KEW Foundries recently delivered the largest cast sheave wheels in Africa to the Impala Platinum Mine, using a newly acquired vehicle and purpose built trailer.
The sheave wheels will be used on Impala Platinum’s No. 16 Shaft, the first of Impala’s fourth generation shaft complexes. The sheave wheels, with a root diameter of 6.5 m, will be installed as deflector sheaves on No 16 Shaft’s 4-rope Koepe Winders and will enable the mine to lift personnel and ore from a depth of 1602 m below bank.
“As mines get deeper, larger sheave wheels are required to achieve a greater payload for each winding cycle. Traditionally sheave wheels of this size are fabricated from welded steel sections. KEW Foundries, however, is the only company in the world with the capabilities to cast and machine sheave wheels of this size. Cast sheave wheels offer significant cost savings to clients over their fabricated counterparts,” says Jaime Goncalves, Technical Director, KEW Foundries.
In order to keep abreast with anticipated burgeoning market requirements, KEW Foundries has upgraded both its foundry capabilities to manufacture even larger sheave wheels, as well as its logistical capabilities.
The company has acquired a Freightliner Horse with a 530 hp Cummins engine and two additional trailers to its already expansive fleet. This includes the addition of a customised 33 tonne trailer which has been purpose built for transporting sheave wheels. The trailer has been designed by Jeff Palin, Engineering Director, KEW Foundries, and enables the company to transport large sheave wheels, while still being in compliance with the road act. This allows KEW Foundries to guarantee speed of delivery, as the vehicle does not require an escort, and the company can now deliver sheave wheels further into Africa.
Sheave wheels are transported two at a time, in halves using the customised trailer, together with the bearings and hubs required for complete assembly on site.
KEW Foundries provides total cast solutions to clients. The company’s design department is one of the few in the world with the ability to design cost-effective winding solutions either independently, or working together with clients to achieve solutions which meet the demanding requirements of the mining industry.