In true collaborative style, four Motion Australia business units recently came together to solve a specific issue for a mining customer – one that would allow the customer to do critical maintenance work on their belt feeder and crushers. The result was a bespoke hydraulic guillotine gate that was designed, installed, and commissioned out at the customer’s iron ore mine site in the Pilbara.

This customised gate has been designed to shut off the bottom of the feed hopper which prevents any ore from tumbling onto the crusher feed bed. Importantly, it enables the customer’s maintenance team to isolate a feed hopper and do work on the belt feeder and crusher without any disruption to the site. The specialised gate also makes maintenance on this equipment much safer for maintenance staff.

The project was awarded to CMA engineers who were critical to the gate design, but involved the combined efforts of Motion Australia’s CMA, CRAM, SMS, and CBC business units to successfully deliver it to the customer. In total, the project took less than 3 months to complete from design to commissioning on site.

Initially, the mechanical design work of the gate was completed by a Perth consultancy group who sought input on the hydraulics from CMA engineers. CMA was then granted the project in full because of their professional relationship with the mining company and the rest of the expertise they could offer through Motion Australia.

As specialists in hydraulics, CMA was responsible for this aspect of the design, including the hydraulic power unit. Design engineers then worked together with the SMS heavy fabrication unit at their Unanderra branch in Illawarra to manufacture the gate itself and its corresponding infrastructure. CRAM then supplied, manufactured, and fitted the hydraulic pipe work to spec. This included a fail-safe lockout system.

Following the design and installation, a Perth-based CBC engineer – well-versed in mining equipment applications – provided technical support at site during the commissioning phase. This was an integral part of the process particularly since interstate travel was not possible during the time of the commissioning. The CBC engineer was able to bring their technical expertise and experience to ensure the gate was properly installed and commissioned to the design specifications out on site. The inter-business collaboration and expertise also allowed for any impromptu improvements to be made as the job progressed.

One of the key challenges in the design phase was an issue with the clevis ends on the hydraulic cylinders. CMA was able to overcome this through consulting with the customer. They discovered that the pins originally specified had not taken into account the load rating of the clevis. They then worked with the hydraulic cylinder supplier and engineering consultants to resize the clevis and the pin correctly to suit both the material property and the load rating. This foresight and collaboration will likely prevent unplanned downtime in the future.

Similarly, SMS engineers discovered that the weld-on trunnion mounts for the cylinders did not leave adequate room for adjustment on the mounting points. This was also resolved with a new design. One where trunnion mounts were bolted to the structure to allow for more flexibility – an important feature considering the length of the welded structure on the gate.

Despite these variations to the design, Motion Australia’s businesses were able to act quickly, and the project stayed on track. Whilst given a tight deadline of 3 months, the cooperation and involvement of the four Motion Australia business units ensured this was achieved. In fact, they finished the job in its entirety – from paper design to the commissioned gate – on budget and earlier than the due date.