Prosteel helps PDC Consultants cut the production of second review drawings by 50 per cent. The company completes deliverables four months earlier than expected for iron ore surface mining operation expansion.
PDC Consultants is an Australian engineering design and drafting company serving the mining, oil and gas, processing, and industrial sectors worldwide. The company has developed an advanced 3D modelling process that integrates the leading technologies to enable full clash detection in the final design of a project. The process includes Bentley´s ProSteel 3D modelling software for structural steel detailing and fabrication, which cut the production of 2D review drawings by 50 per cent in the design and detailing phase of a $1.5 billion project for the international mining group, Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto is the second largest supplier to the world´s iron ore trade. Through its Mine of the Futureinitiative, the company is using automation and remote operation to produce more tonnes, more efficiently, and in ways that minimise the impact on the environment and improve the lives of those who live and work in the local communities. Rio Tinto´s iron ore operations are concentrated in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where there are 13 mines, three shipping terminals at two ports, and a 1,400-km rail network.
A multibillion-dollar expansion programme has already doubled production capacity in the region and aims to reach 333 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2015. Initiated in 2008 as part of this programme, the Brockman Syncline No 4 project opened in September 2010 with a capacity of 22 mtpa. The operation will ramp up to 40 mtpa by 2013, becoming Rio Tinto´s second largest iron ore mine.
PDC provided engineering design and detailing, as well as engineering construction support on the project. The major goal was to ensure that Rio Tinto´s schedule milestones were achieved while ensuring the highest level of accuracy in the provision of client deliverables. These deliverables included Mine Information Modelling (MIM) systems, fully intelligent 3D review models, 42,000 2D shop-detailed drawings (with four MIM reports per drawing), electronic fabrication data, and detailed material take-offs.
The Brockman Syncline No 4 project involved 3D modelling and shop detailing for more than 4,000 tonne of mechanical and structural steel and associated plate work. The facilities included a primary and secondary crushing facility; product screening facility; product sampling stations; stacker, reclaimed, stockpile, and train lead-out bin; and 10 interconnecting conveyors and transfer stations.
The project was primarily modelled in Bentley´s ProSteel software. The software is ideally suited to tasks such as laying out complex structures, producing shop drawings, assembling all connections, and managing bills of material. ProSteel increases productivity by providing the automatic creation of documentation and details. PDC used the software to model and detail the more complex mechanical items, including bins, curved trusses, transfer chutes, and liner systems.
´PDC´s objective is always to use our technology to provide whole-life project solutions and also achieve zero rework during construction,´ says Martyn Weir, Managing Director, PDC Consultants.
Interfacing design across multiple facilities and disciplines was a major challenge. PDC used its advanced 3D modelling technology to create a powerful intelligent viewing tool and MIM solution. This enabled collaboration among a design team that was distributed over multiple locations. The intelligent models facilitated collaboration with the client in several important ways, including:
Using ProSteel software within the 3D modelling process, PDC ensured the most efficient use of resources. The client reviewed the electronic 3D models with linked PDF files, reducing the production of 2D review drawings by 50 per cent.
A materials database was used throughout the project lifecycle, and fabricators received electronic DXF and NC data, eliminating manual data entry. ProSteel provided an efficient 3D modelling and shop detailing solution that enabled collaboration across the project cycle, especially during the detailed engineering phase. This allowed PDC to cut 10 to 20 per cent from the estimated modelling and detailing man-hours and ensure that the project was completed within the client´s aggressive schedule. PDC estimates that ProSteel helped them finish the project three to four months earlier than if they´d used a less collaborative and non-integrated approach.
During the construction phase, tools such as colour coding, construction sequencing, logistics and construction and planning, and value engineering within the PDC 3D modelling process helped to deliver an accelerated construction programme. The high-quality modelling, with millimetre-perfect deliverables, significantly reduced variations and on-site rework. ôOur objective is always to use our technology to provide whole life project solutions and also achieve zero rework during construction,ö said Martyn Weir.
PDC worked closely with the project engineer to ensure the milestones at Brockman Syncline No 4 were achieved with the highest level of accuracy. Integration of geospatial/mapping, mine, civil utilities, mechanical, and structural disciplines within the 3D modelling environment allowed PDC to conduct interdisciplinary interface checks and ensure the accuracy of the fabrication drawings. While the project was under construction, the intelligent 3D models were used in material coordination and on-site erection. PDC also provided a high resolution animation to assist with health and safety checks.
By reducing on-site rework and enabling more accurate materials estimating, the PDC 3D modelling process helped to reduce construction costs and avoid waste. As part of this solution, ProSteel provided significant short-term and long term benefits to Rio Tinto´s Brockman Syncline No 4 project.
Organisation: PDC Consultants.
Location: Pilbara, Western Australia.