Thyssenkrupp is an industry pioneer and world leader in the manufacture of stackers, drum reclaimers and other stockyard machines. Moving with the Industry 4.0 tide, the global engineering specialist has introduced new technology that improves stacker efficiency and performance.

Their stackers are responsible for stockpiling an extensive range of materials at mines, quarries and ports across the African continent.
The company recently delivered a locally designed and manufactured 2000tph, 100m long (including the tripper), 300t stacker to a coal
mine operating in South Africa’s Waterberg region.
“We have invested substantially in our stacker design to ultimately provide cost and time saving benefits to our customers across Sub-Sahara Africa,”
notes Jacques Steyn, General Manager: Materials Handling at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Africa. The company locally designs and builds
stackers with capacities from 50 to 20 000tph, in boom lengths from 10m to
65m and in an assortment of shapes and sizes such as fixed, travelling, luffing, slewing as well as a combination of the aforementioned.
“There are customised stacker solutions to customer specifications. Local design, manufacture and customisation illustrates our commitment to
providing customers with best-in-class products in the shortest turnaround time.”
A pivotal role
Jacques observes that stackers play a pivotal role in continuous stacking processes with stacking critical for efficient reclaiming and homogenous
blending. “The basic operation of these machines and the mechanics of stacking and reclaiming have not changed significantly over the past 5 decades.
However, with the advent of the digital age, manual control systems have given way to automation and most modern stackers are fully or semi-automated.” Machines are now controlled from remote on- and off-site offices. Changes are also seen in the way in which information is fed to and from the equipment.
Automation of the entire process provides stockyard managers with vital information such as knowing exactly where the stackers and/or reclaimers
are, how they move, what quality and quantity of material they are processing as well as the grade of material that is being conveyed.
The availability of this massive amount of data allows for a completely automated stockyard system which results in better planning and consequently a more efficient plant.
Scientific control
“We have designed and developed online analysersthat provide analytical process controls for stockyard blending and homogenisation as well as scientific control of mineralogy of stockpiles,” shares Jacques.
Through online analysis, the presence and amount of a large number of different elements can be determined, eliminating the need for taking samples to the laboratory thus saving time and costs. Using this information as input, this stacker and stockyard management system achieves an optimal blend of mineral stockpiles and subsequently ensures a constant mineralogy feed to process plants.
Stackers are normally designed for the life of mine but Jacques points to the importance of general maintenance to ensure that the machine remains
in good working order to maximise its life cycle.
“If these machines are properly maintained, they will continue working for 40 years plus.” To assist customers in safeguarding the health of their
stackers, thyssenkrupp offers best-in-class service which includes a structural inspection and analysis, an aspect often overlooked by customers who tend to focus on servicing easy-to-replace mechanical, hydraulic and electrical components.
Jacques warns that failure of a stacker’s main structural component can result in protracted downtime and exorbitant repair or replacement costs, making regular inspections crucial.
Digitisation space
In today’s global economy, improved productivity, production, efficiencies and safety are critical to operational survival of a mine or plant. Carbon
emission management is another factor that no longer can be ignored.
“Automation certainly ticks all these boxes. Operations are often daunted by the initial capex involved in automating equipment but research shows that over the life of a mine or plant, automation maximises factors that contribute to profitability and minimises factors that drive up Opex, presenting a solid argument for investing in this technology.
“These technological additions to our stackers place us firmly in the
digitalisation space and bring these machines into the modern
age. There can be no doubt that stackers will continue to play a fundamental role in the future of modern mechanised and autonomous
bulk materials handling, making a valuable contributing to an operation’s sustainability,” Jacques concludes.
thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (South Africa)
Kgothatso Ntsie
Tel: (011) 236-1000