Mining is one of the oldest technological and engineering fields in existence, and the demand for high-quality mining structures is steadily on the rise. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the $4 billion mining industry sector has experienced a 6% annual percentage increase in the global export of mining products (2010-2014). The engineering and construction of mining structures are vital to the discovery and harvesting of raw materials, providing stable and durable structural support for heavy-duty equipment and employee facilities.
Custom concrete and/or steel housing assemblies and equipment supports present many engineering and construction challenges to the mining infrastructure; a construction sector where there is very little commonality, as each mining site application presents its own set of unique construction problems and solutions:
- limited available space and varied terrains
- exceptional strength and durability requirements
- balanced and unbalanced load conditions
- field ventilation and power requirements
- strict safety and environmental guidelines
- corrosive and harsh environments
- industry regulations and regional building codes
- tight construction timelines
- budget-conscience resolutions
Structural and mechanical engineers develop precise design layouts for fully functional and safe mining structures which include: on-site management and employee facilities, headframes to house hoisting equipment for raw material and employees, equipment support for drum or friction hoists, custom conveyance systems support, bulk material processing and equipment storage facilities, and other auxiliary equipment such as platforms, mezzanines, elevators, stairs and ladders
The final dimensional specs, component connections, and assembly details are defined in the mining structures fabrication drawings. Because of the inherent dangers of underground exploration and raw material excavation, shop drawings demand rigid accuracy for submittal, approval, and permit processing of many third-party supplied, prefabricated components or system installations:
- pre-cast concrete structures
- structural steel assemblies
- air handling units and ductwork
- elevators, mezzanines, stairs, and safety guards
- windows, millwork, steel cabinetry
- MEP trades: piping, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, life safety
Three Applications for Mining Structure Shop Drawings
- Concrete headgear and equipment support foundations often employ structural pre-cast concrete edifices to withstand mechanical vibrations, resist corrosive environments and offer exceptional strength to weight ratio. The detailed information given on shop drawings for pre-cast concrete structures include dimensions, weights (overall, bracing, and lifting), rebar – steel reinforcing details, aggregate mix, concrete slump specifications, and final installation details.
Mining structure fabrication drawings for precast modular concrete sections help ensure against undetected defects that can cause structural failure and future catastrophe if undetected, such as; cracks due to concrete shrinkage, inadequate footing drains, misaligned foundation sections, incomplete sealings, the omission of connections, and sources of water entry.
Outside engineering services are singularly focused on your project requirements, and utilize skilled designers that employ industry expertise to bring about a fast turnaround of high-quality shop drawings for engineering review, owner inspection, third-party bidding, and field distribution. The fabrication drawing submittal process can be an inefficient and tedious waste of engineering time. Work with an engineering support firm that can facilitate the distribution of engineering comments and corrections with compatible CAD software such as Tekla Structures, universal file formats (.pdf, .dwg), email, DVD, or FTP transfers.
- Steel headframes, long belt or roller conveyors, and steel support systems for crushers, dryers, radial stackers, hoppers, etc. – Structural support and housing for mining machinery and equipment are designed based on the mining material, mine capacity, hoisting loads, ground conditions, and type of hoist being used. Structural steel assemblies consist of load bearing and shedding trusses, braces, joists, and plates prefabricated in a factory-controlled environment to securely transport raw material and withstand the working loads in a harsh environment.
Steel fabrication drawings deconstruct engineering design layouts to detail each steel piece for the material grade, cut, punching, machining, and finishing. Each steel assembly is also detailed to ensure the steel fabricator performs all appropriate welds and bolting of individual components which comprise sub-assemblies for field erection.
When engineering project leaders use an outsourced engineering design service to create detailed steel shop drawings, it not only releases in-house engineering staff for other projects, it also enhances the shop drawing submittal and approval process. Offering a one-stop drafting solution for a high volume of steel fabrication piece marks will eliminate the design accuracy inconsistencies of working with various steel contractors.
- Mining employee facilities mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trade coordination which uses CAD software such as Revit or AutoCAD will remove the time consuming and ineffective 2D paper-based design layout processes. Each trade requires dedicated space for installation, maintenance, and adherence to industry code clearances. Additionally, some system installations require connections or considerations from other trades. Shop drawings ensure all system inter-trade connections are accounted for and any in-field system clashes are detected.
When individual trade sub-contractors are utilized for the final shop or fabrication documentation, the task of clash-detection between trades often goes unchecked. One point of contact for fabrication drawings can identify areas which may require additional modeling to provide insight into alternate routing or installation solutions. Outsourced engineering teams possess multi-discipline designers and detailers to collaborate on the best method for visualizing and detailing critical installations.
Converting Engineering Information into Construction Documentation
Accurately interpreting engineering design layouts for in-factory fabrication require designers skilled at geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GDT) practices, proper application of welding symbology, precise bolt pattern detailing, and accurate piece marking of all beams, assemblies, plates, and gussets. The final level of detail added to mining structures fabrication drawings should leave no question unanswered.
These structural sub-assemblies are machined and joined in a controlled environment and the fabrication drawings are needed for the shop’s personnel to produce the final product according to contract. The high level of detail added to mining structures fabrication drawings ensure the structural engineer’s load shedding and support intentions are correctly interpreted in the shop.
Shop fabrication drawings can be developed from the 3D model representation to force dimensional accuracy and precise connections. Our trained designers and drafters are skilled at isolating critical areas and enlarging the smallest details from a 3D model, to develop clear detailed shop drawings and schedules. Fabrication drawings can also be derived from 2D general arrangement drawings as produced by the project engineer, allowing our designers to develop isometric or 3D views where a more definite explanation is required.
The orthographic views constructed from design layouts are detailed to include all final field dimensions, component take-offs, and all machining and fabrication processes required for each piece of the structure to be fabricated, assembled and erected. High-quality fabrication of concrete sections or steel members will play a big role in eliminating structural failures at excavation and exploration mining sites.
Quality assurance standards mean double-checking material grade, size, piece markings, bill-of-materials, specifications, and cross-references. The mining industry offers one of the most dangerous employment opportunities across all industry sectors. Accuracy is only achieved by checking the details. Protection of life, limb, and property starts with assuring consistency and correctness throughout the engineering process and should be upheld when creating fabrication drawings.
An engineering design may be technically viable, but if the design parameters are misconstrued during final fabrication and erection, the entire project will risk collapse, delay, or expensive field re-work. Ensuring safety means crucial connections with the right bolt fasteners and welding processes are accurately specified and detailed to avoid catastrophic accidents.
Mechanical and plumbing trades for mine structures will require fabrication drawings to prescribe the manufacturing conventions and dimensions for HVAC ductwork, piping, cabinetry, sheet metal, and plumbing. Additionally, MEP trade shop drawings can ensure the coordination of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system connections and space requirements to prevent in-field clashes.