October 2013

The best in new technology

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Compiled by Eavan Moore

◢ Look alive

Hard-LineHard-Line Solutions developed EntryAlert for underground situations where remote load haul dump (LHD) truck operators cannot see pedestrians entering their vehicle’s area. One strobe light is installed over the entrance to the drift and flashes as long as there is an LHD operating. When someone enters the drift, they break a light beam at the entrance, and a second strobe light at the remote operator station starts flashing. The equipment is connected by cables to a remote control used by the operator, who can reset either light once the pedestrian is clear or the vehicle is no longer operating remotely. Max Gray, North American sales and global marketing director, says customers had been asking for this additional layer of safety. “It is good mine management on any drift using remote operation,” he says.

◢ Convenient control

Tilt_Level_ProbeConveyor Components Company has updated its Tilt Level Probe with an explosion-proof version of the control unit for more convenient placement. The probe itself is either a six- or nine-inch steel cylinder suspended over bulk handling equipment. The unit can be set to detect either the presence or absence of material and allows for a maximum of 5,000 feet of cable between control and probe. The three models available include dust-proof, weather-tight units and models that are explosion-proof. “Not only can the probe be placed in a hazardous environment, but this control unit is also designed for use in hazardous environments,” says sales manager Rich Washkevich, adding the new control units also feature long-life LED indicator lights and lightweight surface-mounted electronics.

◢ Non-smoking areas 


The CA610LF75 leaky feeder coaxial cable from AIR802 meets the mining industry’s growing interest in zerohalogen cables, according to chief technology officer Michael Bryant. Halogen is a popular material choice for fire retardant cables in North America because it has a low burn rate. Still, fire and water lead halogen to produce toxic fumes and acid. AIR802 uses a low-smoke zero halogen material with its cable. “This material will do the same thing and accomplish more by producing less toxic smoke,” says Bryant. “We’re seeing more and more customers asking for low-smoke zero halogens. It’s particularly useful in underground mines.” The cable is designed for 150 MHz VHF systems and can support up to 450 MHz frequencies.

◢ Powerful wrench

PROTO_wrenchStanley Black & Decker subsidiary PROTO designed its first line of pistol air impact wrenches with both power and ergonomics in mind. Senior brand manager Alan English says the handle of the PROTO Titanium series air wrenches is positioned in the centre of the tool, alleviating wrist strain and improving product airflow. “The air flows directly into the motor of the tool and not up into the back of the tool, like many of the competitive units,” he explains. The result is the highest breakaway torque in the industry: 1,260 foot pounds in the half-inch drive size compared with 1,100 and 1,190 foot pounds, respectively, in PROTO’s closest competitors, says English. Its titanium front housing also works to keep its weight low, at 4.6 pounds in the half-inch size.

 ◢ Save the tires

TrimbleTrimble’s TirePulse Monitoring System caters to users who need precise, timely temperature and pressure data on any tire type. Chris Wheeler, segment manager for telematics devices, says the pressure gauge is accurate within three percentage points, allowing users to fine-tune their tire inflation. The sensor’s valve-stem positioning protects it from breakage and overheating. Trimble’s fleet management and productivity software, VisionLink, provides an interface for running real-time updates on tire conditions. A fault in the tire, like a major pressure drop or overheating, automatically generates an email or text to the machine operator or to back-office personnel. TirePulse is the first of many monitoring devices planned to operate on VisionLink.

◢ Low-maintenance belt rollers

EVOMartin Engineering’s EVO high-speed roller cradle improves on traditional roller designs by combining high belt speed capability with better impact absorption and less required maintenance, says Paul Harrison, global engineering manager. “Rolls don’t provide a continuous surface against which the belt can run, and that gives sealing problems, which lead to dust and spillage and all sorts of issues,” he explains. The tightly spaced EVO design creates an almost flat belt edge which, says Harrison, allows effective sealing while adding more support for the belt. Rollers are normally widely spaced so they can be taken out for maintenance. EVO slides out on tracks instead. Harrison says one mine accustomed to replacing four to five rolls a month had zero component failures after seven weeks using EVO rollers.

◢ Plastic protectionIgus

Plastics specialist igus Inc. has released its E4-1 polymer Energy Chain cable carrier, which combines the strongest parts of three previous E4 series carriers in one product. Scott Parker, product sales manager for Canada, says the E4-1 cable and hose carriers have a tongue-and-groove design that protects the carrier’s noisereducing stop dogs from debris. The design can be open to allow debris to fall through or closed to protect the interior from accidents. On mine sites, they typically replace festoon systems or other less flexible, higher maintenance approaches. “Because it’s a polymer, we get a lot of interest in potash and coal applications because it’s non-corrosive,” Parker says.

◢ Into thin air

NeptuneNeptune Systems has released its Neptune Evaporator, promised to be an environmentally sound, cost-cutting wastewater disposal system. Salesperson Tris Waystack says fracking operations use the product to evaporate 97 per cent of their fracking water at one or two cents per gallon, avoiding the cost of taking it to a treatment plant. The trailer-mounted system uses a turbine fan to turn the liquid into aerosol over a lined pond. Contaminants of 40 to 100 microns settle within 150 feet of the unit as they spray out, while water particles dissipate. One unit can evaporate 3,000 to 9,000 gallons per hour. Waystack says no other company sells all-inclusive units of this scale; customers need supply only a water hose flowing at 150 gallons per minute. The evaporator can also be used to treat leachate.

◢ Hoist health checkups

ABBABB has introduced its new Hoist Performance Monitoring Service designed to take the work out of consulting its experts. “What this brings to the table is a very organized, very clear, straightforward way to be able to intelligently look at the customer systems remotely,” says Sachin Jari, North American mining manager. Information is continuously retrieved from operational points like the motor, hydraulics and brakes and sent to ABB. Hoist service experts regularly analyze the data and hold remote sessions with staff at the mine to discuss solutions for issues. Continuous monitoring alerts the customer if pre-established triggers show abnormal conditions; ABB investigates the cause and recommends solutions.

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