The logistics chain of bulk materials often begins with a barge. Transportation by barge is one of the most cost-effective ways to move bulk materials from the point of production to market.
With today’s energy cost, this method of transportation is increasing in popularity. E-Crane International USA is the provider of the E-Crane® material handler in North and South America.
This unloading method is applicable to any facility handling bulk materials with barges up to and including Panamax class vessels.
Barge handling has its own peculiarities: the speed of the river current, water level fluctuations, convoy sizes, space availability for unloading equipment, harsh environmental conditions. ECI has developed the expertise and sourced the best components in the market to offer its clients not only the premier material handling crane but also an engineered solution for the barge handling as well as hoppers and material handling equipment.
With this “turnkey” approach the client deals with only one party and is assured that the material handling package will fulfil or exceed the client’s expectations.
After determining the client’s performance requirements and obtaining the required data for the peripheral systems, ECI engineers a complete material handling package assuming full project management responsibility. Major components normally include the material handling crane, hopper, feeder, barge haul and barge breasting system.
The barge handling system normally consists of an upstream and a downstream winch with appropriate capacity to pull the fully loaded barge along the river cell or dock face to be offloaded by the E-Crane®. The barge can also be secured against drifting away from the cell by a continuous barge breasting cable.
This is the fastest and safest way to handle and offload a barge. Since barges are normally of a uniform design and capacity, standardized components are used to keep engineering expenses to a minimum and to take advantage of purchasing off the shelf, pre-engineered components.
The movement of the barge during the discharge operation is controlled by the E-Crane® operator from his cabin while the barge is being offloaded or by ground personnel while the empty barge is substituted for a full barge.
This affords the crane operator maximum control of the barge position and thus maximum discharge rate as well as maximum safety for the ground personnel.
The control equipment for the barge haul system is completely enclosed in one control panel.
That can be located as far as 600 feet from the operator. In case the infrastructure, environmental issues or other circumstances do not favor a permanent installation, this complete material and barge handling package can be mounted on a floating material handling platform as well.
ECI is currently installing barge handling systems for AEP Kyger Creek, AEP Clifty Creek and Power South (AEC Lowman) providing a complete solution to their material handling needs.
Source: IBJ, Issue 4 – 2008