Meet the mother of all slab transporters!

Kamag Transporttechnik – a German company that specialises in the production of industrial vehicles, modular transporters and vehicles for terminal logistics – was recently called upon to produce a very special slab transporter for steel giant ArcelorMittal. The vehicle was 71-m long, it carried a payload of 150 t, and it had a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 150 t.

Needless to say, considerable engineering expertise was required…

Slabs are large blocks of steel that can weigh up to 30 t each, depending on the design. Generally, they’re transported in stacks within the steelworks. ArcelorMittal specified that the vehicle would need to be equipped with grippers, which are used to raise the slabs, and that they would need to lift the slabs to a height of 2,5 m in
25 seconds … no mean feat!

To facilitate the required payload, the Kamag engineers had to completely redesign the vehicle’s trailing unit, which would bear the highest loads when transporting the slabs. The rear axle is equipped with gigantic 40.00-57 tyres that are twice as high as a man!

The Ulm industrial vehicle specialists were able to use an existing design and proven drive components for the front end. They broke new ground with the so-called “fatigue calculation”. This enables them to make predictions about the service life of the vehicle construction, for example.

The customer stipulated that the frame could not develop any cracks for at least ten years of round-the-clock transporter operations (despite working under the extreme working conditions associated with any steelworks).

Heat is just one feature of these demanding working conditions. When the slabs come out of the press, they have a temperature of around 900oC. Accordingly, the slab transporter from Kamag is equipped with numerous heat protection plates.

In addition, the tyres on the rear axle, which get really close to the glowing slabs during transport, are each filled with ten tonnes of water, which helps to dissipate the heat that penetrates the synthetic tyres.

Not surprisingly, transporting the new empty 132-t slab transporter to the customer proved equally as challenging as its design. Transport experts from Spedition Kübler assisted in this regard. To move the colossus, Kübler used two InterCombi transport platforms with 12 and ten-axle lines and a lifting bridge.

Two truck-mounted cranes from Ulm-based Rieger & Moser were used for the laborious loading onto the abnormal-load vehicle, a four-axle MAN TGX 41.680. The push-and-pull combi unit (an Actros pushed from the back) travelled 260 km on public roads from the Kamag site in the Ulm-Donautal industrial area to the port at Heilbronn. Once there, the slab transporter was moved onto a barge for the final stage of its journey to the steel producer’s dock. Sounds like a job extremely well done! Bravo, Kamag et al

Published by

Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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