DCD Heavy Engineering builds gigantic Caterpillar dragline base

At 18 m in diameter the dragline base comprises 16 individual sections.

Vereeniging, South Africa-based DCD Heavy Engineering is nearing completion of a 380 ton base for a Caterpillar dragline excavator destined for a coal project in Mpumalanga.

At 18 m in diameter, and comprising 16 individual sections, the contract to manufacture the base locally was awarded in April 2015.

“This substantial project has been carried out with real team commitment, extensive planning and regular engagement with the customer and employees,” says Kenneth Kok, project manager at DCD Heavy Engineering. “High efficiencies of over 100% in boiler-making and welding, and a low weld-repair rate, confirm the capacity of local manufacturing to tackle large, demanding projects.”

Kok says the pre-planning, the pre-testing of welders, and the overall project management resulted in the contract being delivered on time, with a very high safety standard maintained throughout the manufacturing process.

“The project’s success began with an expert think-tank on manufacturing method options, leading to an innovative approach being applied to the construction of the base,” he says. “Mock-up test structures were built to simulate the confined spaces that welders and grinders would encounter in the work environment and steel templates were supplied to ensure that we conform to drawing requirements.”

He highlights the importance of good communication and effective training. In this project, regular meetings were held to check planning instructions before issuing to the works, and workshops with welders, boilermakers and grinders reinforced the exact tolerances and specifications required. The health of employees working in welding and grinding areas was also monitored at regular intervals.

DCD Heavy Engineering is part of the DCD Group’s mining and energy cluster. The group is also active in rail, defence and marine segments, offering comprehensive and integrated heavy engineering solutions with its engineering expertise, world-class facilities and innovative design capability.

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