Lochaber Smelter

In 2008, FATA Automation Limited was contracted by Rio Tinto Alcan to ‘power up’ an existing Maintenance Loop in the Rodding Conveyor at the Lochaber Smelter. The modifications eliminated the requirement for operators to manhandle empty rods.

To permit rods to be processed in single or multiple units and to allow storage of rods in the loop, the conveyor loop was converted to full Power & Free operation by replacing the track completely.

Within the new powered up configuration, track stops were arranged to hold up to 11 carriers in accumulation.

6 metre stroke rodless cylinder transfer units allowed rods to bypass the new loop when required.

Rio Tinto Alcan operate a 24/7 production programme, which required the modification to be carried out during production time but utilising ‘Down Days’ to break into the main line and commission the system.

Lynemouth Smelter

The Rodding Room Power & Free conveyors at Rio Tinto Alcan Lynemouth plant transports rodded anodes on a single combination trolley. The conveyor as originally installed was designed to handle 750kg anodes, as part of a plant upgrade the anode weight was increased to 1100kg. The increase in rodded anode weight on the single trolley caused load trolley reliability problems.

To improve reliability FATA were awarded the contract to design and supply 340 uprated Power & Free load trolleys. The new trolley design maintained all exterior dimensions in order to operate in the existing conveyor. The trolley included high strength material side plates, wider tyred "bolt-on" load wheels with all new designed castings.

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