To allow the expansion of its cross-Pacific coal exports, Aurora Energy Services (AES) needed to increase the flow of coal through the shiploader at its coal terminal in the Port of Seward, Alaska.
But transfer chutes on the shiploader choked at rates above 750 mtph, which limited loading speed and slowed turnaround. And worse, the escape of coal dust during loading led to concerns from a nearby cruise ship dock and marina, as well as environmental interest groups.
AES officials looked for ways to upgrade the terminals material handling system, and selected the modern conveyor architecture as developed by Martin Engineering. The new architecture’s external wear liner and self-adjusting, double-life skirt board sealing system provided effective containment to prevent dust and spillage escaping from the sides of the conveyor belt.
The components of the system components improve the shiploader’s serviceability, because they are engineered to be accessible from outside the structure. This allows terminal personnel to inspect the components while the system is in operation. Then, if maintenance is required, this work can be done quickly, cleanly and safely, from outside the conveyor and chute.
“When terminal management realized they could increase through-put, improve safety and reduce environmental impact all at once with this new conveyor architecture, they were all for it,” said Terminal General Foreman Vic Stoltz.
With the new architecture conveyor components in place, the Port of Seward has increased the loading rate to 850 mtph, an increase of more than 15 percent. Ship loading time has been reduced by an average of 21 hours, resulting in a significant reduction in demurrage charges. With the improved control of the material stream, there is less dust. Now, operation officials report, cleanup is minimal and the shiploader has been cleaned in less than four hours.
We’ve reduced the cleanup time on the shiploader and dock by over 40 man-hours per ship,” Stoltz said.
AES made improvements to the ship loader’s boom conveyor to improve flow and reduce the escape of dust and spillage.
EVO® External Wear Liners were installed on the load zone’s existing skirt board for improved sealing.