VIGAN towers: an ideal way to unload agribulk from barges

Inland water transport is one of the oldest and most sustainable modes of bulk product transportation. The transport of bulk product on rivers and/or along the coasts in small size vessels such as barges is recognized as an economical and environmental alternative to road transportation.

It allows more efficient use of resources and energy: a medium-sized barge of 1,500 tonnes keeps 60 trucks of 25 tonnes off busy roads!

Cheaper transport costs, less fuel consumption, low noise pollution, more security, easier unloading due to the holding capacity of barges — the advantages of water transportation are numerous.

Pneumatic unloaders have been used for many years for the transport of agribulks in barges: the various characteristics and advantages have been widely accepted by the decision makers concerned by the logistic of these products. 


‘Tower’-typeVIGAN pneumatic unloaders are particularly well suited for the unloading of coastal vessels and/or barges with a width (beam) lower than about 15-20 metres. A boom up to 17–18 metres is usually sufficient to reach most of the hold openings and to ensure efficient unloading operations. Very similar to VIGAN NIV unloaders, towers can reach capacities up to 600tph (metric tonnes) per hour.

In comparison with traditional methods such as grabs or other mechanical devices such as excavators or others known as marine legs (usually chain type), pneumatic unloaders have been largely accepted by most operators because they offer several major advantages:

  • quicker cleaning: with the capacity to empty the ship’s hold entirely and quickly. This means a high unloading rate at the beginning of the hold but also during the whole and time consuming final cleaning. Pneumatic unloaders behave as vacuum cleaners: the equipment will efficiently suck the latest product particles down to the hold bottom. Thanks to the telescopic characteristics of their pipes and the rotating capability of the boom supporting the conveying line, the suction nozzle is able to reach the most unreachable corners of the hold. This represents significant savings for the operators: time and money.
  • energy consumption: reduced due to the set-up of technological innovations like the frequency inverters (variators): actually around 0,6 KWT/h.
  • environmental concerns: these are a determining factor in favour of pneumatic unloaders. Transport by barge quite often takes place near urban areas where dust levels must be controlled. Pneumatic unloaders are a totally enclosed system: a ‘jet pulse’ filter (high pressure type and with automatic self-cleaning) ensures minimal dust emission (less than 10 micrograms per cubic metre).
  • manpower and safety: a single worker is able to operate 100% of the unloading operation of a barge. It is quite common that this operator not only manages all the unloading equipment’s main functions thanks to a remote control, but he also takes care alone of all the final clean-up by manually brushing the products around the suction nozzle and/or with the help of an auxiliary skid steer loader. Slow displacement of the suction pipes and intake nozzle are without any doubt safer than in and out movements of grabs.

Suitable for all free-flowing products, pneumatic VIGAN towers can also handle products like soya bean meal, with the use of a cutting nozzle. The cutting nozzle consists of a central suction pipe around which three screws rotate and break the non-free-flowing soya meal. The complete assembly is mounted on a slewing ring with an electrically controlled slewing mechanism, in order to dig a wide trench.


VIGAN has just installed a new tower with a capacity of 200tph at Dossche Mills in Antwerp (Belgium). Due to the dock that has recently been enlarged, the tower enables the discharge of wheat from barges and coasters up to 4,000dwt, to silos. The first unloading took place in March 2014.

The tower is built on a fixed structure. It is equipped with a main electrical motor of 132kW/400V/50Hz. The turbo blower, with direct drive, is controlled by a frequency inverter that reduces power consumption by around 25% in comparison with traditional systems.

The 17.5-metre boom is completely hot-dipped galvanized and is equipped with a gangway all along it for easier maintenance.

The piping is made from hard materials like TRITEN (hardness over 700HB) and HARDOX 450 (hardness of 450HB). Also, the elbow is in wear-resistant Ni-Hard 4 cast iron. One of VIGAN’s clients reports that it has already handled over 7 million tonnes with the same elbow, which is still in operation!

VIGAN’s range of tower type machines can also be on gantries, on rails or on rubber wheels, according to specific customer requirements.


Since the beginning of 2014,VIGAN has received several enquiries for the tower-type machines. These are currently under manufacturing in Nivelles (Belgium), namely for customers based in France (tower 400tph/320kW) and in the Philippines (tower 250tph/160kW).

Other tower projects are also in the pipeline in various continents.

Telestack’s mobile truck unloaders for barge and rail wagon loading/unloading 

Telestack Limited continues to excel in providing innovative mobile bulk material handling systems to its worldwide customer base. This has been emphasized in the manufacturing and development of fully mobile systems for loading barges and rail wagons directly from trucks, wheel loader and grabs. Telestack’s mobile unloaders are designed for a range of applications, with operators greatly benefiting from eliminating the double handling of the bulk material by unloading directly from trucks, wheel loaders and grabs to barges/rail wagons. These mobile solutions offer the performance both in loading rates and environmental qualities of a fixed installation with the added bonus of greater flexibility and mobility on existing berths/ rail yards, to eliminate the need for dedicated port/berth/yard infrastructure or civil requirements.


The range of Telestack truck unloaders is extensive, taking into consideration varying truck sizes, payloads, materials, cycle times, unloading rates and so forth. All Telestack’s products are customized to the needs of the particular client and operation. As with all Telestack products, the mobility and flexibility of the units are the key features. The advantages of mobile systems are being recognized more and more in the industry, with port operators identifying the flexible mobile system as a viable option replacing expensive fixed installations which require civil work, planning permission and (in some cases) an ineffective loading procedure for both barges and rail wagons. The advantage of moving the mobile truck unloader off the site when it is not required is of great importance, especially when the port is not owned by the operator or it is a multi-cargo berth.

Telestack’s mobile truck unloaders offer a range of mobility options for each individual requirement. The tracked mounted option gives the operator unrivalled flexibility when moving around site, as this unit is completely independent of all other systems. There is a diesel engine to drive all functions, with an optional dual-power upgrade available which means the unit can be tracked into position, at which point the three-phase is plugged in and used to power the conveyor belts. This limits the diesel consumption of the units. There are also options for all electric-driven units for all the functions, complete with integrated gen-set for a complete mobile unit. There is an option of rubber track pads on the tracks and wheeled options available which ensures the concrete/asphalt surfaces are not damaged from the tracks. The greater mobility of these units also ensures they can be used in other applications within stockyards, mines and quarries if required, important for possible re-sale value if contracts are finished. There are wheeled options available for a more basic unit which allow the operator or shipper to tow the unit around the site into each position. Telestack can also offer static versions, depending on the specific needs of the client.

Typically, the range of truck unloaders can handle trucks up to 50-tonne payload (tipping or dump truck). The large hopper capacity increases cycle times which increases production rates. As there is such a wide range of trucks available on the market, Telestack can custom-design the hopper area to facilitate the most effective and efficient unloading area, including extended hopper sides, folding sides, flared design, dual access (increased cycle times), integrated fall break and many more. This ensures that the flow rate of each specific material and truck can be defined and taken into consideration during the design procedure. Also, the unloaders can be easily fed from wheel loaders and grab cranes for added flexibility. When handling dry bulk material, the dust suppression measures installed on the units ensure minimal dust emissions when unloading. As seen in figure two, the dust covers, dust extraction and telescopic discharge chute minimize dust emissions in the unloading area and discharge point to ensure a dust free loading procedure.

All of the truck unloaders incorporate a heavy duty apron chain belt feeder, which ensures the surge of material discharging from the truck can be transferred and controlled onto the incline conveyor and barge/rail wagon or auxiliary equipment. Unlike other feeder conveyors which use rollers which would slip under the intense load in the hopper, the chain and sprocket driven belt, ensures there is no slippage and stalling of the feeder conveyor.


Telestack’s range of truck unloaders can also be used with the company’s range of radial telescopic ship/barge loading conveyors. The combination of the mobile truck unloader and the mobile radial telescopic shiploaders offer the ‘perfect’ loading operation directly from trucks to ship/barge. As seen in figures four and five, the radial telescopic technology offers unrivalled trimming capabilities without moving the truck unloading equipment.

The flexibility and mobility of the range of truck unloaders and hopper feeders allow for different perspective for loading rail wagons. For continuous loading directly from trucks, the mobile truck unloaders ensure an efficient loading method while completely filling the wagons without moving the train. The unit includes an operators control cabin built into the unit which allows of the functions of the unit to be operated easily during loading. The unit will move ‘in-line’ with the rail wagon and will load continuously (without stopping) until the entire wagon is filled. This ensures there is no downtime when loading the wagon, the conveyor will only stop when it transfers to the next wagon to start the process once again. The unit is also fitted with an integrated belt weighing system with a large display panel which indicates the amount of material over the system, so the amount of material in each wagon can be easily controlled and monitored. This ensures the operator cannot be liable for any ‘over-loading’ of the rail wagons, which can be a problem, especially when wagon loading directly from wheel loaders.

The radial boom conveyor of the TU 515R mobile truck unloader allows for the wagons to be loaded easily while moving the truck unloader parallel to the rail line — see figures six and seven. The radial feature enhances flexibility for the operator and allows for radial travel 60° left/right, so the unit can be used in range of applications, including bargeloading, stockpiling, feeding other Telestack equipment and many more. This unit can also be easily fed from wheel loaders, which allows for direct feeding from stockpiles on site, especially when trucks are not available or in between the truck cycle time for increased production capacities.

When loading rail wagons directly from wheel loaders and conveyors, Telestack also offers a range of mobile hoppers and radial conveyors to allow the operator to feed and load the wagon at a controlled and safe manner. As shown in figures eight and nine, the tracked mounted mobile hopper can track parallel to the rail line while loading directly into the centre of the rail wagon. This is a much safer way to load the rail wagons, as typically the wagons can be loaded with wheel loaders, however, this can lead to damage to the wagons and possible accidents. The radial conveyor can ‘trim’ all areas of the wagon easily from one single feed-in position, eliminating down-time and ensuring accurate loading.
Telestack also offers a range of rail-wagon unloading systems, which provide another option for the wide customer base. 

These unloading systems take into account a range of differing wagon unloading methods used in the industry, including, side tipping, underground unloading, ‘belly’ dump type and many more. Using its experience within this industry,Telestack customizes these systems accordingly to meet the needs of each application.

Telestack products are fully designed and manufactured in the company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in UK. All products are custom-designed to each specific application — material, loading rate and so forth. The equipment is fully built and tested in the factory before dispatch, with extensive testing of all operations, including electrics, hydraulics, functions and more before being packed for transport (either containers or ro/ro). This ensures high quality design and manufacturing throughout the process and ensures there are no issues with the equipment on site. In terms of installation and commissioning, all units are bolted together (NO welding), minimal hydraulics and electric (plug and socket system), which ensures the units are operational within one week or less.
Blug grabs remain popular in moving bulk by rail and barge 

Since 1965, Blug’s product portfolio has evolved, giving rise to successful quality-based solutions for different applications and environments. The Credeblug company’s target is to offer the highest lifecycle value, heavy-duty grabs for all type of crane and material requirements.

Blug products are present in 52 countries and there are more than 3,000 Blug grabs working around the world. “The year 2014 presents record figures for our grab business,” says Asier Susaeta, the general manager of the company. “Our domestic market’s

activity has been growing since the end of 2013, while our export figures still represent 70% of our revenue,” he says. “Port activity is one of our key sectors and we are really conscious about the market’s new demands concerning product efficiency and evolution. In this sense, our grab features have been completely revised and adapted to each specific application: rail and barge material transportation is one of them,” he concludes.

Grab bulk handling represents an efficient alternative for the loading and unloading stages of transporting bulk product by rail and barge. As with any other heavy-duty process, the design for these kind of applications has to be adapted so that they can be achieved. Blug PR8 electro-hydraulic rectangular grabs (see image 1) are specially dimensioned to achieve good loading ratios and perfect integration with the dimensions of rail wagons. In addition to electro-hydraulic control devices, in the last few years the market demand has shown a clear tendency towards material handling automation. Blug grabs offer a wide range of automation devices for operational parameters control and transmission to improve handling cycle safety and crane operator costs.

Depending on the shape, density and moisture of the material, and the transportation method, the grab family should be adapted to define the most appropriate reference for each project. Grab operational flexibility, in terms of different material handling and movement alternatives, can cover port cargo requirements’ evolution for different scenarios. For bulk material handling, the design of clamshell grabs design is the most suitable alternative. In particular, the CV2 electro-hydraulic model presents a good balance between working speed vs. loading capacity (see image 2).

The Blug grab company has wide experience in barge loading and unloading. Its solutions for that market offer the possibility to customize the design of each grab (orange peel or clamshell type) for each crane technology. For Credeblug, the grab business is conceived as a global activity. Its expertise in engineering and customer-focused developments are without any limitation due to grab technology or working conditions. That’s why the Blug product range one of the most complete grab solutions on the market, offering a quality rope-operated, hydraulic and electro-hydraulic or motor grab catalogue. Blug solutions go from single-rope-operated radio-controlled and automatic grabs, to four-rope or electro-hydraulic high volume grabs that fit any crane, material and production requirements (see image 3). Depending on the crane available for each case, different grab motion could be implemented. To the electro- hydraulic technology previously mentioned, rope-operated or hydraulic motion could be used for different capacity and/or material. The combination of all these factors is capital to obtain a fast return of investment also based on:


  • grab productivity (tonnes per hour) vs. operational costs;
  • purchase investment vs. maintenance costs; 
  • modularity and operational flexibility  
  • operating times (opening-closing-transport movements); and
  • material loss during transportation movement.


In terms of barge material handling, the Blug grab range offers a high-productivity and operational flexibility balance which represents a lower investment and more flexible solution in comparison with continuous unloading systems. One of the most common materials transported in barges, which is also a major commodity in many ports, is coal. For this kind of material, as for any others — like biomass or cereals that can produce high-levels of dust during their transportation — it is important to take environmental protection into consideration. Protecting the environment is one of the key aspects during the design process, and it is probably the main disadvantage for crane-grab type bulk unloading versus continuous ship unloading systems. That’s why grab’s special valves sealing and closing structure, together with shape optimization, complement Blug’s dust-control features by preventing material degradation during continuous handling cycles. This makes them a highly competitive option for these kind of applications.

E-Crane: ideal solution for barge handling 

With rising energy costs and an increasing focus on energy efficiency, transportation by barge is becoming a popular solution to move bulk materials. This method of transportation is one of the most cost-effective ways to move bulk materials from production point to the market.

E-Crane is ideal for barge unloading and can unload barges up to 2,000tph (tonnes per hour). E-Cranes are often used to unload barges in ‘mission critical’ applications where the E-Crane is the only means for unloading. Along with the material handling equipment, E-Crane also offers a turnkey solution for barge handling.

E-Crane’s barge-haul system for moving loaded barges consists of two opposed winches — one forward and one trailing. The winches work in tandem with a continuous steel cable that includes two master links with a hitch rope for tying to the material barge. The two winches are mounted to the dock on either side of the E- Crane.

In some cases, the infrastructure, environment, or other issues at the site do not favour a permanent installation. In this situation, the complete material and barge handling package can be mounted on a floating material handling platform. The floating material handling platform is an ideal solution when there is little or no existing infrastructure or if the flexibility of a floating, moveable system is required. In the case of a barge mounted E-Crane, the barge-haul winches are sometimes located alongside the E-Crane on the barge deck.

As a part of a turnkey project, the barge-haul system can be incorporated into the E-Crane controls, so that the barge-haul can be controlled from inside of the E-Crane operator’s cab. A foot pedal inside the E-Crane cab allows for hands-free barge shifting while the E-Crane operator simultaneously unloads the barge.


Specifically designed for barge unloading, E-Crane is an established and trusted solution in the bulk handling industry, having proven itself at ports and terminals, offering complete solutions that ensure high efficiency and productivity. E-Cranes provide longer outreach ranges than typical material handlers, from 24.8 to 47.8 metres (82 to 157 feet). This outreach allows for unloading any type of barge or ship with minimum cleanup. 

E-Crane duty cycle capacity ranges from 5 to 50 metric tonnes (5.5 to 55 US tons).

The ‘E’ in E- Crane stands for Equilibrium. The E-Crane design is based on an ingenious parallelogram style boom that provides a direct mechanical connection between the counterweight and the load. This unique four-bar mechanism system ensures that the E- Crane remains in near perfect balance throughout its working range. Compared to conventional cranes that require as much as 80% of their available energy just to move the boom, stick, and grab, the E-Crane makes gravity work for you instead of against you, reducing horsepower requirements and power consumption by up to 50% and significantly reducing maintenance and operating costs. Flow-on-demand hydraulics also play a part in lowering power consumption, along with the modular design. This simple, balanced design with modular construction allows for off-the-shelf components for longer service life, but also enables custom solutions.


E-Crane Worldwide is a modern, state-of-the-art engineering and heavy equipment construction company, based in Adegem, Belgium and with subsidiary companies for sales management, technical support and service in The Netherlands (E-Crane International Europe) and Ohio, USA (E-Crane International USA).

E-Crane Worldwide develops turnkey material handling solutions with engineering services, equipment manufacturing, erection, operator/maintenance training and custom tailored on- going service programmes for its clients. 
Richmond Engineering Works teams up with Conductix-Wampfler to supply rail car dumper positioner system for an Atlantic Coast Terminal 

Moving bulk materials — coal, wood chips, grain, aggregate, or biomass — is being done more often by gondola cars rather than hopper cars. Hopper cars sacrifice space due to the bottom chutes and have a high centre of gravity. Hopper dump doors can sometimes leak materials onto the tracks. Gondolas, however, must be picked up and dumped. An increasingly popular method of doing this is the ‘rotary dumper’, which secures the car and turns it completely to dump the contents.

Using a locomotive to position cars into the dumper is slow, inefficient, and inaccurate. A better option is to employ an indexing positioner to move cars into the dumper. Railcar positioners also help reduce or eliminate demurrage fees commonly associated with inefficient or slow unloading methods at export terminals, trans-load facilities, power plants and manufacturing facilities.

One of the terminals on the Atlantic seaboard recently chose a rack-and-pinion style railcar positioner, designed and supplied by Richmond Engineering Works (Pittsburgh, PA). Ken Hunt, engineer with REW, explained that, “the two REW rack-and- pinion-style railcar positioners are believed to be the largest of their kind in North America. They can handle up to 160 car trains with individual cars weighing up to 286 kip (286,000 pounds-force) for a total positioning capacity of nearly 45.8 billion pounds per train. The positioner can index the entire train as a coupled unit into the rotary car dumper or it can handle smaller strings of rail cars.” Hunt added that,“the drive system for this particular project consists of eight 150-HP motors and gearbox assemblies controlled by off-board variable frequency drives (VFDs). One of the many challenges of this project was connecting the motors and other on-board equipment to the off-board controls and VFD’s as the positioner travels along a 400ft runway. It took several consultations with Conductix-Wampfler to specify the right festoon system for the job.

Richmond Engineering worked closely with Tim James, engineered product specialist at Conductix-Wampfler, to arrive at a cable festoon to carry the shielded VFD power cables as well as the control and communication information to the control system. The entire positioner operation is controlled from a remotely located operator house with sensors providing the needed feedback to the operators.

James noted that,“the massive festoon system was factory preassembled on a 53ft steel shipping frame. We believe it to be the largest preassembly we have done to date.” James went on to say, “the cable package consists of eight of 4/ 0 AWG 3 conductor VFD construction power cables one 2/0 AWG, 3 conductor power cable, one 1 AWG, one conductor grounding cable, one 12 AWG, 12 conductor power control cable, one 6×62.5/125 fibre optic cable, and eight 16 AWG, three conductor twisted and shielded pair control/signal cable. Active travel is 340ft, with a loop depth of 10.50ft, and cable weight per loop of 650 pounds.”

The Conductix-Wampfler festoon relies on its heavy duty 360 Series festoon trolleys each with a large two tier support saddle arrangement, 4.00” diameter steel main rollers with precision sealed bearings, 2.50” diameter side guide rollers, and 2.00” diameter anti-lift rollers. The trolleys are hot dipped galvanized with all stainless steel fasteners for corrosion protection.

James went on to say that, ”VFD AC motors operate at high frequency switching speeds which leads to electro-magnetic interference (EMI). EMI can radiate out and interfere with electrical equipment. The VFD construction power cables have the proper shielding to reduce the effects of (EMI), reflected standing waves, voltage spikes and Corona issues. This type of power cable is becoming more common with today’s VFD motors.”


With the success of this project, Richmond Engineering Works and Conductix-Wampfler expect to team up again for future rail car positioner projects.

Keeping a lid on it: railcar covers protect cargo and the environment 

Ecofab designs, manufactures and leases composite railcar covers for a variety of open-top railcars both hopper cars and gondola cars. The Ecofab Cover System, however, is much more than covers. The company is a full service contractor protecting bulk commodities in transit. It offers a complete package including finance, design, construction, service and maintenance, safety and fleet management. Its system offers a zero payload loss capability as well as providing 100% protection from environmental realities like rain and snow. As a result, it has seen a spike in interest from customers which are trying to be good corporate citizens as well as those trying to meet new stiffer environmental requirements.

Most of Ecofab’s customers are mining related, shipping minerals, but its covers are also used to cover grain, fertilizer, sugar, wood chips, and hazardous waste materials.

Product innovation has always played an important role at Ecofab. New products are designed built and tested using latest technologies and state-of-the-art materials in order to provide equipment that is lightweight yet strong enough to provide safe and efficient service. Ecofab’s R&D department has developed several unique railcar cover products in order meet specific customer requirements.

Coal railcars used in most countries in the world are open top railcars. Some locations have adopted the use of chemical surfactants (a mix of chemicals and water) as a means of reducing coal dust from loaded coal trains. The effectiveness of the chemical surfactants is dependent on a number of factors like: mixing rates, water quality, application, type of coal, coal loading, weather, length of journey etc. These chemical surfactants do not stop coal dust losses, they only reduce the dusting from loaded coal trains. Ecofab railcar covers however are unaffected by any of these factors and they don’t just reduce this dust, they stop the coal dust blowing from the tops of coal railcars on both loaded and empty coal trains. Ecofab has now designed and built a new patented railcar cover system suitable for high volume operations. This new design enables both gondola and hopper railcars to be loaded and unloaded without adding any delays to the train. The system is also completely compatible with existing rotary dumpers. Final testing is currently being undertaken before the covers go into trial service.

Ecofab has worked with NASA and major universities in Australia and Canada  investigating railcar cover aerodynamics. This research has led to Ecofab’s latest project in the United States, where planning is proceeding to

trial covering US coal trains in the western United States. This technology has been designed to operate in parallel with existing train loading and unloading operations. These railcar covers are designed for extreme weather conditions, +40° Celsius to –40° Celsius, strong winds and heavy snow. The covers are relatively lightweight and can be retrofitted to existing or new coal railcars, thus providing an environmentally friendly long- term solution to dust losses from open topped coal trains.

These covers will safely and reliably provide 100% commodity containment and protection from the elements. As a bonus, the covers provide considerable aerodynamic drag reduction with potential fuel savings up to 20% dependent upon terrain travelled. The lion’s share of fuel savings is on empty cars where the aerodynamic drag is more significant. On level track, a loaded freight train uses approximately the same amount of fuel as an empty train. The reason for this apparent abnormality is aerodynamic drag. An empty coal train creates lots of turbulence as it is run along the railway track. The wind circulates in each of the empty wagons, significantly increasing aerodynamic drag and therefore requiring extra fuel to haul the train. As fuel costs continue to increase, improving train aerodynamics will become more of a focus for rail operators.

Airborne particulate dusting from railcars can range anywhere from zero to high risk depending on the material. This dusting occurs from both loaded and empty trains. In fact, it is often quoted that there is more dusting from empty trains than loaded trains. Ecofab covers provide 100% containment of bulk commodities from both loaded and empty railcars, leading to elimination of dust losses from open top railcars into the environment. The covers also eliminate the chance of rain or snow compromising or degrading the onboard commodity, which leads to delays in unloading and improved efficiencies with decreased back loading.

With over 40 years’ experience protecting bulk materials in transit, and with fleets currently logging millions of covered railcar miles every month, the Ecofab Railcar Cover System has a proven record of reliability and safety. Ecofab currently has operations in Australia, Canada, United States and South America and shortly in Sub Saharan Africa, Ecofab is a world leader in railcar cover technology. 
FAMAK advanced technologies in service of Slovakian transshipment complex 

FAMAK SA has completed the assembly of automated transshipment equipment for a transshipment complex in Slovakia, with the provision of a wagon tippler.

The transshipment complex for bulk iron ore substrates is equipped with the most advanced process and technological equipment; it facilitates increased goods flow on the railways of the Slovak Republic and represents a competitive alternative to the transshipment facilities of neighbouring countries.

FAMAK SA developed and manufactured the transshipping equipment, which offers high performance and ease of operation.

The purpose of the facility, which has been in operation since 2009 at the Bulk Transshipment Slovakia A.S. site, is the transshipment/reloading of iron ore from broad gauge wagons from Eastern Europe and reloading it into standard gauge wagons, and its subsequent forwarding. The facility is located in the town of Cierna over (the river) Tisou in the southeast of Slovakia. FAMAK SA carried out all the equipment design, construction and commissioning at this facility.

Unloading of broad gauge wagons takes place on the mechanical wagon tippler equipped with the wagon gravity clamping device. The tippler was designed to service four-axle wagons for the transport of bulk materials with a total weight of not more than 100 tonnes, length of 13.9m and height ranging from 3.1 to 3.8m. The locomotive is used to manoeuvre the wagons. After entering the platform of the wagon tippler and stopping, the wagon is grasped with skids fitted to rails, and the wagon is tipped until it is completely empty. In the case of incomplete emptying of the wagon after the rotation action of the tippler, operators can use the electrovibrators which are automatically attached to the wagon’s sides and the wagon is set into the short-term vibration which helps the remaining material to fall out. Unloaded material falls by gravitational force into the funnel hoppers located directly under the tippler’s drum.

The capacity funnel hoppers have been designed with an adequate reserve to allow them to receive material from more than one wagon. The ability to maintain a reserve makes it possible to have a continuous stream of material in the rest of the facility, regardless of the frequency of the wagon tippler operations. The height of the funnel was chosen so that, through the large tilt angles of load-bearing walls, the chance of ore sticking inside the hoppers is minimized, eliminating the need for further electrovibrators.

Between the hoppers and the tippler’s drum, there are built-in gratings, through which the unloaded material pours. Their task is to break down the frozen material and to provide an initial stoppage of polluted material that has overall dimensions larger than the grille/grating’s mesh, which could be mixed in with the ore. Grids are also the bases upon which two drum crushers move. The task of crushers equipped with the fast rotating drum is crumbling/crushing of strongly frozen lumps of ore, which have not been broken after hitting the bars. When necessary, tippler operators start the crushers after the end of the wagon rotation. During the tippler’s operation, the crushers are moved away completely from the funnel’s grating.

At the bottom of the funnel, there are four longitudinal slots in which chain scraper conveyors are built in. Their task is to discharge the material from the funnel hoppers. Scraped ore is moved through the table surface, which at the same time is closing the hopper at its lower section and prevents leakage of the material. Then ore is dumped on the conveyor belt which is situated parallel to the long axis of the funnel, and then it is transported beyond the wagon tippler’s hall and it continues on a Flexowell pocket type belt conveyor. The purpose of this conveyor is to transport material vertically to the height of equipment involved in loading standard wagons. With the vertical conveyor, ore is fed to the horizontal conveyors and transported to the area of the railway track standard gauge wagons for loading. The last part of the conveyor was designed as the transient one and is built directly over the railway. The technology used allows for even distribution of the material inside the wagon.

Controlling devices are located inside the air-conditioned cab control located within the tippler’s hall. The camera system installed at critical points of the technological facility allows for a constant

overview of the equipment and its control. Safe work during the entire unloading is provided by a number of sensors, which are equipped with individual devices, controlling the parameters of their work and the current position. Depending on the types of wagons unloaded and performance parameters of the material reloading capacity is over 1,000 tonnes per hour with an annual capacity of approximately 3.5 million tonnes.

FAMAK SA is among the market leaders in the manufacture of industrial steel structures, machinery and constructions. The company, based in Kluczbork, Poland, has been in operation since 1945, serving customers from all over the world. FAMAK SA produces equipment for the power industry, mining, metallurgy, ports, shipyards and many others, and includes a wide range of stockyard and offshore equipment in its product portfolio. The company also designs and manufactures vertical and continuous transport equipment and various handling systems. FAMAK SA has highly qualified technical-engineering staff with interdisciplinary knowledge and experience, and design development base, who implement the highest technical level in the offered products.

RHC Heavy Machinery: offering a range of barge and rail handling equipment 

RHC Heavy Machinery is a leading provider of complete integrated solutions. Its team of dedicated German and Chinese engineering and commercial professionals have over 200 years’ experience in heavy duty machinery and working with international companies.

The company specializes in industrial products.

Working with experienced manufacturers in China, it ensures that all customer requirements are correctly understood and implemented, and that all quality levels and delivery times are strictly adhered to. 


Depending on the needs of the customer, RHC has a range of options for the transportation of different materials, from and to different locations.

Much of the time, grain is transported by truck or rail to the next terminal or port. Grain is generally produced by farmers in the hinterland of an exporting country. If the grain goes to a river terminal, wagons have to be unloaded by material handlers or waggon tipplers. From the wagon or storage area, the grain is loaded on to barges, which transport the material to larger ports for seagoing vessels or to transshipment systems if the port cannot accommodate seagoing vessels or no port facilities are available.

The same procedure applies in principle to all bulk materials such as ores, coal and others. Scrap handling for steel mills is more complicated. Scrap is normally delivered by seagoing vessels, by barges, by truck or by rail. If the steel mill has to unload the scrap directly from the wagon, material handlers with special right-angled grabs are mainly used. The unloading of barges or river vessels is a hard job for all kind of cranes, because, before shipping, the scrap might have been compacted and unloading needs special high-performance hydraulic cranes. Those cranes are better prepared for the handling of scrap, much faster in unloading and require less maintenance and repair. Such hydraulic cranes can be used for unloading of wagons, loading the scrap to the large size storage area, unloading of barges and river vessels and for sea-going vessel up to Panamax size.

For RHC as supplier of such material handling systems it is important to provide tailor-made solutions to all customers. Depending on the transportation chain, the company provides the wagon tippers, the hydraulic cranes as well as traditional loading and unloading systems for barges, river vessels up to transshipment systems and large size shiploaders and ship-unloaders.

In co-operation with shipyards in South East Asia, RHC is now working on new systems for loading and unloading barges, which will show a serious increase in the working speed of the entire system. 
Loading chutes offers flexible and versatile loading solutions 

For many years, loading chutes have been used for loading dry bulk products into different vessels, such as tanker trucks, open trucks, wagons, ships, barges, etc. The strong point of the loading chute has always been the flexibility and the versatility in respect of being able to load all kinds of dry bulk materials, under virtually all thinkable and unthinkable conditions, and in nearly all known applications, i.e. in ports, in refineries, in cement and power plants, in grain terminals, etc.

For 25 years, Cimbria has produced and installed more than 13,000 loading chutes worldwide, branded Moduflex, where the chutes are being used for loading anything from copper concentrate over fly ash and cement to fertilizer, grain and food stuff. In many cases, the chutes are loading not only one specific product, but many products through the same chutes — for instance in port terminals. Other systems on the market only offers loading in open back trucks, and only with very specific and homogenous products.

This variety can only be supplied due to the versatility of the loading chute, based on the general construction and build. The Moduflex loading chutes are designed with a unique modular construction, which means that the loading chute can be adapted to suit 99% of all known applications within the dry bulk industry, although the parts being used are standard components. This ensures that the operators know that the loading chutes are based on well-founded, known technology that provides the user with quick access to standard spare parts, if a breakdown occurs, so down times are kept to a minimum. On top of this, the Moduflex loading chutes can cater for capacities up to 4,000tph (tonnes per hour) in the standard configuration, and a drop of more than 25 metres. This flexibility can only be achieved using a loading chute, and is not possible in alternative loading systems.

Due to the fact that Cimbria manufactures several hundreds of Moduflex loading chutes every year, the price becomes very competitive, considering the price-quality relationship, and very low life cycle cost for the user. Installation cost of the loading chutes is negligible, as it only requires mounting the chute to the flange of the inlet with a number of bolts and connecting it to power (and pressurized air if the chute is with integral filter).

The Moduflex loading chutes can of course be used in light duty industries for loading grain, bran, food stuff, etc., but also in the heavy duty industries for loading cement, limestone, fly ash, clinker, minerals, etc. Again this versatility is founded in the ability to construct the various parts of the chute in e.g. high density polyamides, abrasive resistant steel, stainless steel, liners in Vautid and/or ceramic compound materials. Furthermore, loading of products with larger particle sizes or very low densities and little structure are virtually completely 


impossible to load, except through a loading chute. No other loading system can offer either the same degree of adaption to specific needs of the users, or the same safety and durability in one piece of equipment.


The proof of this point becomes even more evident when looking at toxic products, or products that need to be loaded in a closed system for hygienic reasons (food and chemicals), as this again is only possible using a loading chute. The demands of food safety and cleanliness within the chemical industry makes it impossible to load products as for instance sugar with any ‘open’ system, that exists on the market. The risk of contamination loading any product for human consumption and almost any chemical base materials in non-sealed systems is unacceptable and in some case dangerous to health. GMO products are another example of material that needs to be loaded within totally concealed systems. In order to avoid such contamination, a closed system with a closing device at the outlet that ensures an active sealing during loading and plugging when the chute is not in use, is required. The avoidance can be achieved by using accessories, FlexClose and FlexSeal, which are available for the Moduflex loading chutes.

Looking at it from a different point of view, the overall purpose of the loading chute is to ensure a dust free loading of the above-mentioned products. The environmental authorities in more and more countries are imposing strict legislation on environmental protection, and enforces these laws vigorously. This means that the ‘duties’ of loading involves 1) protecting the natural environment (air, water, soil), 2) protecting the surrounding (‘neighbours’) environment and 3) the working environment (health and safety). There is no argument against the fact that only loading chutes are able to fulfil all these tasks, and truly provide a dust free situation. Although other systems claim to do so, dust and particles will inevitably escape in the space between the outlet of the material provider (a silo or similar) and the inlet of the chute, e.g. a hopper, a hose or similar. Looking at the products mentioned above, they all have the common characteristic, that they create dust during loading. This dust needs to be confined and dealt with in a safe and efficient way, as spillage and waste of product to ‘the air’ not only means a nuisance to the environment, but also loss of profit. This objective can only be secured in a well aspirated loading chute, which is either connected to a separate filter or is provided with an integral filter.

The third aspect of modern loading is the varied environments where loading takes place. In some case the loading does take place inside, in nice enclosed surroundings, but the vast majority of loadings are done outside, where wind, sun and humidity is affecting the material being loaded and the loading equipment itself. As example if loading is done through a hopper system, the wind will seriously affect the free falling product, creating dust problems, and if loading is done using a simple hose or bag, the humidity in the product will affect the flow and cause disruptions in the loading procedure.

The conclusion can therefore only be, that loading chutes are, for now and for the years to come, a highly attractive alternative within loading systems where you combine flexibility and versatility with efficient loading, and at the same time adhere to the environmental legislation and work safety, that is a must for companies today dealing in loading and transportation of dry bulk commodities. Alternative systems have such a limited usage, that they can only be justified in very few applications, where the conditions and the product are so homogenous, that they will work to the satisfaction of the users. Cimbria Moduflex has built up vast experience — due to the huge installed base — within loading of all kinds of dry bulk materials. This means that whenever we are faced with ever more stringent environmental legislation and/or new demands from companies, we can draw from this experience and very quickly adapt to fulfil these demands.

The Moduflex loading chutes are designed and sold by Cimbria Bulk Equipment A/S, a part of the Cimbria Group of Companies. CIMBRIA was established in 1947 and is today an international organization with 600 employees in 15 companies throughout the world. Cimbria offers equipment and processing plants for the grain and seed industry and transport and conveying equipment for bulk handling.

Grain handling in record time with the SENNEBOGEN 840 at Hamm harbour 

At Hamm harbour a SENNEBOGEN 840 AM Special is at work in a demanding materials handling application. Hourly the machine unloads up to 400 tonnes of wheat from the arriving vessels — including barges. The wheat is then milled and further processed by Jäckering Mühlen- und Nährmittelwerke GmbH.

Wheat flour, starch, and wheat gluten for the worldwide food industry are produced by Jäckering Mühlen und Nährmittelwerke GmbH in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Hamm. To do this Jäckering procures grain from within an 500km radius. Bulk good freighters deliver the grain daily at Hamm harbour, where it is milled and further processed. Jäckering has relied on a materials handling machine from SENNEBOGEN since 2009 for unloading and charging the hopper attached on the harbour building.

The challenge associated with the logistics concept was the depth of the harbour basin in conjunction with the higher positioned silo hopper. In close collaboration with the local sales and service partner, BRR Baumaschinen Rhein-Ruhr GmbH, it was possible to configure the SENNEBOGEN 840 as the optimal machine, and it

has now completely replaced the three former harbour rail cranes. In order to achieve an appropriate reaching depth in the hull, and simultaneously cover the height of the silo hopper, the machine was elevated by 2.7m with a mast. The 840 M Special is powered by a powerful 194kW diesel engine and it has a 20m equipment length with special materials handling kinematics. The all-wheel drive of the wide-gauge undercarriage also ensures flexible implementation of the materials handling machine along the harbour basin.

Equipped with a 3.5m3 double shell grab, operator Suleyman Durmus handles up to 400 tonnes an hour — just under 30 seconds are required for a cycle. Thus the machine already delivers more than the existing hopper can process. From the hopper the grain ultimately goes into the modern milling plants. Approximately 240,000 tonnes are processed each year, the majority of which ends up as starch or wheat gluten in world trade.

For the operator, the 2.6m maXcab, which can move forward, and be elevated by 3.0m, offers the highest level of operating comfort. Together with the armoured glass floor window and an extensive lighting package the operator always has an unrestricted view of the work area, which is very effectively illuminated. Additional railings all around the upper carriage guarantee safe work and easy access for maintenance and service.