February 2015

The best in new technology

Compiled by Kelsey Rolfe and Chris Balcom

◢ Steady flow

Miners rely on valves to control slurry flow. Leaks, pressure buildups and dust on the valve can damage or compromise performance by making it difficult to open and close. Flowrox launched a new slurry knife wafer (SKW) valve built with a single cast body to eliminate any possible leak paths. The valve also boasts a tower design with a steel cover, switch holders, locking mechanisms and a flushing plate at the bottom of the valve. Todd Loudin, president and CEO of Flowrox in North America, explained that competitors make these features optional, but Flowrox wanted to provide a product that was as reliable as possible: “If you make the best valve right from the start, we feel that it’s better for the customer in the long run.” The new valve also incorporates load distribution rings within the rubber sleeve, ensuring that piping stress will not affect performance.

◢ Remote access

Manual drilling can be extremely dangerous; not only is there the risk of strain from over-exertion, but operators are also vulnerable to falling rocks and debris as they drill a rock face. To meet the growing demand for safer drills, remote-controlled demolition machine manufacturer Brokk and drill manufacturer TEI Rock Drills launched the new TE160 hydraulic drifter rock drill. The hydraulic drill attachment is TEI’s smallest yet and is designed specifically for the Brokk 100 and 160 carriers. The Brokk 100 is only 45 inches tall, making it ideal for cramped, hard-to-drill spaces. The TE160 itself is just under 26 inches tall, but delivers 35 to 60 foot-pounds of impact energy at 5,000 to 6,500 blows per minute. The drill can reach up to 250 rotations per minute and offers 100 pound-feet of torque, ensuring speed and accuracy. A single operator can control the drill and machine, too. “This makes the Brokk and drill combination more convenient and practical, and also frees up an extra worker who normally would be required to operate the second control,” explained Peter Bigwood, Brokk vice-president of sales and marketing.

◢ Increased load capacity

Cost-per-tonne loading efficiency is essential for any mining operation to stay competitive and keep overall expenses down. To this end, Caterpillar launched the Cat 994K Wheel Loader. The model is the company’s largest yet, carrying 40.8 tonnes per pass, which is an 18 per cent increase in payload over Caterpillar’s previous model, the 994H. That means there are fewer passes to load trucks and a lower cost per unit of material moved. Design changes such as an extended floor and angled side bars help improve material retention as well. Other efficiency improvements include an electronically controlled and hydraulically driven cooling system fan, and a new engine air filtration system. “The 994K is a completely new design,” explained Randy Aneloski, senior marketing specialist. “Caterpillar has […] used the latest technologies to create a wheel loader that digs aggressively, cycles quickly and loads trucks faster.”

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