Big breakers beat blasting for Birla Cement
World's largest fleet of Epiroc HB 10000 hydraulic breakers used for primary rock extraction in Indian limestone quarry
HEADQUARTERED in Kolkata, Birla Cement are part of the MP Birla Group, with cement production sites in seven locations in India and a total capacity of 15.5 million tonnes per annum.
One of the company’s limestone mining operations is located in the state of Rajasthan, near the city of Chittogarh, home to the historic Chittor Fort. Here, the company operates the world’s largest fleet of Epiroc HB 10000 heavy breakers.
As Chittor Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site, conventional mining activities are not permitted within a 10km radius of the fort. Therefore, Birla Cement have opted for blast-free mining using rig-mounted heavy hydraulic breakers for primary rock excavation.
For this purpose, in 2015 the company invested in a total of 17 Epiroc HB 10000 heavy breakers and currently has a further five of the heavyweight units on order.
With Birla Cement needing a reliable breaker that could work for 3,500 hours without major breakdowns, Epiroc introduced them to their powerful HB 10000 model. The power generated in a single impact between the HB 10000’s piston and working tool corresponds to a weight force of around 760 tonnes, whilst the impact frequency is up to 380 blows per minute.
However, to optimize the HB 10000 for the specific task of primary rock excavation, Birla Cement specified several upgrades, including features such as twin ContiLube II for enhanced lubrication, easy-to-fix split wear bushings and modified flange seals to withstand the high temperatures.
Epiroc’s patented Intelligent Protection System (IPS), a fully automated, state-of-the-art system that provides simpler, more efficient and more economical operation, was also specified and implemented.
The terrain at the mining site near Chittogarh comprises compact strata with compressive strength of 100–160MPa. Here, the rig-mounted hydraulic breakers work three shifts continuously, achieving production rates of more than 15,000 tonnes per day.
Within the scope of Birla Cement’s comprehensive maintenance and spare parts contract, Epiroc are on hand around the clock to ensure trouble-free operation with minimum machine downtime.
The contract includes repair and maintenance support, with engineers available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure availability and maintain productivity. Moreover, extensive aftermarket inventories are maintained at both the customer’s site and at Epiroc’s warehouse near to the site.
Jerry Andersson, general manager of Epiroc Mining India Ltd, said: ‘Our thanks to Birla Cement for recognizing the true potential of our HB 10000 in their application. They were looking for blast-free mining operations and the technical team here at Epiroc were happy to respond to their suggestions for optimizing our equipment for the task.
‘Excellent results are being achieved with our heavy hydraulic breakers and we have developed a strong partnership with the customer. We will continue to monitor the pulse of their operations and adapt to their needs.’