Custom excavators boost port productivity
28 November 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201812888
HPE Africa - specialists in earthmoving and construction equipment - was awarded a tender by Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) to supply 10 specially-adapted excavators for its Richards Bay facility, as part of an initiative to improve operational efficiencies at the port.
“TPT selected the 26-ton Hyundai R260LC-9S excavator series for this project, as these robust machines meet specific performance specifications, including best in class power and a 6-ton lifting capacity throughout the required working cycle, at the required 12 rpm minimum swing speed,” said Alex Ackron, managing director HPE Africa, a part of the Capital Equipment Group (CEG), a division of Invicta Holdings Limited.
“The scope of this project required these excavators to be mounted onto mobile straddle carriers, for the efficient unloading of materials - including coal, chrome and manganese - from freight rail cars.
“The TPT-approved straddle carrier design - which was developed through TPT and HPE Africa’s close team work - adheres to Transnet’s stringent performance and safety standards. These specially-adapted straddle carriers allow locomotives and rail carriages to pass safely beneath the structure.
“For additional safety, this design only allows the operator to enter and leave the straddle if the excavator is orientated at 35 degrees to the tracks, preventing an unattended straddle from being struck by a moving train. Excavators have also been fitted with specially-designed 1.6m³ heavy-duty buckets and 2.5 m³ coal buckets, to maximise a railway car’s unloading speed.
“As part of HPE Africa’s commitment to support South African business, approximately 35% of the project value for modifications was outsourced to local businesses within KwaZulu Natal – easily exceeding Transnet’s local content requirement for this tender,” Ackron said.
HPE Africa commissioned a Richards Bay-based engineering company to manufacture the straddle structures for the Hyundai excavators for this project. According to the lead design engineer at the engineering works, the straddle design is pinned instead of bolted, to ensure quick assembly time and reduced maintenance requirements.
To meet specific Transnet specifications, these Hyundai excavators were supplied with an enhanced operator cab, featuring an improved suspension seat, operator-friendly control cluster, reverse camera and Hyundai’s Hi-Mate telematics system. Besides being re-painted the Transnet red, these machines have an efficient centralised greasing and fluid maintenance system. Other features includes a VEI load weighing system, operator presence and engine protection system, LED lighting and a bucket cylinder protection system.
According to Prakash Ramsumuj, Project Manager for Transnet, it was critical to minimise the time period between the arrival of a freight train and unloading of materials. Improved efficiencies within Transnet Freight Rail significantly reduce lead times of materials to export customers. “Due to our challenging operating requirements and the extremely corrosive environment in the port, Transnet and HPE Africa engaged in a highly-effective joint design review process after the tender award,” Ramsumuj added.
Close collaboration between HPE Africa and Transnet enabled the assembly of all 10 specialised excavators before the Transnet operational deadline at the end of August 2018.
These Hyundai excavators enhance TPT’s existing fleet of 22 ton Hyundai HL770-9S wheel loaders, which have exceeded performance expectations in arduous Transnet port environments, since they were purchased almost four years ago.
HPE Africa, which is the sole distributor in Southern Africa for Hyundai Construction Equipment, as well as Soosan hydraulic hammers and McCloskey crushing and screening units, offers a nationwide sales, spares, technical and maintenance/repair service.