Boral’s Berrima Cement Works facility in NSW makes a significant contribution to Australia’s cement production, manufacturing up to 60% of the cement products consumed in NSW and the ACT, and an array of construction products used domestically and internationally.
Boral’s manufacturing process involves heating limestone and other elements to extreme temperatures to produce clinker, which is then ground down into a base cement powder. To maintain the performance of its clinker-producing kiln, in January each year Boral delivers a planned shutdown – an event Coates Industrial Solutions has supported for 27 years.
While annual shutdowns are critical for maintaining the performance of Boral’s plant, they require a halt to production while the schedule of works is performed. To minimise this disruption, it’s important that these events are delivered safely, efficiently and cost effectively.
The key challenge for Boral is having the right tools, equipment, consumables and other items on site, when and where they need them, to support the large influx of contractors. “A lot of work goes into planning the annual shutdown, to make that sure Boral has everything it needs on site, tagged, maintained and ready for use,” says Scott Roy, Coates Operations Coordinator. “This is a process that we have refined over the many years that we have been working together.”
In addition to the planned maintenance activities, fast turnaround was needed on a spot cooling system to provide temperature relief for the contractors servicing the kiln’s conveyor in the 50-plus degree heat of the shed. To achieve this, an extreme air-cooling system was required for the area directly above the heated conveyor system that usually carries red hot clinker.
Coates Industrial Solutions partnered with Boral to provide a comprehensive managed tool store solution, that included tracking, managing and optimising customer-owned consumables via SiteIQ. In response to the scheduling changes, Coates’ specialist Power & HVAC team was also asked to design and install a standalone spot cooling system for the area directly above the heated clinker conveyor belt in the kiln.
This extreme cooling system featured two Air Handling Units (AHUs) that were craned onto a walkway adjacent to the conveyor, and 100m of hose running down to the remaining equipment on the ground below. Coates then combined two pumps with a 200kW Fluid Chiller to feed 6C water to the AHUs, allowing them to supply cool air to the contractors working in that area. Coates also supplied a 250kVA generator, 4500L fuel cell and LG17 distribution board to power the bespoke cooling system.
A chiller being craned into position
“Working around the conveyor area was tough as the heat was intense, even for the short periods that we were in that space, so we were happy to be in a position to help the contractors working in there,” says Kurt Edwards, Coates Power & HVAC Manager.
From packing the equipment at branch to commissioning the system on site took just 36 hours. “From start to finish, this whole operation went very smoothly and highlighted Coates’ ability to respond quickly and appropriately to the immediate needs of customers, which is key to what we do,” says Kurt.
The setup took 36 hours from mobilisation to commissioning
To help Boral deliver its shutdown safely and efficiently and get the Berrima plant back to production, Coates provided all the support Boral required, regardless of the original project scope. “Whatever they needed, we were usually able to track it down or make it happen pretty quickly,” says Scott.
This unique approach made a notable difference to Boral, says Mick Davis, Asset Planning Superintendent at Boral Berrima. “When we asked Coates to get hold of something quite urgently, they managed to get it on site within a couple of hours,” Mick says. “When Boral runs out of something, our purchasing system can take time to source it, but Coates has the scope and willingness to quickly meet our needs.”
According to Mick, the investment Coates makes in its fleet and the proactive approach it takes to growing its project scope adds further value to Boral’s shutdowns. “When Coates is offering its high-quality, innovative and cost-competitive equipment and solutions, we would be mad not to work with them on these occasions,” he says. “The power and HVAC solution that Coates provided for our recent shutdown is another good example of Coates stepping up to meet our needs.”
Mick describes Coates’ communication and continual improvement as additional benefits of this longstanding partnership. “They are strong on engagement and usually get in contact at least a few months before our shutdown each year to start our planning discussion,” he says. “The same is true of the de-brief process, with Coates initiating discussions around what they can do better and what we can think about changing. This focus on improvement helps Boral to improve the delivery of its shutdowns year on year.”
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