Hope Downs 4 Crusher: 2022 Steel Excellence Award winner

The Hope Downs 4 Crusher won the ASI’s 2022 Steel Excellence Award in the Western Australian Engineering Projects category.

Rio Tinto’s Hope Downs 4 Primary Crushing Facility in the Pilbara processes iron ore. Excessive levels of vibration were identified, with remediation required to reduce the risk of structure failure due to fatigue. A world-first innovative solution was developed that incorporated a 200 tonne steel isolation frame to the underside of the existing floor and mounting it on air springs. 

Prior to project execution, Rio Tinto’s Primary Crushing Facility at Hope Downs 4 was subject to major vibrations, which required remediation. The project team identified the crusher as the primary source of the vibrations.

The project presented two fundamental challenges. The first was designing a structural form that could be installed in and around existing plant and equipment constraints while having enough robustness and mass to solve the issue. The second challenge was that the solution had to be implemented within the existing shut down periods of no longer than 72 hours.

The project team was able to isolate the crusher from the rest of the facility by installing a 200 tonne steel isolation frame mounted on airbags. The unique design combined technology from trucks, trains and earthquake isolation.

The steel frame consists of custom fabricated steel beams and stiffners which ensured that the design was fit for purpose, and provided adequate form and strength.

The installation of the frame was performed in sequences. First, the end frames were installed outside the existing building envelope. Then, the central frame was rolled in and lifted into place with large splice connections. 

The isolation frame was designed to act as an independent structure, with minimal interfacing with the existing primary crushing facility. The isolation unit’s sub-frame support structure, was able to be installed with little to no disruptions to the operations. The result was lower vibrations, lower risk for workers, minimal production impact and reduced maintenance costs.

Project team 

  • Entering Organisations: BG&E Resources
  • Structural Engineer: BG&E Resources, Engineering
    Dynamics Consultants
  • Head Building Contractor: Linkforce
  • Distributor or Manufacturer: InfraBuild, Southern Steel, United Steel
  • Steel Fabricators: Linkforce
  • Steel Detailers: CADDS

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