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Case Study: Bonfiglioli helps power Rio Tinto's rail expansion

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article image Bellingham Engineering’s monorails with 8t hoists powered by Bonfiglioli gear units

A compact range of helical bevel gear units from Bonfiglioli Transmission (Aust) is powering rail hoists for Rio Tinto’s Rail Capacity Enhancement Project in Karratha, Western Australia.

Selected for their proven reliability under all conditions, the powerful Bonfiglioli A series drives were specified by Bellingham Engineering for Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s project involving the expansion of its iron ore export capacity to 280 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

Bellingham Engineering was contracted to design and construct a long welded rail crane for the new eight-mile flash butt welding facility in Karratha. A high quality gearbox that could withstand adverse conditions such as high heat and cyclonic weather was required for the application.

The rugged and durable Bonfiglioli A 05 2 and A 90 4 helical bevel gear units, which provide 1.1kW and 7.5kW of power respectively to traverse hoists, allow Rio Tinto to lift up to four pieces of railway at once, greatly increasing their operational efficiency. The A series units are functionally designed with a large ratio range of 1700 to 1 in a single gearbox with up to four reduction stages. Based on the particular A Series unit used, power outputs range from 0.09kW to 55kW, with torques from 150-14,000.

According to Bellingham Engineering Project Engineer, Mr Mat Bates, the Bonfiglioli gear units have a good gearbox, a nice paint finish and non-rust assurance. Having used Bonfiglioli drives in past projects, the company is confident of their reliable performance. Mr Bates was also impressed with the Bonfiglioli engineers for their efficiency and reliability during installation.

The Karratha project involves an extension of a rail welding facility with a long-welded rail crane consisting of 27 monorails, each with an 8t hoist and specialised rail grab unit. All 27 hoists can be operated simultaneously. This crane is capable of picking up 400 metres of rail at once, which can either be taken to storage bays, or loaded onto trains for transportation.

Key features of Bonfiglioli’s A Series helical bevel gear units selected for the Karratha project include a wide ratio range (with up to four reduction stages), allowing one gear unit to be used in place of two previously, saving space and cost; operating efficiencies enhanced by high performance helical bevel gear pairs, including significant energy savings; lower noise levels by locating the bevel gear pair on the second reduction stage of the gear motors; and mono bloc universal housing for optimum sizing and perfect gear alignment, adding to the total noise reduction of the units.

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