Bulk Handling News - Bruks Siwertell customer magazine issue 1, 2021

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US recovery signals cement import boom







CONTENTS 4 News in brief 8

US recovery signals cement import boom


Millions on the line: compare the right figures


Dust-tight ship loading transforms southern USA grain export site


Dedicated grain terminal keeps Israel’s foodstuffs flowing


24 Corrosion, compaction and capacity: salt handling challenges overcome with ease 28 Opportunities await for higher capacity grain handlers 32 Aggregate stockpile system increases production capacity at Alabama mine 35 Our People: Anna Miles


ABOUT BRUKS SIWERTELL GROUP Bruks Siwertell is a market-leading supplier of dry bulk handling and wood processing systems. With thousands of installations worldwide, our machines handle raw materials from forests, fields, quarries and mines, maintaining critical supply lines for manufacturers, mills, power plants and ports. We design, produce and deliver systems for loading, unloading, conveying, storing, and stacking and reclaiming dry bulk materials, alongside equipment for chipping, screening, milling and processing wood for the the bioenergy, biofuel, board, sawmill, pulp and paper industries. An extensive global service team offers support to Bruks Siwertell customers whenever and wherever it is needed. bruks-siwertell.com

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A platform for change Dear reader, We believe that one of the greatest platforms for positive change is a business and its personnel. For Bruks Siwertell, we are committed to leveraging our technology, our people, and our industry influence to drive sustainable development. This year we will further develop our sustainability plans and the framework for our sustainability policy. We will be transparent, engage with our stakeholders, and carry out analysis, and then implement and evaluate our sustainable development goals.

Bulk Handling News is a customer magazine for the dry bulk handling industry. The opinions expressed by the authors or individuals interviewed do not necessarily represent the views of Bruks Siwertell. Publisher: Bruks Siwertell AB, P.O. Box 566 Gunnarstorp SE-26725 Bjuv, Sweden Editors: Emily Brækhus Cueva emily.cueva@bruks-siwertell.com Malin Pekberg malin.pekberg@bruks-siwertell.com Lindsay Gilliland lindsay.gilliland@bruks-siwertell.com Editorial assistant: Anette Andersson anette.andersson@bruks-siwertell.com Layout and production: Metamorf Design Group AB Image sources: Shutterstock and Bruks Siwertell Printed by: Exakta This magazine is printed on responsibly sourced paper and conforms with Svanen eco-label and FSC-certification standards.

We already offer the most environment-friendly dry bulk handling products on the market, but we understand that this alone is not enough. We must continue to make our equipment more energy efficient, integrating new digital technologies if they hold the promise of this, and consider the environmental, social and economic impact of our entire business operations. Carbon transition will continue to be on the agenda, as the realization of achieving a net-zero carbon world by 2050, which under the 2015 Paris Agreement will help curb the worst effects of global warming, means that urgent action is needed. Our systems are at the forefront of bioenergy and biofuel handling and processing; we are ready to help any operator offset carbon emissions through co-firing biomass at an existing coal-fueled power plant, or for those wanting to make a complete switch over to biomass. We continue to operate within the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, but as this issue of Bulk Handling News reveals, we are seeing significant appetite for recovery and growth. This is evidenced from the US cement market, through to grain and salt handling, and includes new territories, such as the US aggregate sector. We hope that our drive to be at the forefront of sustainability will create a momentum that accelerates positive change on a global scale.



NEWS IN BRIEF Speaking your language, understanding your business Bruks Siwertell has updated its website so that customers and stakeholders have access to a greater sense of the advantages that it can bring to each of the industries that it serves. “Essentially, if an industry handles dry bulk materials, everything from biomass, cement, fertilizer, grain, pellets, sulfur, iron ore, salt, sugar, nickel, copper, zinc and urea, to wood, our technology can invariably help,” explains Emily Brækhus Cueva, Director Marketing Communications, Bruks Siwertell. “These new industry pages help us strengthen our identity within different sectors, enabling customers to recognize a shared understanding of their challenges and how our solutions and decades of experience can help,” she adds. In addition, Bruks Siwertell has introduced website information in ten different languages including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Later this year, Japanese will be added to the list. If a preferred language is not present on the website, the option to contact Bruks Siwertell and request further assistance is also available.

“Being able to offer information in many languages is a great step towards our customers, suppliers, and industry audience,” says Brækhus Cueva. “Our aim is to be able to answer queries about products and services, or give insights into the industries that we are active within, in local languages. “The better our understanding is, the better we can help to deliver the most efficient solutions for maintaining, and advancing, different aspects of various industries’ supply chains. It also delivers the most profitable and sustainable return on investments,” concludes Brækhus Cueva.

Enviva expands truckreceiving facilities at South Carolina plant A new truck-receiving system has recently been delivered to Enviva, a global energy company specializing in sustainable wood bioenergy. It adds to a suite of Bruks equipment already operated by the company across a number of its sites. The back-on truck dumper, with receiving hopper and collecting belt conveyor, serve Enviva’s wood pellet production plant in Greenwood, South Carolina, USA. “Enviva knows that it can expect consistent performance, reliability and a long 4  BULK HANDLING NEWS

service life from our equipment,” says Daniel Pace, Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell. “In fact, the new system slots right next to an existing Bruks truck dumper, which was delivered in 2016. Each has the capacity to unload wood chips at 130 metric tons per hour.”


New Siwertell ship unloader set to serve Brazilian agri-bulk sector

Siwertell ship unloaders already serve the buoyant agricultural market in Brazil, discharging millions of metric tons of grains, cereals, corn and soybean every year. “This contract was won on the basis of three strong elements,” says Patrik Henryson, Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell. “Firstly, Siwertell ship unloaders have many successful references in Brazil for reliably handling all types of agricultural foodstuffs. Secondly, they offer very good environmental credentials, and thirdly, their through-life operational costs far out-perform all other systems on the market.” The ST 790-M unit will be fitted onboard a floating barge and will offer a continuous rated capacity of 1,700t/h for handling soya beans and corn.

Siwertell ship unloaders already serve the buoyant agricultural market in Brazil

Brazilian operator, Novo Remanso Port Terminal (TPNR), has ordered a Siwertell screw-type ship unloader to serve its grain-handling export operations in northern Brazil, on the banks of the Amazon River. Four other, individually owned

FPC takes its Siwertell unloader total to 13 Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC), part of the Taiwanese conglomerate, Formosa Plastics Group, has ordered two 640 D-type Siwertell ship unloaders, which will bring the total number of continuous screw-type Siwertell unloaders operated by the company to thirteen. The new totally enclosed unloaders will be installed at Kaohsiung Port, in southern Taiwan, where they will offer the efficient, environment-friendly handling of salt. “The order makes FPC one of our biggest repeat Siwertell equipment customers and we are delighted that they have returned to our technology once again,” says Per Karlsson, President, Bruks Siwertell AB. The new rail-mounted units will be used to unload salt, a source of chlorine, which is used in the manufacture of many types of plastics. They offer a continuous rated capacity of

“Novo Remanso wants its new ship unloader to be in operation as soon as possible and plans for it to be in service for at least 20 years. It will be in good company, as some of the other Brazilian Siwertell unloaders have been operating for well over two decades,” concludes Henryson.

The new ship unloader will be supplied in component parts and assembled for operation in Manaus, significantly in land on the Amazon River. It is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2021.

1,000t/h and will discharge vessels up to 80,000 dwt. “Our reputation for the reliable handling of salt is strengthened by the fact that FPC already successfully uses Siwertell ship unloaders to handle it. This was one of the main reasons why it approached us again,” explains Karlsson. “In particular, FPC’s good experience with two of our unloaders at its Mai-Liao facility in Taiwan; one of which was delivered in 2006, and another in 2015.” Like the Mai-Liao unloaders, the latest pair will feature design additions to enhance their efficiency and enable them to withstand the corrosive effects of salt. “With any unloader tasked with handling salt, corrosion has to be one of the major considerations,” notes Karlsson. “Other unloading technologies used for this material cannot match the capabilities of a Siwertell unloader and its long maintenance intervals.” The two unloaders will arrive fully assembled at Kaohsiung Port and are planned to be fully operational by the end of 2022. BULK HANDLING NEWS  5


Unloader upgrade secures continued productivity for agribulk business

parts and support to this site in Nigeria can be a challenge with different regulations and long lead times. Therefore, forward-thinking when it comes to maintenance is a good strategy,” notes Sabel. “This is especially important as the unloaders ensure almost continuous pasta production.”

A service contract for the total replacement of the electrical control system, including programmable logic controllers (PLCs), has been signed for one of two Siwertell 490-M type ship unloaders that serve the diversified agribulk company, Flour Mills of Nigeria, in Apapa Port, Lagos, Nigeria.

The electrical control system upgrade will not only secure one unloader’s continued reliability and performance, but also, as any removed parts will be tested and kept as spares for use on the second unloader, the work maximizes its service life as well.

The unloaders, delivered in 2001 and 2007, are owned by Flour Mills of Nigeria. “They are very well maintained machines, and the owner and operator put a lot of emphasis on ensuring their peak condition,” explains Martin Sabel, Siwertell Electrical Surveyor, Bruks Siwertell. “This proactive approach to service meant that last year, we were approached by Flour Mills of Nigeria to initiate plans for the replacement of the electrical system on the 2007-delivered unloader, which is a refurbished machine, re-built to handle grain instead of cement. A follow-up visit revealed that the unloader’s existing PLC systems had become obsolete.”

The installation is planned to be carried out towards the end of 2021.

Both units have a rated capacity of 800t/h and are key machines, securing the import of grains for Lagos’ buoyant pasta manufacturing industry. “The two ship unloaders are still in good condition, after around 40,000 hours in operation, but exporting

Dust-free cement handling in the Gulf of Mexico A new Siwertell road-mobile ship unloader has been ordered for cement handing operations in the Gulf of Mexico region of the USA. Its new, undisclosed owners already operate Siwertell screw-type technology, recognizing its ability to protect the environment from dust and spillage, and to offer a cost-effective dry bulk handling solution, with low operating costs in comparison with other technologies.


“Our Siwertell screw-type unloaders are totally enclosed, delivering a dust-tight system, which is critical for protecting the environment, but is particularly essential for operations that are situated near and within populated areas,” explains Christopher Duffy, Area Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell. “The customer already operates several Siwertell roadmobile unloaders, at different locations in the US, as well as large-scale bulk terminal unloaders,” Duffy notes. “This familiarity with our technology and confidence with the equipment and its long-term performance, were critical factors in securing this new contract. Additionally, so were our service capabilities and the fact that we are able to deliver the new unloader within ten weeks of order confirmation.

NEWS IN BRIEF “The unloader will initially work along the Mississippi River,” he continues. “To achieve this, its owners plan to mount it onto a barge, minimizing the requirements for any dock infrastructure.” The 10 000 S-type road-mobile unit can discharge barges as well as vessels up to 10,000 dwt. It will offer a continuous rated capacity of 300t/h for the totally enclosed, dust-free handling of cement, and will be delivered to the US fully assembled from Sweden. Fullscale operations are scheduled to start by mid-June, 2021.

Siwertell road-mobile unloaders can deploy in under an hour

Sustainable conveyor system order for new zinc recycling plant The joint venture company, Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP), has contracted Bruks Siwertell to supply a series of conveyors for its new zinc recycling facility. WSP’s coowners, Mexico-based Zinc Nacional and Indianapolis-based Heritage Environmental Services, received permission last

year to go ahead with the plant’s construction in Logansport, Indiana, USA. “Strict environmental compliance, a proven track-record of reliable, efficient technology and the ability to deliver to a tight timeframe were critical factors in securing the order,” says Christopher Duffy, Area Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell. The plant’s material handling arrangement calls for the delivery of eleven belt conveyors, a bucket elevator, and feed hoppers including all associated chute work. Three of the belt conveyors will be installed inside lit and ventilated tube gallery structures to achieve a totally enclosed system. Strategically located dust collection units have also been specified to ensure environmental protection. The conveyor systems will handle steel mill by-product materials such as electric arc-furnace (EAF) dust and pellets, carbon, and limestone, each at a typical capacity of 30t/h. “Incorporating a totally enclosed system is critical because of the very dry and dusty materials,” Duffy explains. “The conveyors located inside buildings are covered and the transfer conveyors between buildings are installed in the gallery structures. This ensures environmental compliance and makes the entire material handling arrangement dust-tight to the atmosphere.”

The enclosed conveyor systems offer dust-free material handling at a capacity of around 30t/h

Equipment deliveries are planned for completion in July 2021, with the facility due to be fully operational towards the end of 2021.


US RECOVERY SIGNALS CEMENT IMPORT BOOM Around half of US cement imports are handled by Siwertell ship unloaders, and with the country preparing for a massive program of infrastructure spending to promote growth and recovery, Bruks Siwertell technology is on hand to meet the demand TEXT


Per Wahlström and Ken Upchurch



Bruks Siwertell and Shutterstock

BUILDING BOOM ACCORDING TO CREDIT RATING AGENCY ICRA , the global demand for cement will increase by 20 percent in the 2022 fiscal year, returning to preCovid-19 levels. It projects that demand will be driven by a backlog of infrastructure maintenance projects, due to the pandemic, as well as rural construction projects, including affordable housing.

Globally, there are a number of reasons to expect cement demand to increase well beyond the return to normalcy in the aftermath of Covid-19. Coastal defence structures will be needed to mitigate the risks posed by rising sea levels, and for the US, a country spanning two vast coastlines, the concrete demand for these constructions will be substantial. Land reclamation and artificial islands, another growing trend in China, the Middle East and parts of Europe, will also require huge quantities of concrete. The US is one of the world’s largest consumers of cement, with the state of Texas its biggest net importer. As of 2019, before Covid-19 and its associated market slowdown hit, the largest number of imports came from Canada, though overseas exporters Turkey, Greece and China were all in the top five.

ICRA predicts that the global demand for cement will increase by 20 percent in 2022

US cement imports reached a peak in 2006; but by 2008, there had been a major falloff in consumption thanks to the financial crisis. A trend of marginally increasing imports followed, and by 2017, incremental growth in consumption had once again surpassed domestic US production. During this time, around half of the US’ cement import growth was handled by Siwertell ship unloaders from Bruks Siwertell.

Once again, there was a dip in 2020, as Covid-19 put many building projects on hold, however, the market is anticipated to recover quicker this time, and with it, a deficit of domestically produced concrete.

From bags to bulk In the US and elsewhere, much of this demand will be supplied by dry bulk materials carried by ships. In Texas, Bruks Siwertell recently supported an operator’s transition from bagged cement deliveries to bulk, with the

Performance tests have gone to plan, and the operator is happy PER WAHLSTRÖM, CONTR ACT MANAGER, BRUKS SIWERTELL

addition of a Siwertell ST 640-M ship unloader at its new import terminal in Houston. Supplying cement locally and to other states including Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arkansas, the undisclosed owner opted for a totally enclosed Siwertell ship BULK HANDLING NEWS



Since 2006, Houston Cement’s Siwertell ship unloader has handled more than 10 million metric tons of cement and achieved a return on investment in less than two years

unloader when it was time to in-

possible, the unloading system had to

crease throughput.

be low in weight to minimize any reinforcement work from increased loads.

The new unit was commissioned in September 2020 and offers conti-

The choice of unloader was key in

nuous dust-free cement handling at

avoiding further costs, he adds: “It

a rated capacity of 1,500t/h, with a

was light enough to minimize these

peak capacity of 1,650t/h, dischar-

costs, but yet deliver the through-

ging vessels up to 80,000 dwt.

ship capacity that it required. Performance tests have gone to plan, and

“For some time, the customer had

the operator is happy.”

imported bagged deliveries of cement, but bulk imports hold the potential for greater market impact,” explains Per Wahlström, Contract Manager, Bruks Siwertell. “We also delivered 192m of jetty conveyors.” As part of the terminal’s construction, the old quay had to be repaired, and to keep renovation costs as low as 10  BULK HANDLING NEWS

Switching to dust-free In the past, bulk cement imports have been known to be challenging work. For a powdery dry bulk material, cement can be relatively sensitive to the way in which it is handled during loading, ocean transit, unloading and onwards for downstream transport.

“Cement is specially formulated to react with water and eventually cure and solidify, even minimal exposure to moisture can pose a problem,” says Ken Upchurch, VP Sales and Marketing, Bruks Siwertell. “Yet despite this fact, open-air systems have been used to unload it in the past, meaning that it is exposed to the elements the whole time it is being unloaded.” Moisture exposure is one issue, but arguably more pertinent ones are environmental protection from dust emissions, and the detrimental impact cement dust has on human health. Grab or bucket-chain unloaders offer little protection in this regard, and against water ingress. In dry climates, dust emissions from cement become even more


Around half of US cement import growth is handled by Siwertell ship unloaders

problematic. The fine particles are easily picked up by wind or stirred up by any sort of impact; cement being dropped or crushed is likely to emit a cloud of cement dust. For this reason, the best way to transfer it is through continuous dry bulk material handling, rather than a series of stops and starts. Neither bucket-chain unloaders or grabs are able to offer this, or environmental protection from dust emissions, and pneumatic systems are also limited. Pneumatic unloaders have often been thought a good option for cement handling, and it is true that in the right conditions they are capable of high throughput; but, when materials become compacted, these machines lack the digging forces necessary to handle them and efficiency hugely drops off. They also require significant input from payloaders in the hold.

beginning of an unloading operation, the grab only travels a very short distance to reach the cargo. However, as more bulk material is unloaded, the greater the distance the grab has to travel, into and out of the hold. Therefore, the efficiency progressively decreases. In contrast, a Siwertell screw type unloader maintains continuous unloading at a steady discharge rate, regardless of the level of cargo in the hold, right up to the hold clean up stage. It also picks up material below the cargo surface, avoiding any hold avalanches, with a counter-rotating inlet device.

Further adding to its efficiency, a Siwertell unloader can reach right into the corners of a hold, offering an additional advantage over pneumatic unloaders and other systems. This results in quicker vessel turnaround and reduced berth occupancy.

Supporting market growth The first screw-type Siwertell ship unloader was supplied to the cement industry in 1975. In 1980, Bruks Siwertell set a new standard for the industry by introducing the 800t/h Siwertell unloader to the market and since then, it has continuously set the highest

Highly-efficient handling Bruks Siwertell defines unloading efficiency by comparing the actual through-ship unloading capacity against the rated capacity. While most alternative unloading systems offer efficiencies of between 50 and 60 percent, a Siwertell screw-type ship unloader delivers efficiencies of 70 percent or more. The main reason for this higher overall efficiency, compared with grab cranes for example, is that at the

The US is one of the world’s largest consumers of cement



bar. Today, Siwertell cement unloaders offer continuous rated capacities in excess of 2,000t/h. Bruks Siwertell has long-standing references for cement handling in the US. In 2004, Houston Cement Company, in Houston, Texas, was beginning to plan a new, larger terminal. The company was expanding and looking for an efficient, environmentally friendly, high-capacity method to discharge increasing volumes. It could sell more cement than it could import, and needed to replace an existing pneumatic ship unloading system. In 2006, a rail-mounted Siwertell ST 640-D unloader, designed to offer cement unloading rates of up

to 1,500t/h, was delivered to Houston Cement. Once commissioned, performance tests revealed impressive results: the ship unloader met the guaranteed rated capacity and actually exceeded it to deliver 1,646t/h. The through-ship capacity was also in excess of the guaranteed rate of 1,050t/h and energy consumption tests, achieving 0.39kWh/h, were surpassed as well.

Optimum efficiency levels The unloader was also one of the first to feature an auto level mode, now standard. It ensures that the vertical conveyor’s counter-rotating inlet feeder, which effectively forces material into the screw, is kept at an optimum level. By the feeder not

Houston Cement’s high-capacity Siwertell ship unloader reduced unloading days by 50 percent


digging too deep, or too shallow, unloading efficiency is kept at an optimum level. Optimum efficiency at the Houston Cement terminal is also ensured by the jetty belt conveyors being longer than the vessels the terminal receives. This allows the ship unloader to move past the bow and stern of the vessel and for the ship unloader’s conveying arm to pendulate at an angle into the furthest corners of the vessel, particularly in the forward hold, under the deck and hatches. The entire system is enclosed from the vessel to the jetty conveyors, via a moveable transfer trolley, and through the terminal’s 100,000 metric ton capacity storage silos.

The unloading rates offered by Siwertell technology at Houston Cement set a new world record, and were so far ahead of the market that the unloader remains extremely competitive today. At the time, it was also the largest Siwertell unloader dedicated to cement. The unloader has now handled more than 10 million metric tons of cement. Its high-capacity capabilities meant a reduction in unloading days of 50 percent, translating into a 50 percent reduction in berth occupancy and the possibility of higher annual intakes; return on investment was achieved in less than two years.

A good reputation The Houston Cement installation has gone on to be heavily influential in Bruks Siwertell securing other cement handling contracts in the US. In 2019, the company delivered a high-capacity Siwertell ST 640-M screw-type ship unloader to South Texas Cement’s terminal in the US port of Corpus Christi, after being contracted by cement handler GCCM Holdings LCC. It, too, is capable of 1,500t/h throughput. The specifications for the choice of unloader were stringent; aside from the expansion in throughput, GCCM Holdings LCC and South Texas Cement also discussed through-life maintenance costs and electrical demand, both of which were deemed to be lower for a screw-type unloader than a pneumatic system of equivalent throughput. “When combining all of the deciding factors that led to choosing a mechanical unloader, it was apparent that Siwertell was the best fit for our needs,” said a GCCM Holdings and


We have seen an influx of interest in Siwertell road-mobile unloaders as cement demand continues to rise KEN UPCHURCH, VP SALES AND MARKETING, BRUKS SIWERTELL

South Texas Cement spokesperson at the time of the order. “We especially like the high rate of unloading combined with the versatility to handle various ship sizes.” Last year Bruks Siwertell was awarded a contract to supply the US-based Colonial Group with a new high-capacity Siwertell 490 F-type ship unloader. The fully enclosed system will deliver dust-free cement handling for the company’s Savannah, Georgia, terminal and supports Colonial’s cement import growth. The unloader is planned for commissioning later this year and will offer a rated cement handling capacity of 800t/h, discharging vessels up to Panamax size.

Siwertell road-mobile unloader orders were secured in the US last year and this trend is continuing. Most recently, Bruks Siwertell secured a new Siwertell road-mobile ship unloader order for cement handling operations in the Gulf of Mexico region of the USA. Its new, undisclosed owners already operate numerous Siwertell screw-type ship unloaders, recognizing their ability to protect the environment from dust and spillage, and to offer a cost-effective dry bulk handling solution, with low operating costs in comparison with other technologies.

New opportunities ahead

“During his election campaign, President Joe Biden pledged to ‘build back better’, and recent reports suggest that there may be as much as USD 1 trillion on the table for roads, bridges, rail, and other infrastructure,” notes Upchurch.

Not all imports will be handled at dedicated terminals, however, and the complex dynamics of the construction industry leave some operators seeking a more flexible approach. “We have seen an influx of interest in Siwertell road-mobile unloaders, specific to the cement industry, as cement demand continues to rise,” says Upchurch.

“This is very encouraging news for the US, and clearly, it will need a lot of cement to make these plans a reality. Whatever strategy importers adopt for meeting this growth, our US cement handling deliveries, and installations across the world, show that Bruks Siwertell will be with them every step of the way.” BULK HANDLING NEWS  13

MILLIONS ON THE LINE: COMPARE THE RIGHT FIGURES Dry bulk handling equipment lasts for decades, so a long-term view and comparing the right figures at the point of investment will pay dividends, potentially saving an operator millions of dollars, explains Per Karlsson, President, Bruks Siwertell AB TEXT


Per Karlsson





is economic, social and environmental sustainability, and how we can all navigate and grow our businesses during this time of massive transitions. One of the ways that we are meeting our commitment to support the United Nations (UN) sustainability goals and positively contribute to environmental protection is through our dry bulk handling technology. HIGH




Our Siwertell screw-type unloaders offer the most environmentally friendly way to discharge dry bulk materials off a ship. They ensure that operations are dust free and eliminate wasteful practices such as spillage. Furthermore, they deliver very high through-ship capacities, reducing the time a vessel spends in port, which in combination, means that operators can not only save considerable sums of money, but can positively impact the environment. So, even if environmental concerns are not the main driver for change, they automatically come hand-inhand with our equipment.

Comparing the right figures seems simple in practice, but we do understand that to build a calculation model, which includes all the aspects that need to be considered, is not so easy. At the same time, it needs to be structured in such a way that calculations provide meaningful comparisons and evaluations for different types of equipment.

Simple, but complex So, what should be considered when making an investment in dry bulk handling equipment? Firstly, we need to look at actual through-ship capacity, where all the movements of the ship unloader and the handling of other equipment, such as payloaders, are included. A higher through-ship capacity reduces unloading times, translating into reduced vessel costs and the costs of the operation as a whole. Also, if the jetty is less occupied, the port has the opportunity to receive more vessels over the course of a year, boosting jetty utilization rates, and increasing through-put and terminal profitability.

Siwertell screw-type unloaders offer a minimum through-ship capacity of 70 percent PER K ARLSSON, PRESIDENT, BRUKS SIWERTELL AB

Secondly, we would ask operators to consider total investment costs, including the actual jetty construction. Depending on the type of equipment, the weight of screw-type unloaders, bucket chain unloaders or grab cranes varies considerably. The higher the weight of the equipment, the higher the jetty construction or reinforcement costs. Jetty reinforcements, to accommodate heavy bulk handling equipment, can easily correspond to fift y percent of the cost of the actual equipment. Also, rail span is an important factor. If the unloader can be designed to have a narrower rail span, the width of the jetty can be reduced, which again saves money.

Removing the waste Thirdly, dust- and spillage-free unloading is essential, and not just for the environment. It is a well-known fact that a grab unloader has a much higher degree of spillage and dust control compared with totally enclosed systems such as pneumatics or screw-type unloaders. Spillage literally wastes cargo, and also incurs clean-up costs, and both damage the environment, but this is difficult to quantify. However, when unloading dusty materials, the terminal’s surrounding areas are impacted by the operation. This is often accentuated if you have residential zones close by or a marina, or other commercial operations sensitive to dust. Globally, government authorities demand much higher dust emissions standards for operational permits, which is why this should be considered early in the planning process of a new terminal.




Lastly, but no less important, are maintenance figures. The long-term costs of servicing equipment and the lifetime of wear components should be at the forefront of an operator’s mind when considering any investment, especially considering the longevity of dry bulk handling equipment. For ship loading equipment, similar comparison figures need to be held in mind. However, in general, loaders offer much higher through-ship capacities, as there are no clean-up costs, and maintenance costs are lower, as no vertical lifts of material are required. But long-term operating and servicing costs are pertinent and most ports today have very high requirements for dust and spillage.

Consider all factors Calculations do vary for different materials, so these should always be part of the mix as well. Some materials are simply more difficult to handle because of their intrinsic characteristics. For powdery materials, the issues of dust and spillage preclude the use of particular types of dry bulk handling equipment entirely. A good example are operations that import cement. This material is almost 100 percent handled by either pneumatic unloaders or screw-type unloaders; grab cranes are not used because of issues around dust and spillage. Environmental considerations aside, just looking at spillage in terms of costs, depending on the equipment you are comparing, savings can extend to millions of dollars a year. For example, some operators state that their grab unloader can spill between two and four percent of a shipment, depending on material. 16  BULK HANDLING NEWS

Equipment calculations need to relate to a terminal’s annual volumes, materials handled, and ship size

If the cost of the material is, for example, USD 100 per metric ton and the annual intake is two million metric tons, actual losses due to spillage could be as much as USD four to eight million per year. Calculations for which equipment best suits a terminal need to be related to its annual volumes, types of materials handled, as well as ship size. This delivers the best results. Although it is difficult to give an accurate comparison of through-life costs for each piece of dry bulk handling equipment, if an operator has to make an early reinvestment in equipment because of reliability issues, or running, or maintenance costs, this will have a negative impact on terminal profitability due to the cost of the loan, as well as the cost of depreciation.

Different needs, different calculations Some calculations become more complex depending on the nature of the project, for example, if it is a new terminal or port, or an expansion of existing facilities. For expansion projects, a number of set parameters already have to be followed and there are infrastructure limitations that are often in place. These are not present for newbuild projects, and so there are potentially greater savings to be made from the outset, certainly in terms of weight and rail span. The main cost savings that directly relate to equipment are the costs for the jetty. The weight of a Siwertell unloader is much lower compared with a bucket chain or grab unloader. When comparing equivalent capacities and


day, at 60 percent, it will provide a through-ship capacity equivalent to 900t/h, delivering 2,222 operational hours per year, or 101 days per year. At 70 percent, this equipment has a through-ship capacity equivalent to 1,050t/h, so the number of operational hours per year will be 1,905, or 87 days per year. This is a difference of 14 days a year, so if the cost of the vessel stands at around USD 30,000 per day, the savings per year will be USD 420,000, and over the lifetime of the equipment, say 25 years, this builds to an impressive USD 10.5 million.

ship sizes, the difference is typically between 30 and 40 percent lower for a Siwertell unloader. They potentially also require in the region of 40 percent less rail span, reducing the space occupied on the jetty and/or the required width of the jetty.

Do the maths, it is worth it However, in all of this, given the service life of port equipment, in almost every case, the cost for the entire operation, including maintenance, is the most important factor. To put some figures on this, take two types of equipment: both offer a rated capacity of 1,500t/h, but one has a through-ship capacity of 60 percent, and the other 70 percent. If a terminal has an annual intake of two million metric tons, and the equipment operates for 22 hours a

Some might see it beneficial, then, to increase the discharge rate to 2,000t/h for the equipment that can offer 60 percent efficiency; but it will still only deliver a through-ship capacity of 1,200t/h, and be considerably more expensive. However, if you have equipment than can deliver 70 percent efficiency, you could, in fact, reduce the discharge rate of the equipment to 1,700t/h and still have the same through-ship capacity. This makes far better economic sense, as an operator can buy unloading

equipment with lower capacity, but still have the same efficiency. This generates significant savings, not only from the cost of the equipment itself, but also for the conveyor system that serves it. I should point out that Siwertell screwtype unloaders offer a minimum through-ship capacity of 70 percent.

Sustainable choices We are suggesting that before an operator chooses any new dry bulk handling equipment that it considers all the options. They might be very surprising. We have developed a value calculation tool that helps compare the complexities of calculations and we are happy for our systems to be compared with all other mechanical and pneumatic ship unloaders and loaders on the market. The choice an operator makes today can impact a terminal decades down the line. We are encouraging the industry as a whole to not only consider the best economic decision, but also the best environmental one too; and our systems offer both.

Even if environmental concerns are not the main driver for change, they automatically come hand-in-hand with our equipment PER K ARLSSON, PRESIDENT, BRUKS SIWERTELL AB


DUST-TIGHT SHIP LOADING TRANSFORMS SOUTHERN USA GRAIN EXPORT SITE Grain handling can be a dusty business: ADM’s Ama facility left dust and spillage behind with the installation of enclosed ship loading systems from Bruks Siwertell; three years on and the site is setting new standards in efficiency and environmental protection TEXT


Daniel Pace


Bruks Siwertell


S U S TA I N A B L E G R A I N H A N D L I N G A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN A YEAR, and for one particular grain export site in Ama, Louisiana, USA, its ship loading and environmental protection capabilities were transformed. Owned and operated by one of the largest agribusinesses in the world, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), in 2018, Bruks Siwertell completed the delivery and installation of three market-leading ship loaders.

ADM prides itself on the adoption of technology that enhances its ability to connect agricultural crops to world markets. It has a global footprint, but a firm operational infrastructure in the US. Headquartered in Chicago, ADM’s domestic operations comprise more than 160 ingredient manufacturing facilities and more than 300 crop procurement facilities, located across 29 US states. Its scope includes grain elevators, ports and shipping terminals, which are used to store both raw agricultural materials and finished products. Many of ADM’s facilities are focused in the country’s major grain-producing states of Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A terminal in the spotlight ADM’s Ama, Louisiana, facility has been operational for decades and its equipment, which had once been fit-forpurpose, no longer was. “ADM recognized the need to replace its outdated and undersized ship loading technology,” explains Daniel Pace, Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell.

ADM’s ship loaders and conveyors are part of a flagship installation, setting grain handling standards in the US DANIEL PACE, SALES MANAGER, BRUKS SIWERTELL

ADM’s Ama terminal features three pedestal-mounted, shuttling, slewing Bruks ship loaders

“The equipment had significant dust and spillage issues, as well as not meeting the company’s capacity needs,” continues Pace. “ADM wanted its ship loading system to be capable of accommodating post-Panamax sized vessels with enclosed conveyors, enclosed loading spouts and dust collection measures. Together these would provide the best possible dust control measures to protect the local environment.” ADM was a new customer, and approached Bruks Siwertell for a solution following good references and seeing its technology working well and benefiting other operators in the agribulk business, but also wider afield for handling a range of dry bulk materials. “We worked closely with ADM to establish its current needs, but we also considered the operational future of any installation, essentially to ensure long-term suitability and the potential capacity for growth as well,” he notes. “To maximize the efficiency of a terminal it is important to tailor it to fit operational profiles, but as bulk terminal equipment lasts for decades it is also essential to ensure that there is flexibility in the system for some degree of change.”

Meeting customer needs “Our ability to provide turn-key, tailored terminal solutions that are specially designed to meet specific customer needs, was a critical factor in ADM making that final BULK HANDLING NEWS



Each ship loader offers ADM a rated capacity of around 2,000t/h and can load post-Panamax sized vessels, up to 115,000 dwt and beam of 43m. They are in near-constant use and handle a broad range of grains including wheat, soya beans, milo, corn, meal, and dried distillers grains (DDGS).

Ongoing operational success “The entire supply, installation and commissioning was undertaken in a year, and the results are impressive,” notes Pace. “ADM now has a system that offers completely enclosed dry bulk material handling, which not only eliminates waste from spillage, but crucially ensures that grain handling operations are dust free. “The entire terminal has been vastly improved and now, three years on, ADM’s experience of our equipment speaks for itself. The ship loaders and conveyors are part of a flagship installation, setting grain handling standards in the US, and monthon-month, the Ama terminal continues to set new loading records,” he highlights.

An ability to provide turn-key, tailored terminal solutions was a critical factor in ADM opting for Bruks Siwertell technology

decision to adopt Bruks Siwertell technology,” explains Pace. “Our US presence, and local 24/7 support, were also extremely influential.” ADM’s ultimate solution for the Ama terminal included three pedestal-mounted, shuttling, slewing ship loaders with completely enclosed loading conveyors, along with six totally enclosed belt conveyors to feed dry bulk material to the ship loaders. For this particular system, the operator requested spacious access platforms for easy maintenance. The entire system was manufactured and pre-assembled into large, complete assemblies on the Harvey Canal and then carried on a barge to the terminal for final installation. It was commissioned in 2018 and has now been operational for almost three years. 20  BULK HANDLING NEWS

Advances offer sustainability

As operators replace outdated equipment, it should not only meet a company’s capacity requirements, but also enhance environmental protection. “We all have to be part of a sustainability drive, eliminating the unnecessary waste of cargo from spillage, and also protecting the environment from dust emissions. As dry bulk material handling equipment and technology advances, so too can our capabilities to significantly enhance the operational efficiency and sustainability of the terminals that rely on them. “We believe that ADM is one such operator; through its drive to improve the terminal equipment at Ama, the gains it achieved reached far beyond operational profitability, but have realized a wider accomplishment of significantly reducing its environmental impact as well,” Pace concludes.

DEDICATED GRAIN TERMINAL KEEPS ISRAEL’S FOODSTUFFS FLOWING The Dagon grain terminal, in the port of Haifa, Israel, is the only one of its kind in the country, and handling the lion’s share of the nation’s grain is a highcapacity Siwertell ship unloader TEXT

Bertil Andersson


Bruks Siwertell

has seen Israel’s port facilities undergo a gradual transformation; terminals are replacing outdated dry bulk handling equipment, and in its place, modern systems are offering vastly improved efficiencies, reliability and environmental protection.

Port Company. Two privately-owned organizations also operate in the country, Eilat Port and the Israel Shipyard Port in Haifa.

In 2005, to manage the country’s port developments, the Israeli Government created state-owned companies: the Israel Ports Company; Haifa Port Company; and Ashdod

Israel imports around five million metric tons of grain annually, and around 70 percent of that passes through Haifa, one of its oldest ports. It is situated on the


20-year high



southern shore of Haifa Bay, on the Mediterranean Sea, about 90km north of Tel Aviv. The port serves Israel’s third-largest city and everywhere north of Tel Aviv, whereas Israel’s largest port, Ashdod, predominantly serves the regions south of Tel Aviv. In line with a population rise, last year, Haifa set a record of importing about three and a half million metric tons of grain. Over the coming years, it is likely that Ashdod will expand its grain handling capabilities following the completion of bridge works, which will see it directly connected to the quay, making it a port terminal. Until then, the majority of grain imports falls to Haifa.

Israel imports around five million metric tons of grain annually; 70 percent of which passes through Haifa

With over 6,700m of quay length, there are several specialized bulk handlers within the port, and operating in its central main area, which was built in 1933, is the Dagon grain terminal. Managed by Dagon Israel Granaries Company and owned by Israel Ports Company (IPC), it handles wheat, milling wheat and seed wheat, maize, corn, barley, rapeseed, sorghum, and soya beans.

85,000 metric tons, and about 22,000 metric tons of stored grain can be moved from the silo to railcars or trucks each day. At its peak import volume, the silos undergo about 40 cycles a year. Except for religious days, they operate on a 24-hour-a-day basis.

The grain terminal is critical to the country’s agri-bulk imports and in the past five years, the terminal has gone from unloading 125 to 169 vessels per year. Vessels are discharged and their shipments are transferred via a series of conveyor belts protected by a concrete bridge, to silo storage. Dagon has a storage capacity of around

Given its importance, maintaining the terminal’s grain handling systems is a significant responsibility. After many years of service, IPC was looking to replace its locally built, double belt-type unloader and two smaller pneumatic unloaders.

The Siwertell unloader greatly reduced the number of days that vessels spent in port BERTIL ANDERSSON, SALES MANAGER, BRUKS SIWERTELL


A good replacement

“IPC was having to manage increasing volumes of grain imports,” explains Bertil Andersson, Sales Manager, Bruks Siwertell. “Also, its existing equipment had simply reached the end of its service life and needed replacing. IPC was looking for an equivalent capacity, but from a single unloading system, which could replace its older systems, and one that offered a competitive edge when it came to grain. The company turned to consider Siwertell screw-type unloader technology. “There were some initial challenges,” Andersson continues. “This is an extremely busy port, and grain shipments cannot wait. So, these types of installations usually require operations to be ongoing. Also, new equipment contracts like these, not only need to fit into existing infrastructure, but have to work seamlessly with


downstream conveying systems. All of these add to the complexity of replacing older equipment within existing, hard-working terminals. “In addition to these factors, IPC was on a tight budget and looking for value-for-money, comparing capacity with costs to find the best solution,” he notes. IPC required any new equipment to have a continuous rated capacity of 1,200t/h and, following a comparison process of other available systems, it decided that a new Siwertell 640 M-type, rail-mounted ship unloader offered the best through-ship capacities on the market.

“It took about 18 months, but this process was really important to work out and develop the best solution for the grain terminal, and in 2018, Bruks Siwertell delivered the new ship unloader.” It provides a through-ship capacity of 1,200t/h and can handle vessels up to 73,000 dwt. “The unit was commissioned in 2018, comfortably replacing the capacity of the terminal’s old equipment and greatly reducing the number of days that vessels were required to be in port,” notes Andersson.

Siwertell unloader debut

Four years on and the terminal is going from strength to strength; meeting the owners’ expectations and comfortably able to handle the grain import volumes that arrive at the terminal.

It was the first time that Bruks Siwertell had installed a high-capacity unloader in Israel and, as with any new delivery, the company had to ensure that it understood and complied with local laws and regulations. “One of these was having to meet a 20 percent ‘local content’ commitment in the contract,” Andersson explains. “These ensure that regional companies are not negatively impacted by foreign investment.

“The operator benefited from free service support for two months during the warranty period, along with a service commitment to deliver fast, effective assistance during the unloader’s first year of operation,” he notes. “Since then, all the recommended preventative maintenance has been carried out, and we have been on hand to offer service as and when IPC has needed it.”

In Haifa, a Siwertell ship unloader provides a through-ship capacity of 1,200t/h and handles vessels up to 73,000 dwt


CORROSION, COMPACTION AND CAPACITY: SALT HANDLING CHALLENGES OVERCOME WITH EASE With four of its full complement of thirteen Siwertell ship unloaders designed for discharging salt, Formosa Plastics Corporation (FPC) knows what it needs from its dry bulk equipment when it comes to handling such a challenging commodity TEXT


Per Karlsson


Bruks Siwertell and Shutterstock


S A LT H A N D L I N G EARLY THIS YEAR, FORMOSA PLASTICS CORPORATION (FPC) became Bruks Siwertell’s biggest repeat Siwertell screw-type ship unloader customer ever, placing an order for two more 640 D-type unloaders. The pair takes FPC’s Siwertell ship unloader portfolio to thirteen, with the new rail-mounted units intended for installation at Kaohsiung Port, in southern Taiwan. Here, they will handle the import of large volumes of salt.

Our most important job is to give operators the best possible chance of success PER K ARLSSON, PRESIDENT, BRUKS SIWERTELL AB

More than a condiment Salt, or to give it its chemical name, sodium chloride (NaCl), is far more than just a condiment. It supplies one of the key ingredients of plastic making, chlorine. Sourced from separating briny water through electrolysis, around two thirds of global chlorine is used in the production of plastics, typically destined for four main types: polyvinyl chloride (PVC); polycarbonates; polyurethanes; and epoxy resins. The majority of the remaining third goes into water treatment and medicines. However, handling salt is uniquely challenging. It is highly corrosive, which tends to result in additional wear-and-tear to dry bulk material handling, transportation and storage systems, as well as shorter maintenance intervals for equipment. On top of this, when salt arrives in bulk carrier holds, it tends to have compacted into crystalline lumps, which makes the unloading process much more demanding on equipment, further increasing wear. Bruks Siwertell is no stranger to these challenges, and has delivered many salt handling systems throughout the world. “For FPC’s require-

ments, the only system that was considered was a screw-type unloader,” Per Karlsson, President, Bruks Siwertell AB, explains. “Bruks Siwertell was also the only company that could meet the company’s very high specifications for extremely efficient, dust-free material handling.”

A history of success FPC and Bruks Siwertell have a long relationship. Of its thirteen totally enclosed Siwertell ship unloaders, nine are used by FPC for unloading coal only, two are used for coal and salt, and its latest pair will only be used to handle salt, serving a new terminal at Kaohsiung Port’s jetty number 16. These two salt unloaders will arrive fully assembled and are scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2022. They will offer a continuous rated capacity of 1,000t/h, discharging vessels up to 80,000 dwt. Designed to withstand a horizontal earthquake factor of 0.3g and maximum wind speeds of 70m/s, the unloaders will be able to operate in winds of up to 25m/s. The units will also be equipped

with an FM 200 fire-fighting system in their electrical and transformer housings, which is a local requirement, along with protecting the environment from fugitive dust emissions. FPC’s two unloaders that alternate between handling salt and coal offer an interesting case and a very good refence for Bruks Siwertell’s material handling capabilities. Designed for discharging ships of up to 180,000 dwt, at a rated unloading capacity of up to 2,000t/h, one ST 790 DOB-type ship unloader was delivered in 2006 and the other, an ST 940 DOB-type, in 2015, bringing the total of Siwertell units operating at the Taiwanese Mai-Liao power plant to six.

Salt and coal: a potent mix These unloaders fulfil two sets of requirements; the complex challenges of salt and those of coal, which is abrasive and at lower grades often has a high moisture content, which makes it sticky and hard to handle. Preventing cross-contamination between these two cargoes is also of key importance to both the industrial processes that use them.




experience in handling more than 40 different bulk materials. As a result, we have a great deal of technical knowledge and know how to develop systems that exactly meet customers’ requirements. “While a certain degree of compaction is taken for granted, the level of compaction in salt handling simply prevents many other systems being able to compete with a Siwertell unloader, which can withstand high digging forces, enabling them to discharge these compacted cargoes,” Karlsson points out.

Optimized for salt

Handling salt is uniquely challenging; it is highly corrosive and becomes extremely compacted in the hold

FPC indicates that it was the operation of these unloaders, at its Mai-Liao plant, that persuaded the company to order new Siwertell systems. “Our reputation for the reliable handling of salt is strengthened by the fact that FPC already successfully uses Siwertell ship unloaders to handle it,” says Karlsson. “This was one of the main reasons why it approached us again. Also, we were the only company that could demonstrate the successful application of our screwtype conveying technology in relation to salt handling. 26  BULK HANDLING NEWS

“Even under these conditions, Siwertell unloaders offer a continuous, steady conveying velocity, which not only preserves the integrity of cargoes, but helps to maintain a high through-ship efficiency. They also offer a high average unloading capacity, with a reduced reliance on excavators, in comparison with other systems such as grab cranes and pneumatics,” he notes.

“FPC has considerable experience using Siwertell unloaders,” he continues. “Our long-term commitment and a history of fulfilling the client’s requirements were important factors, as well as the high efficiency and low operational costs offered by our unloaders.”

“For example, if material is very compacted, a grab crane does not have the digging forces able to handle this type of material, so excavators are needed to a much higher extent. The same is true for bucket chain unloaders. Pneumatic unloaders are ruled out entirely, as the high digging forces make them a totally impractical solution.”

“Siwertell ship unloaders offer superior performance in every aspect of dry bulk material handling,” notes Karlsson. “They are designed for heavy-duty operation and we have

In contrast, Siwertell unloaders are fitted with a counter-rotating inlet feeder, which increases the efficiency of cargo pick-up and the filling factor of the vertical screw conveyor.

The clear choice


Bruks Siwertell was the only company that could meet FPC’s very high specifications for extremely efficient, dust-free material handling PER K ARLSSON, PRESIDENT, BRUKS SIWERTELL AB

Different designs of feeder are used to optimize unloading performance depending on the material being handled, and salt is a particularly good example. Salt handling Siwertell unloaders are fitted with an optimized inlet feeder able to withstand not only the corrosive properties of salt, but also the significant digging forces needed to discharge it from the hold at high capacities. Furthermore, their walkways, handrails and electrical compartments are manufactured from stainless steel, which does not rust easily.

unloaders, and one for grain, as well as a loader for clinker. All of these machines will make use of Siwertell mechanical screw technology. “It has been a tremendous twelve months for us,” says Karlsson. “Considering that these orders have been placed at a time of global disruption, it goes to show the importance of the dry bulk handling sector and its resilience. It also demonstrates a confidence in the sector’s continuing

growth in cargo volumes, justifying new investments. “Our most important job is to give operators the best possible chance of success. FPC has proven time and again that it believes in us to fulfil this requirement, and for Bruks Siwertell, this is a source of great pride. In return, we do everything that we can to justify the trust that all our customers place in us and our technology,” concludes Karlsson.

Stronger together There is significant competition in the dry bulk handling sector, and between the various different technologies in use. However, repeat business from long-standing customers, like FPC, offer a very powerful argument for the benefits of Siwertell unloading systems. In fact, in the last year alone, in addition to the two salt unloaders for FPC, Bruks Siwertell has secured orders for two coal unloaders, four cement BULK HANDLING NEWS  27

OPPORTUNITIES AWAIT FOR HIGHER CAPACITY GRAIN HANDLERS The expanded Panama Canal unlocks considerable capacity for grain operators; Bruks Siwertell technology can enable terminals to capitalize on these gains, delivering modernized ports that offer optimal efficiency and environmental protection TEXT

Per Karlsson and Ken Upchurch  PHOTOS Shutterstock

completed new expansion works in 2016, increasing the depth by around three meters. The new depth holds the potential for a major impact on the agriculture industry in the United States, and beyond. Grain is the biggest US commodity shipped through the Canal; three out of every ten bushels of grain exports travel through it; and when it comes to soybeans, it is 44 percent, or around 600 million bushels. THE PANAMA CANAL


The United Soybean Board (USB) has estimated that the new draft and larger vessel sizes afforded by the expansion can increase the potential of each shipment by 13,300 metric tons of grain, equivalent to 488,642 bushels, and could decrease the freight rate by as much as 20 percent. Developments at the Canal are watched closely by the agricultural industries, particularly those based on the


east coast of the US. To get a shipment of grain westward, cargoes are carried by truck or train, and loaded onto barges at ports along the Mississippi River and its tributaries in various states, before being carried out to the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico. From there, loaded onto a bulk carrier, these grains are transported through the Panama Canal. River transportation provides access to 80 percent of US corn production, a third of sorghum production, and 15 percent of barley production. While there are transport networks that allow grains to be exported via the US’ west coast, and the customers that are able to export via this route are able to charge more for their product, cross-continental routes are sparse and costly, and the Pacific Northwest is a long way from where most grains are actually produced. Railroads are privately owned and maintained by their operators, at a cost of around 20 percent of their revenues, or around USD 25 billion per year; by contrast, the Mississippi River network is well-established and well-maintained, with regular dredging work commissioned by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Horizon holds change The Panama Canal expansion, then, confers a bump in the capacity for westward grain exports; but this has not yet resulted in an associated increase in US exports. There have been several factors at play for the last four years; but these have the potential to change dramatically over the next decade. In the short-term, the Trump administration’s tense relationship with China, commonly described as a ‘trade war’, depressed the Canal’s Atlantic-Pacific soybean transits by 43 percent in FY2018, and sorghum by 34 percent in the same time frame, as China replaced US supplies with cargoes from South America, the latter travelling via the Cape of Good Hope instead of the Panama Canal. In the medium-term, US grain exporters are still using the Canal’s smaller Panamax locks, as key infrastructure including grain elevators, draft depth, and most transshipment terminals have not yet been upgraded to accommodate the larger 100,000 dwt-plus bulk carriers which would transit the neo-Panamax locks.

This, however, looks likely to change. There is upstream capacity and scope for eliminating the bottleneck in the Gulf of Mexico, and allowing US exporters to make use of the neo-Panamax locks. Already, some providers are pulling ahead; at Archer Daniels Midland’s (ADM) grain port facility in Ama, Louisiana, three high-capacity Bruks pedestal-mounted loaders handle grains including wheat, soya beans, milo, corn, meal, and dried distillers grains (DDGS) at a rate of 2,000t/h (80,000b/h) each. They are in near-constant operation currently loading post-Panamax sized vessels up to 115,000 dwt and beam of 43m. They are more than capable of serving neo-Panamax vessels up to 120,000 dwt with a beam of around 50m.

Ready for the uptick Grain is the third largest cargo that Bruks Siwertell machines handle, amounting to around 600 million metric tons every year. “The Panama Canal has the capacity for larger grain-carriers, and the US has the capacity to provide more grain for the world’s markets,” says Ken Upchurch, VP Sales and Marketing, Bruks Siwertell. “A number of factors would have to come together to realize this extra potential, but it is a technological bottleneck, rather than a limit in resources.” Indeed, a comparable case exists in Brazil, whose grain exports to China have substantially increased in recent years. Along the mouth of the Amazon and Tocantins rivers, four privately owned major grain operators handle much of the country’s agribulk; Bunge Brazil

Our technology enables operators to capitalize on the gains from handling larger vessels KEN UPCHURCH, VP SALES AND MARKETING, BRUKS SIWERTELL



and ADM de Portos Pará serve the port of Barcarena; Cargill Agricola, operates in Santarém; and Hermasa Navegação da Amazônia in Itacoatiara. Between them, they operate four Siwertell screw-type ship unloaders, servicing feeder vessels that carry soybeans and corn from remote, inland agricultural facilities, ultimately for export on bulk carriers. The Siwertell unloaders are a vital step in this chain, with each operating on a demanding schedule of around 3,500 hours per year. Hermasa opted for a Siwertell ST 790-F barge unloader and ship loader configuration, with a rated loading and unloading capacity of 1,500t/h; the other systems are Siwertell ST 790-M model ship unloaders, with the same capacity. These unloaders will soon be joined by Brazil’s fifth Siwertell ship unloader later in the year. Ordered by Novo Remanso Port Terminal (TPNR), the ST 790-M unit will be fitted onboard a floating barge in Manaus, and will offer a continuous rated capacity of 1,700t/h for handling soybeans and corn.

Eliminate wasteful options Grain is a unique type of cargo, in that the need to eliminate waste during handling extends far beyond the commercial. Over the last four years, the cost of a bushel of corn nearly doubled; a bushel of wheat

has increased in price by a third, and in the same timeframe, soybeans increased by a quarter. Each of these crops has seen a major bump since the Covid-19 pandemic began; but each was still experiencing a slower upward trend in the years leading up to the onset of the pandemic.

Minimize cargo degradation An uncomfortable fact is this cost may potentially continue to rise over time, as various factors are coming together to reduce crop yields in the longer term. Over the last four decades, soil erosion has claimed 33 percent of the world’s adequate or high-quality arable land. Its effects will, in due course, be compounded by increased global temperatures, which will shift the concentration of arable land away from equatorial areas; and in the long run, rising sea levels will pose yet another threat. Plans for new farming techniques and sustainable agriculture will need to accelerate to reverse the effects of this trend. It will be increasingly crucial for growers and importers to ensure that the cargo loaded onto its first truck or railcar matches, as closely as possible, what arrives at the end destination. But unfortunately for those handling them, grain cargoes are some of the most sensitive bulks to deal with.

Bruks Siwertell systems are capable of serving neo-Panamax vessels up to 120,000 dwt with a beam of around 50m



Many types of handling systems are unsuitable for unloading grains, as many can exert forces which can grind or crush them, making a proportion unsuitable for use by the end customer. Bucket chains are not used, as the heavy buckets can crush the grains on impact, rendering high levels of material degradation. Damaged grains are not only unusable themselves; but cause additional problems for the rest of the cargo which makes it through intact. Fines, the powdery remnants of crushed cargo, make the grain more difficult to aerate, leading to additional spoilage and, in some circumstances, increasing the risk of fires. More commonly, pneumatic systems are used; but Bruks Siwertell is all too aware of their limitations. They exert high velocities on the cargo and require considerable input from payloaders, negatively impacting their throughship efficiency. “We anticipate that the cost of bulk foodstuffs will rise dramatically in the coming decades, and with it, the importance of handling and storage methods which will not cause it to be wasted,” Upchurch says. “The margin of error in these delicately-balanced trades is already paper-thin; but this will only contract further, and terminal operators will not benefit from continuing to press less than optimal equipment into service.”

Growing capacity promise In Liverpool, UK, stands Bruks Siwertell’s biggest grain unloader. It is a rail-mounted Siwertell ST 790-D, capable of unloading 1,800t/h of grain. Located at Peel Ports’ Seaforth grain terminal, it features the same screw-type conveyor mechanism as all Siwertell unloaders, from port-mobile and road-mobile systems to these large installations and systems in between. They all offer fullyenclosed, dust- and spillage-free unloading operations. Bruks Siwertell is able to say that its grain handling systems can out-perform all other equipment on the market. “If a terminal compares operating principles and mechanisms, investment costs, as well as running costs, including service and the lifetime of wear parts, our systems speak for themselves,” notes Upchurch. “In combination, the cost and energy savings, efficiency gains, and gentle grain handling, mean that many operators opt for a Siwertell unloader over other systems.

Grain is the third largest cargo that Bruks Siwertell machines handle

“Looking at the Siwertell 790-D unloader at Seaforth and the Bruks loaders at Ama, we can say with confidence that Bruks Siwertell can offer dust-free grain handling systems that deliver the highest efficiencies, and minimal material degradation rates, even for the most demanding through-puts,” says Upchurch. “Our systems can easily meet the huge scope for increasing export capacity in the US. For example, with a barge unloading rate of 1,800t/h, like the high-capacity unloader at Seaforth, and an appropriately matched ship loader, a transshipment terminal, such as ADM in Louisiana, could have a neo-Panamax fully loaded with soybeans, corn or wheat in just a few days.” Since their opening, the new neo-Panamax locks have largely been used for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and for exports of coal from Colombia. In terms of grain, utilization is relatively small; around 14 percent of neo-Panamax traffic is grain-related, although some Panamaxes are using the new locks, as the additional depth allows for more draft and bigger cargo loads. “We have not yet seen the new locks reach their full potential, thanks to a mix of politics and upstream bottlenecks. Nevertheless, there are plans to reinvigorate America’s infrastructure, and some of that spending will necessarily involve waterways. “Our technology is ready to modernize the import and export terminals that are looking to capitalize on the gains that can be made from handling these larger vessels,” Upchurch adds. “It is also hoped that this will accelerate the adoption of sustainable models of operation, reducing emissions and waste, and, if vessels are able to carry more cargo, the number of shipments required could be fewer, further driving positive environmental change.” BULK HANDLING NEWS  31

AGGREGATE STOCKPILE SYSTEM INCREASES PRODUCTION CAPACITY AT ALABAMA MINE Reputation is everything; each supplier in the chain needs companies and equipment it can rely on, recently benefiting from the quick delivery of a tailored dolomite stockpiling system is Lhoist North America TEXT

Zack Hood


Bruks Siwertell

LHOIST GROUP KNOWS A LOT ABOUT AGGREGATES . The company has global status as a leading producer of lime, dolime, sometimes known as dolomitic lime, and minerals. Lhoist understands what it needs from the dry bulk handling equipment that keeps these caustic, alkaline materials flowing from mines to end users.

Commencing operations in Belgium in 1889, the company has undergone a series of expansions, and now operates around 100 facilities, including lime, limestone and dolomite plants, in more than 25 countries. Lhoist’s development 32


has also seen an international spread, and in the 1980s, it established subsidiary company, Lhoist North America. Lhoist North America also has a reputation firmly placed as a major supplier of lime, limestone and clay products throughout the US and into Canada. One of its key locations is the Brierfield quarry, near Brierfield, in Bibb County, Alabama. This active stone mine specializes in crushed, broken limestone, and for the past few months has been seeing the benefits of new aggregate handling equipment from Bruks Siwertell.



demand. Stockpiling is therefore a critical aspect of these facilities and ensures that there is enough of a buffer between supply and demand.” Bruks Siwertell offers a range of handling and storage options for aggregate materials, and mines, such as Brierfield, often prefer the advantages that radial stacker equipment offers.

Keeping up with demand “The mine opened several years ago and has been steadily increasing its production capacity ever since, but to keep up with current demand, it needed a new stockpile solution,” says Zack Hood, Vice President, Conveyor Technology Solutions, Bruks Siwertell. “Mines and quarries require robust, high-capacity equipment, particularly those that handle very abrasive or corrosive materials,” continues Hood. “It has to keep pace with the mine’s production goals and also onward

“Radial Stackers are really effective at helping operators maintain inventories, and maximize storage volumes with minimal handling and mobile equipment,” explains Hood. “Dry bulk material is received from a conveyor to an in-feed hopper, which moderates and optimizes flow. It is then fed onto a conveying arm that is supported along its length on rails or on a rubber tire gantry. This conveying arm pivots at one end, enabling it to slew in a circular motion so material can be distributed in a radius around the stacker forming kidney bean-shaped storage piles. Conveying arms can be telescopic, so the radius of the storage pile can be increased. “Although this is our first aggregate install in America, as a company we have a great deal of experience with aggregates and delivering their different handling and conveying systems, including storage and reclaiming equipment,” he says. BULK HANDLING NEWS



18 weeks: start to finish “Lhoist worked with one of our representatives early in 2020 to consider a solution that had the potential to increase production capacity at its Brierfield quarry, and manage its stockpile more effectively,” notes Hood. “Our ability to take on the full scope of the project, so the entire stockpile system, along with our competitive pricing and delivery within 18 weeks, meant that Lhoist placed an order in May 2020, we delivered in August 2020, and the plant was fully commissioned by September.” Bruks Siwertell supplied the equipment, installation, and foundations. Its scope of supply included all new

chute work for wet and dry screens, new access platforms for the site’s existing screens, a new idler conveyor, and a new radial stacker. The entire system has a rated capacity of 240t/h and predominantly handles the mine’s main aggregate, dolomite. “This is a very versatile and widely used material,” adds Hood. “Not only as a source of magnesium oxide, and as a concrete aggregate, but it is used in very significant volumes in the production of float glass. So, an important aggregate.”

Positive early results “The system has now been operational for several months and the

The stockpiling system has a rated capacity of 240t/h and predominantly handles dolomite



owner is extremely satisfied with the results. It has not only achieved its original aim of improving the mine’s stockpile arrangements, and reduced the need for manual operations, but it has also achieved the desired increase in production capacity of the facility as a whole,” he concludes. Following this installation at Brierfield, Bruks Siwertell is currently working on the delivery of three new idler belt conveyors for Lhoist’s Marble Falls plant in Texas, which was commissioned in 1983 as part of Lhoist’s original expansion across the Atlantic from Belgium. This system is scheduled to enter operation by the end of summer 2021.



From Bruks Siwertell’s Americas office, in Alpharetta, Georgia, Anna Miles enjoys solving everyday challenges as part of a team, working at an international level and getting to know numerous customers and many different types of heavy machinery

included Bruks machinery, but this has expanded to Siwertell equipment as well. Our parts activities cover a range of products including Bruks stackers and reclaimers, conveyors, such as air-supported systems like TubulatorsTM and The Belt ConveyorTM, right through to ship unloaders, loaders and our extensive wood-processing portfolio including chippers, butt-flare reducers and truck dumps.

OUR BASE IN ALPHARETTA is a busy hub, serving local, national and international industries. This means that I can often leave my desk behind and go to meet many of our wonderful customers. These might include purchasing and operations managers, plant operators and many more.

Knowing individual parts of equipment means that you have to understand how they work together. It is a great way to get to know the engineering capabilities of our equipment and how it is used in the field.

I work in service, and good service support is essential to successful businesses. I believe that aftersales and the aftermarket is as important as the initial delivery. We do everything that we can to ensure spares and wear parts are available and can be delivered quickly when needed. Commitment to our customers does not end when we sign a new deal, it is a life-long partnership, and our department is an important part of this.

Parts for all the portfolio Because I work in the spare parts team, I get to work with all the machinery for all our products. Traditionally, this

Dedication is paramount I have a diverse and interesting job, and take great pride in the service that we offer to customers. The spare parts that we sell, and the service that we provide, ensures that our equipment operates at its design capacities, so that it delivers safe, optimal performance. If I think about what you need to do my job, I would say that dedication to customer service is paramount. You also need good organizational skills, and the ability to multi-task and ‘think on my feet’. The most appealing part of my job is working together as a team to solve the challenges that we face every day.



BRUKS SIWERTELL GROUP Bruks Siwertell is a market-leading supplier of dry bulk handling and wood processing systems. With thousands of installations worldwide, our machines handle your raw materials from forests, fields, quarries and mines, maintaining critical supply lines for manufacturers, mills, power plants and ports. We design, produce and deliver systems for loading, unloading, conveying, storing, and stacking and reclaiming dry bulk materials, alongside equipment for chipping, screening, milling and processing wood for the bioenergy, biofuel, board, sawmill, pulp and paper industries. We are global and local. You will find our main offices in the US, Sweden, Germany, China, the Philippines, Russia and Taiwan, supported by a dedicated network of hundreds of representatives and dealers worldwide. An extensive global service team offers support to all Bruks Siwertell Group customers whenever and wherever it is needed.



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