Brush has flown a replacement turbogenerator across the globe to a mine in Australia, in record time with help from the Antonov An-225 – the world’s biggest cargo plane.
The DAX 8-335 generator, which weighs 117 tonnes and has an output of 57.8MW, was needed to replace an identical generator which was damaged because of a water leak at the Worsley Alumina mine in November 2015. It is one of two generators at the site which provides the power needed to drive drills, pumps and other equipment essential to the operation of the mine.
Delivery time in the contract was 20 weeks. To minimise downtime, BRUSH fast-tracked production of the replacement generator, reducing delivery time to just 17 weeks end-to-end.
The Antonov made three refuelling stops during its 8,350 mile flight from Prague, Czech Republic – around 90km from the BRUSH factory in Plzeň – to Perth Australia completing the journey in just 43 hours, saving thousands of hours compared with the six or seven weeks shipping by sea would have taken.
Tomáš Vyčichl, project manager at BRUSH, said: “The fact that the customer has commissioned this one-of-a-kind aircraft to speed up the delivery is testament to the critical role these generators play.”
“Transporting the generator by air involves a number of challenges – we had to attach it to the fuselage using 36 anchor points to guarantee zero movement in flight and we used accelerometers to ensure the forces it experienced were within acceptable limits. We’re pleased to report that the generator has arrived in excellent condition, and it will be installed and commissioned by early June.
“We build our generators to be able to cope with the rigours of decades of operation on site, but unfortunately you can’t account for every eventuality. We’re proud that, working with the DB Schenker logistics team, we’ve helped get the mine back up to full operation in remarkably quick time.
Pavel Lukes, managing director, Europe at BRUSH, said: “The Antonov An-225 is a remarkable piece of engineering which rightly draws attention from the media all over the world on this its’s inaugural commercial flight. But I believe it has been matched in this case by the tremendous efforts of our Czech Republic team to respond to this demanding challenge.”
Owned by a joint venture between two Perth-headquartered businesses, South32 and Japan Alumina Associates, Worsley Alumina is one of the world’s biggest producers of bauxite, the mineral from which aluminium is extracted.