Metso Insights Case studies Mining and metals refining Codelco Andina changes the main motors of its ball mills at its underground operation
Apr 26, 2021

Codelco Andina changes the main motors of its ball mills at its underground operation

Metso Outotec called on its Field Services and A&CA teams to meet the challenge of changing out the main motors for the SAG ball mills at the underground site of the state miner in under 2 months.

Located in the Valparaíso region, Andina stands out for being Codelco's division with the highest copper mineral reserves in the country, combining open-pit and underground operations at more than 3,000 meters above sea level.

Copper production is a vital industry in Chile, with each piece of equipment involved requiring precise care and maintenance to avoid unplanned failures.

Due to the great technical knowledge and safety protocols of Metso Outotec in this type of work, Codelco Andina invited the company to participate in the change-out of two of its 7500 and 8500 HP SAG grinding ball mill motors in the interior of its underground operation. This was not a minor challenge considering the size of the components and the space constraints of the underground operation. It is for this reason that Metso Outotec decided to accept the challenge and unite its Field Services and A&CA work teams to carry out the task of mobilizing the 650 tons of major components.

The teams planned, designed and executed  the project, which included the removal of the Westinghouse motor, assembly of the WEG motor bedplate, assembly of the WEG motor stator, threading of the WEG motor stator-rotor as well as the unthreading of the WH stator-rotor, over the course of 2 months.

During the engineering process, it was important to comply with the on-site visit protocols and then design, carry out the detailed engineering, proceed to the manufacturing and finally execute the project.

For Hernán Muñoz, Operations Manager at Metso Outotec, it was a unique opportunity that brought synergy between the teams, leading to an excellent result for the client, without incidents and within the established deadlines.

“For this work, 3 factors were brought together that implied a greater challenge for the Metso Outotec team. The short period to carry out the detailed engineering; working inside an underground cavern, where space is tight and room to move is limited, and the need for two teams from different functional areas to work together. Despite these three challenges, the teams came together to coordinate and meet the goal”, says Muñoz.

For Julio Pedraza, from Codelco Andina, another of the great benefits that this change of motors brought to his SAG ball mills was related to the experience and technical capacity of Metso Outotec to implement the project with zero accidents, and the best quality.

“Complementary campaigns were carried out by both Metso Outotec and Codelco Andina, which allowed us to deliver the necessary knowledge and care to the 67 professionals who carried out the change out tasks. It was a first level job, where the company achieved the proposed goal of carrying out the project in two months, delivering the equipment under the requested design parameters”, highlighted Julio Pedraza.

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