Rio-Carb successfully revamps storage bins at smelter furnace

Raw material is collected in the storage bins and deposited into the furnace.

A successful project by Rio-Carb to revamp storage bins at a smelter furnace in the North West Province with Chromium Carbide (CrC) material has extended the lifespan of these bins from 12 months up to seven years.

The raw materials are collected in the storage bins, and deposited into the furnace in a predetermined mixture. Such has been the success of the project that the wear engineering solutions specialist has become a preferred supplier at the mining operation, and has been awarded another furnace storage-bin upgrade project for 2019, Rio-Carb General Manager Sias Suurd reveals.

This is an ongoing project, with Rio-Carb dating its original involvement to 2006. “We have been involved ever since, first on a small scale, and later when our product proved itself, we became the preferred supplier,” Suurd adds.

“Our client has realised a tremendous cost-saving in that the same items now only have to be replaced every five to seven years, instead of every 18 months to two years. This translates into a substantial saving in downtime, labour costs, and production losses,” Suurd explains. A value-added benefit is that the client can now plan regular proactive maintenance in order to minimise potential breakdowns, and also to take advantage of planned shutdowns.

“The planning usually commences towards the end of a year, that is in terms of initial discussions, any changes to drawings, and then the final quotations. Orders are placed from early in the new year, and delivery obviously takes place before the shutdown commences,” Suurd explains. The shutdowns, which last up to six weeks, are always planned for the winter period.

A particular logistical challenge posed by the latest project was to ensure that sufficient 12 mm plate was on hand when the final order was placed. The high-profile furnace revamp for a major mining house is cementing Rio-Carb’s reputation as a total solutions provider.

“Our strategy focuses on designing A-to-Z wear solutions for mining operations. We now have a foot in the door with this particular client, which will stand us in good stead in securing additional work in the area in the near future,” Suurd concludes.

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