Designing a specialised trailer system to help an extra-large load “creep” under powerlines on its way to the coalfields is the sort of innovation drawing industry attention to TEAM Group.
The Mackay-based firm has made the finals in two categories of the 2016 Queensland Mining Contractor Awards for solutions developed for the Grosvenor mine construction project.
TEAM walked away with a gong from the same awards in 2014 and also won the Safety Foremost Award in this year’s Resource Industry Network Chairman’s Awards.
Sales manager Tom Chambers said the group had a track record as problem-solvers.
“The reason that we’ve been successful is we probably look at things with fresh eyes and from a different angle,” he said.
“We have good experienced people through the ranks, but particularly engineering wise, and they are able to come up with solutions that other people just don’t seem to see.”
TEAM was responsible for the erection of two stackers and two reclaimers at the new Grosvenor mine near Moranbah – a contract largely won due to its ability to come up with a cost-effective way of getting an 83-tonne girder to site from Mackay harbour.
“The people in China who made the machine didn’t take into consideration or weren’t aware of the transport logistics problems with shipping such a big piece,” Mr Chambers said.
The girder – 21.34 m long, 6.35m wide and 6.28 m high – became over-height for road transport once it went onto a loader, he said.
“The height restriction along any transport route in Queensland means anything over 6.5m requires isolation and disassembly of power lines,” Mr Chambers said.
“The options were cut it up into smaller pieces, take it out to site and put it back together – but that would destroy the integrity of the component. It would mean a lot of welding and it had internal strengtheners which would be disrupted, so it wasn’t really a viable option to do that.”
The transport system TEAM designed allowed the girder’s tallest point to sit at the lowest part of a trailer which could be lowered to within 20cm of the road surface to crawl under powerlines.
Mr Chambers said the end result, with no need to take down powerlines, had saved the client about $500,000. The alternative option of cutting down and rebuilding the component wasn’t viable while redesigning, remanufacturing and shipping could have set mine development back as much as two years, he said.
TEAM is also in the running for an award for its approach in lifting a 143-tonne, boomerang-shaped portal frame into place on its mounting points at Grosvenor.
“The manufacturer suggested using two 100-tonne cranes and two 200-tonne cranes. We proposed to use two cranes only,” Mr Chambers said.
This cut complexity and cost out of the job and was achieved through the fabrication of metal shoes that helped the piece roll up rather than slide along the ground during the lift.
“That took a lot of stresses and transfer forces out and was a lot easier on the equipment as well,” Mr Chambers said.
TEAM moved into larger premises in Paget in early July after downsizing very early in the resource industry downturn.
Mr Chambers said the mining supply industry in Central Queensland had switched from a construction phase to a production phase.
“Whilst there have been a lot of cutbacks in spending, particularly in maintenance in the last few years, I think we’re going to see that increase and I do feel that happening now,” he said.
TEAM had recently won a contract to fabricate two rotary breaker barrels for BMA, which will be the first major job to be completed in our new premises, he said.
Mr Chambers said awards like the Queensland Mining Contractors Awards helped raise awareness in the general population about the mining supply sector.
“The other thing is that companies get recognition. I know, after we won that one two years ago, you couldn’t buy the publicity that we got from that.
“It was fantastic. We had magazine articles and were on TV. We were able to use the logos on our marketing.
“When you go tendering on jobs, anything that can separate you from the pack is really significant. It makes a difference.”