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Benninghoven asphalt plant airlifted to Afghanistan

In March 2004 Benninghoven sales personnel at the Bauma construction and mining exhibition in Munich, Germany, were approached by Turkish contractors Cukurova.

Based in Istanbul, Cukurova have been awarded several large construction projects in Afghanistan by USAID: Rebuilding Afghanistan, a US-led consortium formed to help finance the re-establishment of the Afghan infrastructure.

One of these projects involves the reconstruction of an 85km stretch of highway between Kabul and Kandahar, as part of ‘The Rehabilitation of Economic Facilities and Services Infrastructure Rebuilding for Afghanistan Project’. This particular project required the procurement of a new mobile asphalt mixing plant.

Cukurova’s requirement was for a plant capable of producing up to 160 tonnes/h and designed for maximum ease of relocation along the route. To fulfil these requirements a Benninghoven Model MBA160 ‘Mix Mobile’ plant was selected. This offers full mobility together with the required output criteria.

As the chosen supplier, Benninghoven were faced with two immediate problems. The first was delivery time. The customer needed the fastest delivery possible to allow the plant to be in full production before the onset of the Afghan winter, which can start as early as October.

Upon placement of the order Benninghoven personnel managed to reduce the manufacturing time to 12 weeks – an effort that involved more than a quarter of Benninghoven’s staff working to extremely tight schedules.

The second problem was how to deliver the completed plant to Afghanistan. Road transportation would have taken nine weeks at a cost of Euro 250,000, including ‘special escort’ through certain areas. However, this was too long for the customer and therefore a different method of delivery was sought.

The solution was to hire one of the largest heavy cargo aircraft in the world to transport the entire plant by air in a single load. The aircraft used was a Russian-built and owned Antonov AN-124 transporter.

The sheer size of the AN-124 required the availability of an airport with a long enough runway to allow the aircraft to take-off with its large, heavy cargo, which weighed in excess of 90 tonnes.

Fortunately for Benninghoven, Frankfurt Hahn Airport, near the company’s main works at Mulheim, was once a US Air Force base and was therefore equipped with a runway suitable for large military transport aircraft.

Although this method proved more expensive than road transportation, it was deemed to be the best way to meet the customer’s requirements. The aircraft was loaded in one day and landed in Afghanistan the next day. The asphalt plant itself was fully operational within one week of arrival, well ahead of the onset of winter and to the complete satisfaction of the customer.

The MBA 160 ‘Mix Mobile’ plant supplied to Cukurova comprises seven units.
Unit 1 is a mobile, four-bin cold-feed unit with variable-speed belt feeders and a collecting conveyor.

Unit 2 comprises a mobile 8m long x 2.2m diameter insulated dryer equipped with a Benninghoven RJ03 Rax-Jet Turbo burner.

Unit 3 is a mobile bag-house-type dust-collection system with integrated knock-out box.

Unit 4 comprises a mobile mixing section with: a vertical elevator; a four-deck screen; four hot-stone bins; aggregate, bitumen and filler weigh gear; a 2,000kg capacity mixer; and a cabin with a computerized control system for the entire plant.

Unit 5 is a mobile 40m3 capacity reclaimed filler silo with integral elevator.

Unit 6 is a mobile 40,000-litre capacity bitumen tank equipped with a thermal hot-oil heater.

Unit 7 is a mobile 50-tonne capacity mixed-material storage silo with an inclined 2,000kg capacity skip, which is retractable to allow direct truck loading.

Benninghoven UK Ltd, Incendium House, Centurian Way, Meridian Business Park, Leicester, LE19 1WH; tel: (0116) 263 0345; fax: (0116) 282 7241; email: [email protected]

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