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Mammoet’s Move3D facilitates ball mill exchange at Australian refinery

Mammoet uses its Move3D engineering software to exchange a ball mill at an Australian alumina refinery.

Mammoet’s Move3D engineering software has facilitated a ball mill exchange using SPMTs and cassette towers at an alumina refinery in Australia.

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Due to its age, the ball mill needed to be replaced; located at the very centre of one of the largest alumina refineries in Australia, the jobsite presented extreme difficulties with access limited due to the narrow clearances. By employing its proprietary Move3D engineering software in combination with traditional 2D drawings, Mammoet engineers meticulously planned every aspect of the operation, taking into account the mill’s challenging location with tight clearances and limited accessibility.

The use of hydraulic cranes or gantries was not suitable due to the spatial limitations of the plant. In lieu of this, Mammoet developed a solution using a ‘jack and pack’ system, deploying SPMTs and strategically positioned cassette towers, with four internal towers placed on the SPMTs and four external towers positioned on the ground adjacent to the trailers. By adding or removing jacking cassettes, the team could control the height of the mill by redistributing the load between the internal and external towers via the SPMT’s hydraulic suspension.

The process commenced with the removal of the aging mill. The internal cassette towers were pre-assembled to a specific height on the SPMT, which was then manoeuvred underneath the mill and then raised until the mill was clear of its foundation. Leveraging the steering capabilities of the SPMT, the mill was then transported off site, navigating congested areas. To complete the replacement, Mammoet reversed the process and installed the new ball mill.

Mammoet was able to complete the project in the live plant with minimal disruption to the ongoing work; a big part of this came down to the Move3D engineering software. With no as-built drawings available of the plant, Mammoet utilised a point cloud scan provided by the customer to generate an accurate representation of the plant in its current state within Move3D, facilitating a comprehensive visualisation of the entire operation. Liam Bradburn, Mammoet’s Engineering Manager, underscored the role of Mammoet’s Move3D software in enabling the safe and successful replacement of the mill.

“The customised ‘jack and pack’ system allowed us to manoeuvre the mill in and out of the live plant,” he said, “with minimal disruption to the existing infrastructure and ongoing production.”


Mammoet uses its Move3D engineering software to exchange a ball mill at an Australian alumina refinery.
From computer visuals to reality. Image: Mammoet.
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