March/April 2013

The best in new technology

Compiled by Herb Mathisen

◢ Calm water on rough roads

Philippi-Hagenbuch has patented a variable volume technology on its HiVol Water Tanks, letting operators distribute the water load inside tanks fitted to their haul trucks by compartmentalizing the water in certain areas, says Josh Swank, vice-president of sales and marketing. This load-balancing is useful for trucks running on roads with steep grades. The HiVol Water Tanks have flat tops and square corners, as opposed to traditional cylindrical tanks, and are designed to minimize churning and to suppress dangerous side-to-side surges. The tanks also have front and rear doors, and since each internal baffle has a door, workers can efficiently and safely access the tanks to shovel out fines, for instance. By closing baffle doors, front-to-back water surges are also suppressed. HiVol Water Tanks can carry as much as 220,000 litres of water and are used primarily for dust suppression at mine sites. Swank points out that the tanks can also be used for fire suppression purposes, as they come with water cannons. The company holds an inventory of tanks for Caterpillar 789 haul trucks but also customizes tanks to a company’s fleet. “All options on our water tanks are completely customer-specific, even down to the drain,” says Swank.

◢ Low-maintenance lighting

Dialight has upped the energy efficiency of its eight-watt SafeSite RTO LED Area Light to 100 lumens per watt, providing even more potent low-maintenance lighting for hazardous locations. The solid-state LED lights were designed to take a beating in harsh environments. The lights have a five-year warranty and have been tested to stay at 70 per cent luminance for 100,000 hours, which translates to maintenance and replacement cost savings over conventional lights. “We’ve seen a lot of applications for this fixture on conveyor belts, draglines and crane lighting, or anything that’s going to have tons of vibration and impact,” says T.J. Struhs, strategic marketing manager. “You’re going to install it and forget about it.” The light saves energy too; it was designed to replace incandescent or fluorescent fixtures that use 75 watts. “It’s an 89 per cent energy savings,” Struhs says. Since the fixture is capable of running on DC power, it can operate underground where backup battery power is used. The light is certified for environments where flammable gasses, liquids or vapours are occasionally present, but other Dialight models are certified to operate in those locations permanently.

◢ Metal detection, machine protection

Eriez has released a new series of metal detectors to protect vital and expensive equipment like crushers and grinders from potentially destructive pieces of tramp metal. Installed upstream from these critical machines, the Model 1230 Metal Detector is attached to conveyor belts carrying coal and other minerals to protect them against damage from unwanted metal like bucket teeth. The detector lets magnetic and conductive ores such as magnetite and pyrite pass, while also ignoring metal splices that are used to repair conveyor belts. Customizable to most conveyor belt sizes, the largest detectors available are for belts 254 centimetres wide, with an aperture height of up to 101.6 centimetres. Eriez has also designed the Model 1230 detector to operate in outdoor environments. When a piece of tramp metal is detected, a marking system assists an operator in locating it on the belt. “The operator can stop the belt, remove the tramp metal, then restart the belt, minimizing the number of metal detector trips,” says John Klinge, product manager, metal detection.

◢ Careful with cables

An innovative and intelligent cable design on Atlas Copco’s Scooptram EST1030 may have untangled one of the biggest snags associated with electric underground loaders. Historically, electric loaders, which offer immediate energy and maintenance cost savings, have failed to catch on due to problems with the high tension put on the machines’ power cables, says Erik Svedlund, product manager of electric vehicles. “The cable is dragged and it’s stretched around corners and it’s going to get damaged,” he explains. “That’s costly and causes downtime.” Atlas Copco has come up with a solution that mimics fishing lines: constant low tension is maintained on the cable, without letting it go slack or to be stretched too tightly. “We looked into it and developed a totally new cable reel control system that actually reacts to what the machine is doing,” Svedlund said. This reduces cable wear and thus maintenance. Compared to their diesel counterparts, electric machines can help customers cut their energy costs by 40 per cent. Electric motors also reduce maintenance requirements and companies get underground ventilation savings when operating the emission-free machines. The EST1030 was released globally on February 1.

◢ An exciting boring machine

Herrenknecht AG is bringing its 30 years of tunnelling expertise to the mining game. The German company has applied pipejacking techniques to develop a Boxhole Boring Machine (BBM) that protects workers from falling rock hazards. The transportable and flexible boring machine is capable of drilling 1.1-metre-, 1.5-metre-, or 1.8-metre-diametre vertical or 30-degree inclined slot lines and shafts up to 60 metres long. The machine was designed with a crawler unit that moves the BBM to required locations underground with ease. Once set up, the BBM’s cutterhead is thrust upwards from the jacking frame and, after each metre of drilling occurs, a thrust pipe is added and attached inside the frame to continue boring the shaft. Crushed rock funnels down through the thrust pipes with workers safely operating the machine via remote control. BBM is useful for block caving applications and also for drilling ventilation shafts. “The big benefit of the machine is that the parts are proven,” says Silke Rockenstein, corporate communications team leader. “The only thing new is the product itself, the application of the machine and, of course, the mining market.” BBM has proven capable of drilling roughly one metre per hour when factoring in installation and demobilization times, or two metres per hour when conducting drilling exclusively, says Rockenstein.

◢ Value in the details

Immersive Technologies has released a new underground coal mining simulation – an adaptation of the company’s UG360 hard rock mining platform. The CM360 has five separate coal mining equipment simulations available, including continuous miner, shuttle car, roof bolter, longwall and miner bolter equipment training. Accuracy and realism are key. During the simulation, a continuous miner operator can, for instance, signal a shuttle car driver by cap lamp to relay that it is safe to approach. Immersive Technologies has also developed virtual coal. “We can simulate the difference between coal and rock,” said Richard Beesley, a product manager, adding that a continuous miner will respond with realistic vibration and sounds according to the material it is cutting. Operator movements are tracked in the training simulation and a warning will sound – or a machine will shut down – if a worker gets too close to a machine. “It’s all about taking the miner through simulation and seeing how that correlates in the real world,” says Beesley. Analytics on operator performance are taken, and trainers can suggest improvements to increase workers’ safety and productivity, making mines more profitable. The company provides software updates to its customers to keep them relevant with changes in the industry and improvements with the product.

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