Kiruna Wagon’s Helix Dumper wins Swedish Steel Prize
Kiruna Wagon has won the prestigious 2017 International Swedish Steel Prize – the only such global award for steel industry engineers – for its innovative Helix Dumper rail freight wagon. The design uses high-strength steel to produce a highly durable and efficient wagon for the transportation and unloading of fine-grained minerals
The Helix Dumper wagon concept is designed for long-distance rail transport and the efficient unloading of minerals. Its use of advanced, high strength structural and wear-resistant steels makes it possible to design lightweight wagons combined with a stationary Helix terminal for ‘on-the-fly’ – or continuous – rotary unloading.
Fredrik Kangas, Managing Director of Kiruna Wagon, said: “Kiruna Wagon has been working with high-strength steel since the start in 2004 and we see ourselves as an ambassador for the technology. To one day win the Swedish Steel Prize has been a dream for us, and we are very honoured to receive such great recognition.”
During discharge, the body of the Helix Dumper rotates 148 degrees while the chassis remains on the rails. The rotation is powered by the locomotive’s forward motion and the unloading process requires no extra energy. Coupled with the rounded shape of the body, the rotation creates optimal conditions for efficient discharge of even the stickiest concentrate materials that would otherwise tend to cling to the wagon.
For the final design, both Strenx structural steel and Hardox wear-resistant steel were used. When compared with other systems, a complete unloading system for the Helix is estimated to cost around 14 per cent less than a rotational wagon. Now in its 18th year, the Swedish Steel Prize is a statuette by sculptor Jörg Jeschke and a cash prize of 100,000 Swedish Krona.
“We would like to thank Northland and Robert Näslund and Willy Sundling, who had the courage to invest in this new and revolutionary technology,” added Kangas. “We aim to continue to be at the forefront of utilising the latest steel and joining technologies in heavy rail transport.”
Eva Peturrson, Chairman of the Swedish Steel Prize Jury and head of Strategic R&D for SSAB, which created the awards in 1999, said: “Kiruna Wagon has successfully updated a good idea and used high-strength steels to turn it into a brand new superior wagon solution.”
Kiruna also recent tested a new side dump wagon and unloading station as part of a European Union (EU) project for developing ‘smart’ rail freight wagons for the mined agricultural sector. Led by Spanish agricultural and mining specialists Iberpotash and ICL Iberia, the three-year EU-funded Hermes Project is designed to address aspects of freight wagon performance, including higher capacity and more efficient loading and unloading practices.