In addition to its copper production, Finnish company Boliden is renowned for its operations in Harjavalta, where they also produce nickel, gold, and silver. Of particular significance is the fact that Harjavalta is the sole nickel smelter in Western Europe.
Setting itself apart from other nickel smelters worldwide, Harjavalta boasts the lowest sulfur dioxide emissions per tonne of nickel produced. To ensure this distinction is maintained, a recent upgrade involved the replacement of the electrostatic filter responsible for cleaning the flue gases.
Tasked with this crucial endeavor was Vuorsola, a reputable company based in Pori. As experts in heavy load transportation, Vuorsola secured the contract to transport the colossal 243-tonne electrostatic filter. They accomplished this using a 10-axle Cometto SPMT (Self-Propelled Modular Transporter) in a side-by-side and open compound configuration. The filter, with its remarkable dimensions—16 meters in length, 13.80 meters in width, and 16.60 meters in height—was relocated from the operational site near the chimney to the scrap yard for disposal.
Petri Toriainen, the project coordinator at Vuorsola, explains the initial steps of the operation. “First, the electrostatic filter was detached from the steel structure by experts using a thermic lance and then lifted by a crane. Subsequently, the massive load, comparable in size to a block of four flats, had to be maneuvered over an adjacent office building and gently lowered onto the waiting SPMT combination.”
At the destination, Vuorsola’s employee, Arto Tammelin, skillfully positioned the two 10-axle SPMTs precisely beneath the load, deftly navigating a tight 90-degree bend soon after. The towering load then had to pass beneath a conveyor belt, necessitating the SPMT’s mid driving height to be lowered slightly for additional clearance. Mikko Vuorsola, the CEO of Vuorsola, shares his satisfaction, stating, “The entire operation proceeded flawlessly, and we are thrilled with the performance of the Cometto SPMT. It truly propelled us to the maximum efficiency.”
Following the successful relocation of the electrostatic filter, the new parts, mounted on elevated supports, were also transported by the SPMT from the assembly location to the crawler crane, enabling further lifting at significant heights. Joachim Kolb, Sales Manager at Cometto, emphasizes the importance of time in such operations, saying, “Time is money,” and notes the crucial role played by efficient handling in preserving a cleaner environment. “For a better tomorrow,” he adds.