Weba Chute Systems wins refurbishment design work at Mpumalanga Coal Mine

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Posted by Daniel Gleeson on July 11, 2022

When a coal mine in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa needed to replace its high-maintenance conventional transfer chutes, it turned to Weba Chute Systems for the best bespoke design, says the manufacturer.

Weba Chute Systems is currently working on designs that will pave the way for the modernization of more than a dozen chutes at the mine. Eight of the units are silo unloading chutes, transferring ROM feed coal from the operation to its coal processing plant. Four other chutes need to be replaced in the plant itself, while there is another chute located between two related feed conveyors.

“The main purpose of the new custom-made chutes is to ensure a stable supply to the plant, and from there to the neighboring power plant,” says Dewald Tintinger, technical director and designer of Weba Chute Systems. “Existing equipment requires too much maintenance, resulting in unacceptable levels of downtime.”

The key to improved chute availability and extended life is the company’s flow control principles in its designs. The factory’s chutes, for example, have to handle oversized materials between 150mm and 500mm in size.

“Through the handling of these large particles, chutes are exposed to high levels of impact and wear and tear,” says Tintinger. “With the controlled flow philosophy of our cascading Weba chute system, we control both speed and impact.”

Commenting on other aspects of the custom designs, Tintinger says Transfer Stitches will include features like dead boxes to create a liner from the mined material itself. This reduces wear on the chute’s metal surfaces, extending service intervals and providing greater uptime. He points out that the processing plant feeds the power plant directly through two land conveyors.

“It’s a very efficient model for delivering coal, but it requires all the elements of the material handling system to work together,” he says. “Any disruption to coal flow caused by a transfer chute can cause costly delays and make coal delivery unreliable.”

He notes that the mine has had good experience with the many other Weba chutes already installed at this operation and is now standardizing this internationally accepted transfer point design for best results.

Designs and engineering are done in-house by Weba Chute Systems’ experienced team, using the latest software and finite element analysis tools for testing.

Design work is expected to be completed by mid-2022. Thereafter, the mine will be able to contract out fabrication and installation work.

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