Matthew Dahms

Innovation:
Shiploader Conveyor Bridge

Associate Mechanical Engineer, Aurecon; BE (Mechanical), University of Queensland

The Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal in Queensland.

Matthew Dahms’s industrial design aesthetic focuses on simple solutions to complex problems. This principle is exemplified in his design for the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) shiploader boom conveyor system.

By adopting an unconventional conveyor belt specification and looking beyond the established design, Dahms was able to replace the fixed material transfer chute at the machine’s boom pivot point with a simple articulated bridging frame.

This design results in fewer moving parts and wear items, a reduction in the shiploader and jetty conveyor lift height — resulting in a potential 700 MWh reduction in annual power consumption — and a reduction in the height of the supporting topside marine structures.

Sustainability-driven design for every stage of a project lifecycle is a goal that all design engineers can pursue.

The WICET design demonstrates that step changes are possible even for industry-leading designs, and that sustainability-driven design for every stage of a project lifecycle is a goal that all design engineers can pursue regardless of the industry.

Dahms began work on the WICET shiploader conveyor system during the concept study for the machine in 2008.

Dahms understood that the key to minimising the size of the design lay at the heart of the machine: the conveyor system. This results in fewer moving parts and wear items.

The conveyor is designed to load vessels at up to 8250 t per hour.

The WICET design requires one less conveyor pulley than the legacy design, and does away with the fixed transfer chute and wear tiles that require regular maintenance, as well as the belt cleaning scrapers that contribute to belt cover wear.

Since conveyor transfer chutes can be in locations where material spillage occurs, taking the fixed transfer chute from out of the WICET design removes a potential material spill location, and reduces clean-up labour and the environmental footprint.

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