Successful Replacement of Ship Loader Festoon Systems

Installation of two new pre-assembled festoon systems during a very short maintenance time frame.

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Terminal Maritimo Ponta da Madeira (TMPM) is a private maritime terminal owned by Vale Mining Company located next to the city of São Luiz, in the State of Maranhão, northeast region of Brazil. It is connected to Vale’s Serra do Carajás Project, the largest iron ore deposit in the world, located in the State of Para.

In 2017, 168 million tons of iron ore were exported (approx. 46% of vales iron ore production in 2017), making it the no. 1 terminal in Brazil and the no. 3 terminal in the world based on load volume. Due its natural depth, TPTM is one of the few deep-water terminals able to serve Valemax (Chinamax) ships, that are the largest bulk carriers ever constructed, when measuring deadweight tonnage (380 to 400,000 DWT) or length overall (360m), and are amongst the longest ships of any type currently in service

Conductix-Wampfler has been supporting Vale’s with a different range of products, from motorized reels for stacker reclaimer, trailing cable reels in electric shovels and festoon systems for stacker and ship loaders.

According to Conductix-Wampfler’s Mining Market Manager in Brazil, Mr. Lucas Talhadas, first meetings with Vale’s Maintenance Team regarding downtime issues with the festoon systems installed in the 35 years old Zanini-Italimpianti ship loader started approximately 5 years ago. This ship loader is the largest in the terminal, having the double of the capacity of the second largest machine, is considered one of the most strategic machines in the terminal. Reducing downtime and maintenance time frames were critical to enhance productivity, because cost with penalties were very high.

The two legacy festoon projects were interconnected through a cable package with continuous lengths all the way down to the substation. The individual replacement of cables and trolleys was very time consuming and the challenges with downtime remained unchanged.

In order to start changing this situation, several interviews held with key users were essential to map the customers’ needs: safety, easy of system replacement and maintenance, availability and most important of all, reduce downtime to zero. The scope of the project included disassembly of the old system, delivery and installation of the new system, electrical connection and final commissioning.

“Users were used on having problems and downtime with the legacy festoon system and the idea that a new festoon system could run with minimal corrective maintenance seemed revolutionary” says Mr. Cleuber Souto, Head of Vale’s Implementation Engineering Team.

Getting the trust of Vale’s Team and showing that a festoon system could indeed work for many years with minimal corrective maintenance downtimes was essential for the project’s go ahead. Having the pre-assembled system in the factory increasing safety in the job site and at the same time reducing installation mistakes, such as having the trolley trays cable weight distribution balanced properly and have the festoon loops set and adjusted in the factory were far easier and reliable than doing it at high heights. The below video was used to show Conductix-Wampfler’s capabilities with Pre-Assembled Systems and Retrofit On-Site.

Pre Assembled Festoon Systems -- Fast & Easy Installation/Retrofit On-Site

The first great challenge was to have the entire system components delivered before the next maintenance timeframe planned to January 2018. The second challenge was to optimize the installation time, by having all systems components installed during the very short maintenance time frame, allowing the customer to minimize the crane downtime.

The only way to meet both challenges, was to deliver the two new festoon systems preassembled, install additional junction boxes and have the internal static wiring redone, not only to reduce installation downtime, but to optimize and reduce preventive maintenance time in the future.

Festoon System 1: 13 trolleys, 4 cable supports per trolley
Cable package: 116 cables of 72 meters each – 7410 kg of cables

Festoon System 2:15 trolleys, 3 cable supports per trolley
Cable package: 69 cables of 106 meters each – 6832 kg of cables

  • Medium Voltage Cables – reducing overall festoon trolley and system weight
  • Low Voltage Control Cables
  • Around 12 Fiber optic cables for high speed data transmission

The new festoon systems were designed and engineered by Conductix-Wampfler’s Center of Excellence (CoE) in Weil am Rhein, Germany and the expedited cable sourcing, festoon system support frames and pre-assembly were made by Conductix-Wampfler’s Brazilian manufacturing plant in Itu-SP, Brazil. The project was only made possible by Conductix-Wampfler’s Global Footprint, through the strong cooperation between our Headquarters in Europe and our local presence in Brazil.

Pre-Assembly and packing of two new festoon systems 0360 series in Conductix-Wampfler’s Brazilian manufacturing plant in Itu-SP, Brazil

With a total weight of 15 tons, the systems were raised to a height of 40 m and moved as planned to the runway beam on the crane.

As it is critical equipment for the customer's process, the challenge was to guarantee the operation of the equipment in a very short stop for the Festoon system replacement. The installation and commissioning involved different areas of Vale such as: Maintenance Team, Maintenance Engineering Team, Implementation Engineering team and Operations Team, responsible for defining opening the installation and commissioning time frame. On Conductix-Wampfler’s side, the support provided by Center of Excellence Team in Germany, Operations and Sales Team in Brazil rounded up the teamwork that culminated with the successful project.

“It is very satisfying to see five months after the installation that a significant improvement in the performance of the machine could clearly be evidenced by our team. It changed our perception, by showing that a festoon system can be run with minimal corrective maintenance” said Mr. Souto when asked about the new systems performance.