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Exchanging Italy’s Longest Conveyer Belt - Part 2

World Cement,

Convinced by detailed project planning

As well as commissioning the ContiTech Conveyor Belt Group to produce the new belt, Buzzi Unicem Spa awarded a separate contract for its installation. Because a change of belt like this always entails downtimes and interrupts the production chain, it was essential that the process should be carried out as swiftly as possible. For the facility at Robilante, Buzzi Unicem Spa planned just 17 days for the entire operation. “The conveyor belt is the main artery in this cement works because every aspect of production and operations depends on it,” says Poppe. “That’s why the timeframe for exchanging it was so tight. Also, being located in a tunnel, the circumstances surrounding this particular belt are especially complex and an even greater challenge for the installation team. Buzzi Unicem Spa tried various service providers, but many of them felt they would be unable to carry out the job at all.”

One of the providers that was invited to tender for its installation was the ContiTech team. They immediately drew up a detailed project plan outlining every step of the exchange operation. From timing the splicing, exchange, and installation of the new belt to rolling up the old one for removal, each individual stage was meticulously planned so the 17-day deadline could be met exactly. “We were able to offer such a short installation time for Buzzi Unicem Spa purely because our internationally experienced professionals worked in sync as a team,” says Poppe proudly. “In fact, we were the only company that was even capable of working within the time constraints that had been set. That was why we won the contract not only to produce a belt but also to install it.”

The international team of experts from the ContiTech Conveyor Belt Group began work on replacing the belt in Robilante in June 2015. The new steel cord belt, measuring 11.6 km in overall length, was delivered in 12 sections weighing around 1800 kg each. Out on-site in Robilante, the experts spliced the first section of new belt onto the existing one, which they then used to remove the replacement from its oval reel. Each time a section was fully installed, the next one would be spliced on and an appropriate length of the old belt was removed. This stage of proceedings required state-of-the-art installation technologies, which the service team had brought with them to the cement plant in Robilante. By working in two shifts, the technicians from ContiTech were able to meet the very tight schedule. In all, 1000 m of new belt were installed and spliced each day and an equivalent section of the old one was removed.

Thanks to their meticulous planning, the experienced team of experts was even able to complete the job two days ahead of schedule. After just 15 days, the new steel cord conveyor belt was ready to hand over to the system operator and all set for operation.

This is part two of a three-part article written by Stefan Hoheisel for World Cement’s January 2016 issue and abridged for the website. Subscribers can read the full issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Check back tomorrow for part two of the article on

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