Doppelmayr Transport Technology has come up with an innovative way to connect Cementos Progreso SA’s crusher with its new San Gabriel cement plant using RopeCon® material transport technology.
The San Gabriel cement plant is located some 35 km northwest of Guatemala City, Guatemala, where Cementos Progreso produces some 2.2 Mt/y of cement for the local market. The limestone needed for the process is mined in a quarry around 200 m lower than the cement plant, with the terrain between the crusher in the quarry and the plant being hilly and wooded and stretching over a distance of 1.58 km.
The company had been planning to build a new cement plant for some time yet, among other things, the project required an innovative solution to transport the limestone and marl from the crusher over the hilly terrain to the processing plant.
By using RopeCon to transport the limestone between the crusher and the processing plant Cementos Progreso is able to cross the terrain in a straight line despite the topographical situation. This means that a gradient of 22° is reached where the terrain is steepest.
Because the RopeCon belt is fitted with axles with running wheels at regular intervals, no additional cleats were required to tackle that gradient.
The system requires no more than four towers over its entire length and, thanks to the long rope spans between the towers, the amount of space required on the ground can be reduced to a minimum.
The need to interfere with vegetation remains limited to a small number of points and the track does not represent an insurmountable obstacle for wildlife or humans, according to Doppelmayr.
The RopeCon installation has now taken up operation. The material is loaded onto RopeCon by a feeder conveyor and unloaded at the unloading station via a housed-in chute. Some 2,100 t/h of limestone and marl is transported to cover the demand for cement production using a 1,680 kW motor operating at a speed of 3.6 m/s.
RopeCon has been developed by Austrian ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr to offer the benefits of a belt conveyor as well as those of a cable car by “successfully combining what is best in both technologies”, according to the company.
The system is currently in use for a variety of material transport applications and consists of a cross-reinforced continuous flat belt with corrugated side walls driven and deflected by a drum in the head or tail station. The belt is fixed to axles arranged at regular intervals, which support the belt. Running wheels are fitted to either end of the axles. These run on track ropes with fixed anchoring and guide the belt.
The three track rope pairs form the line structure for the system and are elevated off the ground on tower structures. The system, therefore, requires only a minimum of space on the ground and is ideally suited for difficult terrain and to cross obstacles of all kinds.