AusRAIL, Market Sectors

World first technology at FMG rail yard

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Fortescue Metals Group has introduced world-first technology at its Thomas rail yard upgrade in Port Hedland. Parsons Brinckerhoff was engaged as EPCM contractor for the facility, which incorporates breakthrough semi-automated rail maintenance workshop facilities. </span> <p>By Mike Foley<br />&nbsp</p><p>Upgrades to Thomas yard are needed to accommodate FMG’s expansion of its iron ore output with additional rail infrastructure.</p><p>The workshop was designed and equipped for FMG’s expansion to 155mtpa. It will be able to service more than 3,000 ore and ancillary wagons.</p><p>Essentially, the new workshop automates machining and maintenance of bogies, wheels and axles and the progression of rail cars through the facility.<br />Parsons Brinckerhoff says its design achieved a 30% reduction in area occupied by the building workshop building compared to an alternative design by another consultant.</p><p>The automation of maintenance processes and new control and information systems have reduced the original staffing requirements from 30 down to about 12, by reducing the number of operational staff and the number of shifts needed.</p><p>Brian Marsden, general manager rail and ports, Parsons Brinckerhoff Asia Pacific, initiated the concept design, engineering, procurement, construction management (EPCM) contract for the upgraded facilities and maintenance workshop.</p><p>“The extra cost of the automation was in the order of about 15% of the total cost of the workshop. A cost benefit analysis showed that the reduction in staff costs and workshop size will pay for the additional cost of the automation in less than 18 months,” he said.</p><p>Marsden explained that cars move between maintenance stations with millimetre-precision, meaning simple maintenance tasks such as machining and maintenance of bogies, wheels and axles can be partially automated.</p><p>According to Marsden, there is even more which could be done in this, and future facilities to improve efficiency and safety.</p><p>“This concept, when applied with an understanding of its potential, has applications throughout the railway world. We expect a lot of interest,” he said.</p><p>Originally published in the Australian Journal of Mingin: <a href="" target="_blank"></a><br />&nbsp</p>