Gearbox alignments and routine maintenance at Louisiana bulk plant

At a coal plant in Braithwaite, Louisiana, Altrad Sparrows recently completed a range of gearbox alignments, repairs and routine maintenance tasks during the plant’s planned quarterly outage.

Having previously conducted training in the plant for crane and forklift operators, the opportunity arose for Altrad Sparrows to assist the client further by carrying out the repairs and routine maintenance that keep an offloading facility such as this one running efficiently.

With a planned shutdown of seven days, the Altrad Sparrows team (comprising six millwrights, two welders and two support staff) was tasked with completing various gearbox alignments, replacing bucket conveyors, scraper plates and conveyor belt tables, as well as undertaking general maintenance and safety repairs across the whole facility.

With clear and effective communication between team members and comprehensive safety processes in place, the Altrad Sparrows team completed the maintenance work in just five days - two days ahead of the original schedule. And though sooner than expected, each team member kept safety as their number one priority throughout the shutdown.

A contributing factor to the efficiency of Altrad Sparrows during this shutdown came from the team’s training using Star-Tech Laser Shaft Alignment products. Equipped with Advanced Alignment Training, the Altrad Sparrows team was able to conduct highly-accurate laser alignment using Star-Tech’s specialized equipment.

A process that could traditionally take up to three hours using calipers can now take around 30 minutes (depending on the degree of misalignment). As well as saving time and cost, the laser alignment procedure also delivers more accurate measurements leading to unprecedented precision.

Gearbox alignments made up a significant part of our work scope in Braithwaite, which is an essential part of ensuring the continued operation of the plant. When a motor and gearbox become misaligned, vibration can travel up the conveyor stream risking the entire unit’s malfunction.

By aligning the gearboxes in a way that provides more accuracy, we can ensure the longevity of the plant’s equipment and that it continues to operate efficiently and safely.

The Altrad Sparrows team will be on-site at the Louisiana plant at several points throughout the year to carry out maintenance during all planned outages, and we will continue to optimize the performance, reliability and safety of the plant’s critical equipment.

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