tips per hour
The automated circuit not only reduced human intervention, it also made the site safer. Extensive programming on the safety interlocks ensured that all unexpected scenarios were covered and that there would be zero incidents recorded at the site. This technologically advanced and cutting-edge solution resulted in continuous tippling operations of 25 wagons per hour, thus reducing railway demurrages and achieving operational efficiency for JSW Salem. Mr. BNS Prakash Rao, Senior Vice President & Plant Head, JSW Salem, shared, “The relationship between JSW Salem and Metso started in 2011 with an order for a wagon tippler. Since installation of the wagon tippler, the operations have been smooth. There has been a substantial reduction in railway demurrages and improved operational efficiency. Metso and its experienced technical team have provided good quality equipment and tailor-made solutions. This has delivered immense benefits to our operations.”
JSW Salem, a manufacturer of special-grade steel, uses lumps of iron ore and coal railed in from various parts of the country for its steel production. Freight railway wagons vary in shape and size, so the manual unloading process of one rake (58-60 wagons) in 5 hours is a challenging task. And to make the situation even more complicated, after being emptied one-by-one, the wagons have to be re-joined into a rake and released from the wagon tippling area in a limited timeframe with zero damage to the wagons. Moreover, retaining the wagons for longer than the time specified, or damages due to inefficient operations, leads to a huge penalty for the company in the form of railway demurrages.
On top of these challenges, JSW Salem had its own site issues as well. It had limited space at the outhaul; there wasn’t enough space to form the 700-meter-long rake of emptied wagons and the gradient was high at the site where the wagons were to be decoupled from each other. Without a solution to this, the wagons would cut loose and slide towards the incline, i.e. towards the opposite side, causing serious damage to life and the wagons. Therefore, JSW had to address the operational challenges, which, if not handled, would have resulted in high demurrages and an interruption to operations, as the raw material would not have been abundantly available.
JSW had no other option than to go with an advanced and tailor-made wagon tippling solution that could not only solve both these issues, but also improve the plant’s operational efficiency and reduce railway demurrages. After evaluating many options, JSW Salem chose a material handing solution from Metso, due to its vast global experience and in-house design capabilities to suit their specific needs. Understanding JSW’s site issues and specific requirements, Metso designed, delivered and installed the first of its kind, tailor-made solution: wagon tippler, side arm charger, traverser (wagon shifter), ejector (pusher) and apron feeder, which solved the material handling concerns of the company. The wagon tippler with traverser, ejector and side arm charger helped to tipple the incoming material in wagons on to the apron feeder for easy material stacking. In parallel, the shifter mechanism was designed and installed so that the racks, after unloading, could be shifted to an outward line, drawn parallel to the inward line. This saved JSW at least 1 km of space at the outhaul and brought them a huge savings in land and costs. The apron feeder, installed 20 meters below the tipping line, enabled JSW to extract and stack the sticky iron-ore lumps with ease - and without any halt in operations.
Mr. K Satish, Manager, Blast Furnace RMHS & Wagon Tippler, JSW Salem, shared, “The major challenges were related to plant geography: the insufficient space at the post tippling line and the sliding gradient, which is at 1:400. JSW always focuses on adopting newer technologies to sustain its growth. One such technological breakthrough was the installation of the wagon tippler with a shifter mechanism from Metso. This eliminated the post-tippling line requirement, and we saved almost one kilometer of space. The wheel-gripper, which holds the rake when unloading is in process, solved the issue of the site’s high gradient. Additional features of the wagon tippler are the moveable side pads, top clamps and valley angle of 60 degrees, offering easy material discharge from the hopper.” He added, “This wagon tippler was designed in compliance with the latest RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organization) requirements (G33 Rev.01) and was one of the first RDSO-approved installations in the country. Since its installation, the operations have been smooth, there has been a substantial reduction in manpower and railway demurrages, and an overall improvement in operational efficiency.”
As per Mr. Vijay Dhar, Vice President, Services, Pump & Mining Equipment Sales, Metso India, “The wagon tippler supplied to JSW Salem in 2011 became the first wagon tippling solution in India compliant with the RDSO (G33 rev. 1) requirements of delivering 25 tips per hour. The C-framed rotary tippler has been supplied as per Metso’s S&H technology, which has a legacy of over 100 years in the industry.”
tips per hour
The intelligent, safe and efficient wagon tippling solution provided by Metso has been in operation since it was commissioned in 2014 and has been continuously delivering 25 tips/hour for JSW. The speeds and ramps of the wagon positioning devices are strategically designed and calibrated with proprietary train simulation programs; a deep understanding of the non-linear behavior of wagon couplers optimizes the arm load and shock-free handling of the wagons. The integrated tipping cycle is reliable and safe with PLC programs and the wagon top clamping pressure is consistent with the RDSO-specified limit. The movement of the side pad with wagon during material unloading eliminates damage arising from the wagon rubbing against the side pad. In addition, the use of a laser beam to detect the wagon position on the traverser for precise ejector (pusher) operation makes it a cutting-edge material solution from Metso.
Mr. K Satish shared, “The Metso wagon tippler is robust and designed specifically for railway wagons. We are very much concerned about human safety, as heavy, moving machines are involved in the process. Metso’s design significantly reduces the intervention between man and machine. The Metso team has worked extensively on programming the safety interlocks considering all probable scenarios. With the installation of the wagon tippler, the rake turnaround time has considerably reduced and, due to mechanized handling, there is a reduction in material handling loss.” He added, “We are happy with the performance of the equipment and the service support of Metso. Whenever we face any problem or when there is a query from our end, Metso reaches out to us within a day’s time and solves all queries at the earliest possibility. The equipment is very low maintenance and we have been achieving cost savings with it. The spares supplied along with the supply of the complete equipment in 2014 are kept in stock and, to date, have not been used. All the installed equipment requires minimal spares and has a high uptime.”
Mr. BNS Prakash Rao shared, “Knowledge sharing is an integral part of the JSW culture. We share our improvement points with Metso to facilitate their incorporation accordingly. We value Metso’s partnership with us. We are happy with the performance of the equipment and the services rendered by Metso.”
JSW Salem is a part of JSW Group (JSW Steel), which is the largest steel producer in India, shipping to over 100 countries across 5 continents. JSW Salem plant is the largest special steel plant in India and has a capacity of 1 MTPA. It produces more than 850 special grades of steel and, due to its strategic location, it caters to the demanding needs of the major automobile hubs in south India. JSW Steel’s present capacity is 18 MTPA, and the company aims to enhance its capacity in the years to come to produce 40 MTPA. The Salem unit is also committed to increasing its capacity, keeping in line with the vision of the company.