ESPERANCE, AUSTRALIA — CBH Group’s recent equipment upgrade at its Esperance Terminal has resulted in grain throughput increases of about 10%, the company said. The upgrade involved installing a new pre-cleaner, a key component in the ship loading process. 

Delivered on time and on budget, the investment also improved reliability and decreased maintenance requirements and plant downtime at the Esperance Terminal, said Jim Rowan, maintenance superintendent at the terminal.

“Before grain is loaded onto a ship, it is passed through large screens, known as pre-cleaners, to remove excess non-grain material,” Rowan said. “Over time, these pre-cleaners become less efficient, meaning they need to be regularly cleaned to remove build up. If this is not done, the plant may experience downtime from inconsistent grain flow. This had started to happen at the Esperance Terminal.”

To rectify this, the CBH engineering team was engaged to design a new pre-cleaner arrangement, then oversee the manufacture, installation, and commissioning process. The project involved months of planning with the Esperance team and other stakeholders before the installation took place over two weeks. 

Using the design provided by CBH, the pre-cleaner arrangement was manufactured by Schenk Process in Perth and transported by road to the terminal. Local tradespeople from Esperance and Albany were contracted to install the equipment, supported by the CBH maintenance and engineering teams. 

The old equipment was carefully transported from its original position, then removed through a wall, with a crane used to lower it to ground level. The supporting framework for the pre-cleaner arrangement was replaced before the new pre-cleaner was lifted to height, positioned and connected to the plant.

Maintenance platforms and guarding also were installed to ensure a continued safe working environment for the Esperance Terminal team.

CBH said ship loading continued throughout the project, minimizing the impact to its customers, and ensuring country sites could continue to move grain to port. This achievement was made by possible by the project team working 24 hours a day in shifts.