Alcoa – Floveyor Tanker Loader slashing tanker turnaround times

Global mining giant Alcoa operates the world’s largest integrated bauxite mines and alumina refinery in Western Australia. Bulk lime is a significant component of Alcoa’s alumina production process. Working with Alcoa and Thailand based lime producers Chememan to develop a mobile solution to the handling of this crucial material for a series of plant trials, presented us with an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the Floveyor Tanker Loader’s unique flexibility and speed in logistically complex conditions.

The challenge

We were approached by Chememan to provide a fast, economical conveying solution for their planned expansion into the Australian market. The company had assessed traditional silo based, gravity fed decanting systems as too costly and time consuming for their purposes. They were seeking a more flexible, mobile solution, which operated at above 50 tons per hour to avoid demurrage charges at the initial unloading point.

We drew on our experience and track record in supplying high speed, fixed and mobile systems for silos, sea and road tankers to scope a solution for Chememan who had Alcoa as their primary client.

Alcoa was keen to expedite a lime conveying solution, which was:

  • Low profile and mobile to fit inside a standard warehouse and allow for easy storage and relocation
  • Operable at rates of over 50 tonnes per hour for hydrated and quick lime and fully contained with sealed connections between the 1000 kg bags and the tanker
  • Easy to run and maintain, environmentally friendly and designed for turn key operations.

The solution

We conducted extensive material testing to evaluate the Floveyor Tanker Loader’s capacity for rapid, dust free conveying against Alcoa and Chememan’s requirements. During testing we exceeded their expectations with conveying speeds of over 54 tonnes per hour.

Continuous operation at maximum speed

Based on test outcomes and our discussions with Alcoa and Chememan, we designed a clean, safe system, which allows two forklifts to operate simultaneously to keep up with the Floveyor Tanker Loader’s massive throughput rate. Key features include:

  • Two bulk bag unloading positions equipped with mechanical cutting blades for ultra fast opening and dumping
  • A 4m3 buffer zone below the cutting point to enable preloading to insure instant filling for tankers and continuous operation
  • A trough screw conveyor to feed the lime from the large hopper into the Floveyor
  • An integrated extraction system to eliminate dust at all unloading and loading points
  • A control system to enable safe, sequenced loading by alerting the operator when a tanker pod is full
  • An adjustable loading boom equipped with a winch arrangement to raise and lower the bellow chute to engage multiple tanker inlets.

The results

Floveyor’s rigorous product testing and design ingenuity delivered a simple, high capacity turnkey solution which eliminated dust and the need for tanker clean downs.

Alcoa installed this system in 2011 giving them complete control over the supply chain for bulk lime to support their Western Australian operations.

The last word

Word of mouth endorsements by our satisfied customers have always underpinned Floveyor’s growing market share and this project is no exception. We are grateful to the entire Alcoa team for spreading the word on our successful design and implementation of a flexible, hyper efficient conveying solution for bulk lime.

As a result, we’ve secured a deal with global industrial mineral processing company Sibelco to supply two test units modelled on the Alcoa prototype with the option to supply another three to six units based on the success of the initial two.