Great teamwork and reliable technology minimise plant disruption

January 19, 2015 Peter Brockmann

When plant equipment fails, replacement technology is not the only answer. Teamwork plays a vital role in ensuring operations get quickly back to normal. 

Something was amiss at the Tahama Cement Plant in Saudi Arabia. The gearbox installed on one of its mills had not been meeting performance requirements, and when the gearbox failed, a quick solution was needed to get the mill back into operation. Meanwhile on another of Tahama’s mills, an FLSmidth MAAG® gearbox had consistently been performing to expectations. So when the decision had to be made for a replacement gearbox, the choice fell on FLSmidth MAAG. 

The Tahama Cement Plant is owned by Southern Province Cement Company (SPCC), one of Saudi Arabia’s leading cement producers. SPCC operates three cement plants with a total cement production capacity of over 8.4 million tpy. The Tahama plant produces more than 3.63 million tons of clinker a year. As of March 2015 the production will be even further increased to 5.45 million tons a year.

Peter Brockmann, Field Service Engineer at FLSmidth MAAG, arrived at the Tahama plant soon after the gearbox failure. The old gearbox had already been removed and Peter and his colleagues could quickly get to work. The project consisted overall of two parts. First, the foundation needed to be prepared. Then the gearbox could be installed, aligned and tested.

Uncovered break of auxiliary drive to show design – prior to installation of break guard

Peter Brockmann explains the challenge of preparing the foundation,

“The foundation of the previous gearbox was quite complex and not compatible with the FLSmidth MAAG CPU. So the first part of the project involved completely overhauling and renewing the foundation.”  - Peter Brockmann, Field Service Engineer at FLSmidth MAAG

SPCC was aware of this challenge, and it was one of the main reasons FLSmidth MAAG had been chosen. Yet SPCC wanted assurances that the new gearbox would meet its performance requirements, as any potential malfunctions and resulting downtime would be costly. This is where FLSmidth MAAG’s professionalism and expert knowledge of the particular demands of a cement mill came to the fore. The installation engineers brought a professional attitude and they knew it was important to work as a team with the site’s staff, especially as time was of the essence. 

Peter Brockmann says, “Our client wanted to know that we could make everything work despite the challenges of the project. It was important that the foundation was prepared properly so that the gearbox would have optimal conditions. We were confident we could deliver to SPCC’s expectations as we brought many years’ practical experience to the challenge and had completed many similar projects before. The key, especially when you have to work at speed, is teamwork, which involves communicating and everyone taking responsibility for specific tasks.”

Preparing the foundation
The replacement of the foundation started with positioning and roughly aligning the gear unit to the mill. This included the precise control of the mill input flange and mounting the coupling connecting the mill to the gearbox. 

With the gearbox fixed and grounded, the oil system and piping could be installed. This was followed by testing the oil system before the equipment was flushed. Then, as the last steps before the final spin test and hot commissioning of the mill, the protection interlocks were tested and the motor and gear unit were aligned. 

Today, the mill is once again fully operational thanks to the FLSmidth MAAG CPU and the quick response and professionalism of the SPCC and FLSmidth MAAG teams.

Read more about FLSmidth MAAG™ CPU Central Mill Gear Unit here>>

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