of the neighbouring community of Wijk aan Zee had to suffer from. And the fine graphite dust that arose is not only dirty. It also contains numerous harmful substances such as manganese, lead and vanadium. Continuing complaints by the citizens therefore led to the method being banned by the regional government in the spring of 2019.

Processes completely changed

“We were thus forced to do something quickly” explains a member of the project team, “and decided to completely change the existing process.” The solution? The building of a new hall to reduce the dust levels to zero using complex filter systems.

At the same time, the customer wanted KAUP to make the slag disposal not only cleaner, but also redesign it to become more modern and fit for the future. Individual transport containers known as skips would replace the traditional ladles. “However, a new handling problem resulted from this” report other project team members. “After all, the skips can hold up to 23 tonnes of slag and needed to be emptied by a fork lift truck rather than a stationary device”. In addition, a fork lift truck would offer a range of application possibilities. “But until now such a large attachment did not exist for fork lift trucks that met our demands” continues the disposal professional, “which is where KAUP came in.”

Challenging design and production

The industrial service provider contacted KAUP for the first time in the spring of 2019. Everything happened very quickly from that point. An intensive exchange between a small design team at KAUP and the other members of the project team followed. “In the process we were confronted with a few interesting challenges” reports KAUP designer Bernd Ackermann. “The size of the device and the tight schedule were two aspects” according to Ackermann. “The adapted flanged couplings and the completely new welded fitting were two further decisive factors”, explains the experienced designer in addition. “Because we also hadn’t designed anything like this before.” But after about ten weeks – in October 2019 – the challenging production process could be begun. For example, the forks had to be welded manually to the huge base plate in a laborious process. Actually two times. After all, the customer ordered two 60T391.

After intensive tests on in-house test rigs specially built for this project, the rotators weighing over 13 tonnes each left the factory in Aschaffenburg at the beginning of February 2020. The journey then began initially to Poland. There, the attachments, which are 4,600 mm wide and 3,475 mm high, were mounted onto huge Kalmar fork lift trucks. Afterwards was the journey to IJmuiden. This logistical challenge alone was enormous, because the complete fork lift trucks had to be partially dismantled for the transport. Otherwise they would not have fitted onto the trucks. Even so, four trucks were necessary for each fork lift for the transport to the Netherlands.

They have been in daily use there since mid-May 2020 and have since then completed thousands of loading cycles. “Our initial enthusiasm is still there, as the solution now in use meets all the demands we made” is how those responsible in the Netherlands summarise the project. They are “happy that we were able to implement this challenging project in this way“.

Current process

What do the loading cycles look like, and how is the new disposal process designed? The new skips are automatically loaded with slag in the steelworks 24/7. To be able to transport the skips more easily into the emptying hall, there is a special truck trailer – a so-called transport cassette. Two skips fit into the cassette. A terminal tractor takes it to near the hall. A Kalmar fork lift truck picks up the full skips and moves them in sequence into a roofed, open storage building. The full, still hot containers stay there to cool, so processing is possible. This starts with emptying the skips in the new factory building. Inside there are not only large misting machines that provide permanent humidity in the building to bind the dust that is caused, the slag unloading area with enormous suction systems and a highly modern filter system is found there as well. The rectangular area is on the edge of the building. Two sides are enclosed and two have an opening. These are used to bring in the hot slag on one side and to transport away the cooled remaining material on the other.

The unloading process is then extremely simple. A Kalmar fork lift truck transports the full skip to the unloading point. During this a large curtain moves slowly down and closes off the third side of the unloading area. The fork lift truck-attachment combination stands on the remaining fourth side. Before it can continue, a temperature measurement is made. Only if this measures the correct, low temperature, a traffic light allows unloading. Afterwards, the hydraulics of the big Kalmar drive the 60T391. The full skip rotates. At around 90°, physics takes over. The extremely heavy, hot slag falls onto the floor with a thud and makes it shudder. Dust is caused. But outside the unloading point, there is no sign of this, as it is immediately sucked up and filtered. The rotator then returns the now empty skip to its original position. It is now ready for a new loading cycle.

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