A Simex VSE 40 screening bucket is delivering successful results in Siberia on the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline, which will transport Russian gas into China.
“Power of Siberia” is the natural gas pipeline constructed and managed by Gazprom (the Russian energy giant performing extraction and distribution of petroleum products) which will bring the gas of Sakha Yakutia, a region of Eastern Russia, all the way to China. When completed, the pipeline will enable 38 billion cu m to be supplied each year. By the end of 2018, a 2220 km section will be finished, serving to transport the gas from the extraction area to Blagoveshchensk at the border with China. This will be followed by construction of an additional two sections, respectively 800 and 1000 km long. The longer will connect Power of Siberia with the pipeline that carries the gas to Vladivostok.
A gigantic and complex infrastructural work
Power of Siberia is the result of a long and complex design phase and its execution represents a huge undertaking. More than 3,000 people are involved in its construction, a job that requires meticulous logistical planning also taking into consideration the remote zones the pipeline crosses through. As it is a gigantic work site divided into several sections, all in continuous advancement, the project has also demanded that thousands of kilometers of tracks and roads be opened in order to allow access to the different areas where the route passes (nearly all in forested areas: the Siberian taiga). The pipeline also crosses several rivers, including the large Amur River, and several base camps have been set up to contain workshops and lodging for 100+ persons in some cases. An additional challenge is the weather conditions, which can see temperatures dipping down to -50°C during the winter months and also pose problems during the spring months due to the mud, creating a very difficult task for workers and machines alike. Among the various contractors assigned the construction of the natural gas pipeline is Stroigasmontage.
A VSE 40 for the “bedding”
One of the most delicate phases of operations for Power of Siberia's construction is the welding and the laying of the pipe (1420 mm diameter), which cannot be set directly on the bottom of the trench, but instead on a 30-cm bed of screened material containing aggregates no bigger than 0-28 mm. This “soft” layer, called “bedding” in the petroleum industry, must guarantee that the pipe be perfectly level and prevent that the sections of pipe are not damaged by aggregates having a pointed shape or extreme size.
The bedding has a fundamental role in the preservation of the pipeline over the long-term, which in the case of the Power of Siberia must have a 20-year operating cycle before undergoing extraordinary maintenance. To guarantee the required size of the aggregates the process usually involves screening using large mobile plants that are transferred to the pipe laying area when, as the work progresses, the time and distance for transporting the material are excessive. However, in the area of Tynda in the southernmost part of the pipeline route (some 300 km from the Chinese border), Stroigasmontage successfully experimented a new method for making the bedding. At that work site the contractor first performed a thorough evaluation, and then purchased a VSE 40 screening bucket from Simex dealer Professional in Ivanovo, a tightly structured company that operates across the Russian Federation and that has over 280 sales and technical staff.
The screening bucket, the first of its kind bought by Stroigasmontage, is having excellent results both for the quality of the material and the production volumes, with the bedding process progressing smoothly since it is mounted on an excavator. The attachment has also proven extremely reliable despite the fact that work carries on continuously and that weather conditions are harsh: last January and February average temperatures were -30°C (-22°F), even hitting -47°C (-52°F), and in any case never rising above -25°C (-13°F).
Output sizes changed without stopping
Like the other screening buckets of the VSE range (VSE 10, VSE 20, VSE 30) produced by Simex, the VSE 40 (intended for 25-40 metric ton excavators) allows the operator to change the output size during screening of the same bucketful of material simply by pressing a button, thereby avoiding manual labor and prolonged downtime.
Thanks to their patented mechanism, Simex VSE screening buckets for excavator mounting feature hydraulic adjustment of drum distance, allowing the production of material in different output sizes without affecting work flow. The drums contain various-sized disks with highly differing peripheral speeds that generate an intense whirling of the material to be screened, resulting in a strong increase in production.
With a SAE capacity of 1.40 cu m, the VSE 40 ensures excellent levels of production, also thanks to the easily replaceable screening elements. Highly productive in screening dry material, the VSE 40, owing to its special shape and operation, is also an excellent choice when working with wet materials, as the Tynda job demonstrated.