Newcastle, New South Wales, is home to the world’s largest coal handling facility and the main export terminal for Australia’s coal mining industry—Port Waratah—with the capacity to export 145 million tonnes of coal per year. 

The area surrounding the Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) is primarily a residential coastal town which means the facility must take special care in reducing noise levels on the operation. To achieve offsite noise reduction, the company developed a long-term strategy for noise management that would see the implementation of low-noise gearboxes for their Stacker and Reclaimer Booms. The gearboxes were powering the site’s conveyor drive applications moving coal products around site in preparation for export. 

In search of a reliable, durable, noiseless gearbox technology solution, the team at PWCS approached Regal Rexnord who were very proactive about designing a solution to the problem—immediately suggesting a custom Falk V-Class® Gear Drive design. 

The Falk name has long been synonymous with forward thinking power transmission solutions since its inception more than 125 years ago. Likewise, Regal Rexnord, just one year Falk’s senior, saw an opportunity to combine forces as industrial solutions suppliers and acquired Falk in 2005, assuming ownership of the Falk series product range. 

Since that time, Falk power transmission solutions have been a key range for Regal Rexnord in supplying heavy industries such as aggregate, cement, coal, metal processing, mining, paper, and power generation. 

“We have a lot of experience working with the iron ore ports in Western Australia where we implemented low noise technology with our Falk V-Class® Gear Drives,” says Thong Phabmixay, Sales and Application Engineer for Regal Rexnord. 

“The Falk V-Class drives have been designed to operate with reduced noise and vibration while at the same time maximising a plant’s productivity,” he explains. “And with the addition of the Regal Rexnord Smart Condition Monitoring System, operators have the ability to monitor vibrational diagnostics in real-time along with various other critical factors for performance modelling such as temperature, oil quality, water content and the overall safety of the application.” 

In collaboration with the University of Newcastle, a team of Regal Rexnord engineers developed a custom V-Class solution that attenuated the gearbox noise by adjusting the auxiliary features. 

In addition to this, they modelled the gearbox’s air flow to autonomously stabilise its operating temperature. The resulting design saw a huge reduction in the costs of operation with zero consumption levels of electrical, water, or air required. 

The custom V-Class gearboxes were designed and assembled at Regal Rexnord’s Facility in Newcastle.

“The gearboxes exceeded PWCS’s noise, temperature and vibration requirements under strict testing conditions and were certified for installation,” concludes Thong. “We have delivered the V-Class gearbox drives to Port Waratah in phases over the last few years, much to the satisfaction of the customer. The conveyor drives have been running smoothly, quietly and reliably ever since.”