The transportation of a cyclone separator for a blast furnace plant in Duisburg was a sensational finale for a substantial major order at Hilgefort GmbH in Dinklage, Germany.
Sunday, 7 a.m.: Formidable component parts emerge from the early morning mist.
“It’s the top and bottom section of a cyclone separator made from heat-resistant steel, which will be used to filter sold particles out of the exhaust air of a blast furnace,” explains Thomas Kolbeck, Project Manager at Hilgefort. “The two component parts are so large that they can only be transported separately by road to the inland port near Meppen. They are then shipped along the Dortmund-Ems Canal to the pre-assembly site. Both parts are then assembled and transported by ship once again to the final assembly and installation site in Duisburg.”
With the top section measuring 7.50 m tall, 17 m long and weighing 104 tons and the bottom section measuring 7 m tall, 19 m long and weighing roughly 87 tons, together these components form the largest system to have left the Hilgefort GmbH production site in Dinklage in recent years.
Four special cranes, each with a load-bearing capacity of 200-240 tons, ensure the component is seated on the specialised transport with millimetre precision.
Maximum concentration: 104 tons had to be evenly distributed across 14 axles.
Even leaving the hall requires precision work.
“In the final phase of this thrilling job we had to find a transport company that could handle the logistics of such a heavy load,” explain Florian Rönker and Sebastian Espelage, engineers at Hilgefort. Four special mobile cranes were brought in, ready for loading in the production hall. Along the entire route, traffic lights and signs were temporarily removed, kerbs had to be reinforced and an almost 50-strong team followed the transport metre-by-metre on its route to Meppen.
Every junction becomes an obstacle, every curve an adventure.
The demands of this project were high: Once work began at the end of June 2016, there were only three months available for production planning and control. Both components are manufactured from 15-50 mm thick boilerplate. Each individual welded seam is tested in accordance with ISO 5817b and the stress-relief heat treatment was performed by Hilgefort in their own annealing furnace. A flange connection had to be face-milled onto the component at a working height of 7.50 m. The entire bottom section of the cyclone separator is lined with stainless steel and there are retaining points on the top section for ceramic tiles. The tiles can only be fitted once the top section is in the steel works for weight reasons.
Ulrich Hilgefort, Managing Partner of Hilgefort GmbH
Ulrich Hilgefort (pictured) had the following to say about this major order:
“In light of the components on the heavy goods vehicles, I am already quite proud of what we have achieved in the past few months: Thousands of man-hours, around 200 tons of stainless steel and countless accessories went into the production of the cyclone separator for Krupp Mannesmann. Now over the next couple of hours we can look back on a job well done and take pleasure in having successfully completed it in the time frame and on budget. Then it’s back to work as usual. Tomorrow we start working on a new order.”
The two components are joined together in a hall at the port
After the welded seams have been inspected by X-ray, the system is ready to be loaded for the last section of the journey
For decades, Hilgefort GmbH has developed an international reputation for manufacturing particularly large and complex plant components. With factory premises covering 7.5 hectares, a hall capacity that takes components up to 100 m in length and modern machinery for machining and cutting-to-size sheet metals measuring up to 300 mm thick, Hilgefort processes on average 6000 to 7000 tons of steel, stainless steel, copper and aluminium. The company provides services ranging from detailed engineering and plant production to transport and on-site turnkey assembly. Hilgefort GmbH can also provide evidence of the required international approvals for compliance with quality and safety standards. This includes ASME certification (the ASME “U” and “S” stamps), for example. Hilgefort GmbH offers extensive expertise for major projects for industrial businesses from all sectors, with special focus on the design and construction of rotary kilns, pressure vessels or containers with other specific properties. Nevertheless, conventional pipework, steel and stainless steel construction, as well as apparatus construction are all in good hands with Hilgefort.