Structural Auditing and Evaluation
The structural and mechanical audit is an investment by the client to ensure that either new or existing machinery is safe to operate, complies with relevant codes, and can achieve the required operational parameters. Nine Dot Solutions has audited various bulk material handling structures, including Stackers, Reclaimers, Shiploaders, Shipunloaders, Ship-to-Shore Cranes, Trippers, Conveyor Systems and Steel Structures. A “digital twin” is created using finite element analysis techniques and evaluated to industry and machinery specific codes. The structural audits are commonly conducted according to ISO 5049-1, FEM, SANS or other customer specific requirements. The typical audit process consists of the following
- Visual inspection of the structure to identify visible defects, and familiarisation of the structure and operation
- Detailed Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of the complete structure to determine the operational stress levels and identify possible structural or design defects
- The Finite Element Analysis results are verified by means of stress measurements
- Verification of calculated throughput if required
- Operational calculations to ensure the specified equipment and operating parameters will achieve the specified capacity. Items include bucket wheels, conveyors, specified drives etc.
- The results of the Visual Inspection, Finite Element Analysis and Stress Measurements are summarised in a detailed report, highlighting possible structural defects and prioritising them for the customer’s attention
Nine Dot Solutions can also assist in evaluating newly acquired structures during design and manufacturing phase, to ensure the assets will perform as specified. Conducting the audit prior to manufacturing can reduce the cost and efficiency of required fixes.
The digital twin created during the audit process can be used for all future works, including devising maintenance plans, investigating and implementing upgrades or refurbishments, and for failure analyses.
Through advanced simulation techniques, Nine Dot Solutions can conduct an in-depth slew bearing analysis. This analysis accurately simulates slew bearing loading, and the results are used to calculate the expected slew bearing life. This is commonly performed on Stacker-Reclaimers.