David Dimmock reveals how claddings help to achieve more safety and efficiency for the ‘giants’ of mining
Nowadays huge machines are used in mining and reliability is a key factor in their operating efficiency. This is especially true for diesel engines, and high-temperature insulations – particularly those enclosing turbochargers and exhaust elbows – can make a huge contribution.
Tmax-Insulation Claddings are modular insulation covers, made up of different material layers: an insulation material is fully enclosed in sheet layers, typically stainless steel. Using a fixing-point design means they can be easily removed and then refitted. The uncovered components are thus thermally insulated, meaning that flammable particles can’t collect on surfaces and temperature-sensitive components in the area are protected from overheating.
Regarding safety, effectiveness and durability, the covers exceed alternative solutions such as matting and mouldings. Where these can lower the temperature and limit the deposition of combustible material onto hot components, they have disadvantages – e.g. the risk of overheating turbochargers – and therefore can be a danger for other components.
The Tmax-Insulation Claddings can be tailored to the requirements of individual machines and engines. Torsionally rigid and vibration-resistant components have to meet the demanding mechanical requirements of the engine compartment and be easily removed and refitted.
The advantages are clear: the claddings can guarantee fire and accidental contact protection for the engine compartment and its associated components and can ensure simple maintenance of the overall system. The insulation doesn’t just protect; it also retains the heat within the system, meaning that a more efficient exhaust after treatment can be achieved.
Thermamax is fully involved with the insulation enclosure for an engine compartment in one of the world’s largest excavators.
The development needed an enclosure capable of retrofit, estimated at 5-10 units a year, as the engines involved were already fully manufactured in volume and in service in various other machines. In many cases no insulation protection was required due to local conditions.
The development period was one year - from first design to series production. The concept involved close cooperation with the customer.
The result is a 150kg insulation cladding for a large engine, with an overall length of 2.5m, comprising 60 individual positions and manufactured according to the Poka-Yoke principle.
All fuel lubrication and coolant lines are outside the enclosure, ensuring that in the event of leakage, flammable liquids cannot spray onto hot components and cannot collect in the pockets and cavities of the installation. Ribs and cross-plates in the sheet work also provide additional stiffness, and there are access points for regular maintenance
and any necessary repairs.