September 2013

The best in new technology

Compiled by Eavan Moore

◢ Beat the heat

Tyco Fire Protection Products offers simplicity with its new Ansul liquid vehicle system (LVS). In an onboard vehicle fire, the system’s nozzles spray a wet chemical agent that suppresses Class A and Class B flames while cooling fuel and hot metal. According to Mark Neumann, director of pre-engineered systems, extensive testing produced a consistent and easily-installed design that runs discreet, out-of-the-way delivery lines to every fire hazard and hot spot. “We considered the variety of machinery and types of hazards and developed LVS to suppress fires in a way that would protect people, property and profitability,” he says. While it can be combined with a dry chemical system, LVS also works well on its own. Discharging to cool and coat flammable fuels, LVS “cools to a non-reflash point about seven minutes quicker than if only a dry chemical system were used,” says Neumann. “That’s a big deal.”

◢ Filter early and often

Customers of Donaldson Company can now buy easy-to-install clean diesel fuel kits for their bulk fuel storage systems. Multiple bulk fuel filters are designed to catch major contamination problems before they plug up engine filters. The extra filtering also helps diesel stay clean enough for modern high-pressure common rail fuel injection systems, where hard contaminants of more than a few microns can permanently damage the injector system. The kits remove both these and injector-fouling hydrocarbons for better engine performance. The filter units come in three different packages – standard, high capacity, and clean and dry – and protect stored fuel by removing moisture and particulates from air entering the tank. Scott Grossbauer, global manager of clean fuel and lubricant solutions, says the kits help out customers who previously had to source six or seven separate filter system components.

◢ Off the beaten track

Joy Global’s Track Shield system prevents or mitigates dipper-track collisions on its electric shovels by automatically modifying the dipper’s trajectory. If an operator pulls the joystick hard enough to knock the track with the dipper, Track Shield kicks in to reduce the impact of that motion. Eric Hsieh, product manager of surface mining technology, says less-experienced operators particularly appreciate the system because it allows them to work fast without damaging crawler shoes through repeated impact – a problem that has only grown with wide tracks like those used in oil sands operations. “It was our goal to prevent the most damaging collisions and to decrease the kinetic energy in the collisions that do make it through,” he explains. Hsieh says each sale of Track Shield can be tuned to the mine’s practices, with personnel adjusting parameters and even allowing gentle collisions, if preferred.

◢ Filling up underground

Underground Force has built its UG30FLT articulating fuel and lube delivery truck on a proven Caterpillar chassis, in response to customer demand for durable underground equipment. “This is the first-ever underground fuel and lube truck built on a Caterpillar chassis,” says Jodi McKenzie, director of marketing at parent company Ground Force Worldwide, which specializes in mine support equipment. “Customers will save money over time by not having to replace less reliable solutions.” With storage capacity of 1,500 gallons of fuel and 400 gallons of lubricant and coolant, the truck is designed for use in all underground operations. The body includes fully baffled product tanks, new and used filter storage, and an enclosed reel compartment with roll-up doors. The chassis is equipped with safety features such as push-out safety glass, a rear window guard, three-point cabin and machine access, and exhaust heat shielding for more hazardous underground conditions.

◢ Can-do computer

Nexcom’s new vehicle mount computer for mining equipment, the VMC 3000, is built to handle complex tasks in harsh environments. General manager Steven Wu says that while many operations use low-powered computers for basic tracking, he is seeing a trend toward high-performance computers that provide the intelligence needed to combine functions like collision prevention and tire monitoring. The VMC 3000’s Intel Core i7-2610UE processor comes in a water- and dust-proof enclosure with a 10.4-inch touch screen readable in sunlight. Wu says the computer’s input/output connections are very secure, and he notes that its components withstand the shockwaves created by dynamite blasts. The VMC 3000 is available with a tracking system through Nexcom’s partner, Red Dog Logistics. Building on the available computing power, Red Dog Logistics software allows drivers to map routes, print shipping documents, monitor vehicle and material status, and share information with dispatchers.

◢ As the drone flies

Lehmann Aviation’s LP960 drone helps miners calculate their raw material volumes from the air. Equipped with a 16-megapixel Sony camera, the unmanned aerial vehicle captures the images needed for orthomosaic or digital elevation mapping, offering an alternative to on-the-ground measurements. “Before the drone, it took a very long time to do it on foot,” says CEO Benjamin Lehmann. The LP960 also records regular aerial photography and video. The 1.25-kilogram craft is light enough to launch by hand and can withstand 45-kilometre-per-hour wind speeds. It travels at 20 to 80 kilometres per hour and has a line-of-sight range of up to five kilometres. Controlled from a standing console, it can be operated automatically or manually. “People can very easily use our software on the go with a Windows 8 tablet,” says Lehmann. He adds that for an established drone manufacturer, the asking price is cheap: not counting the locally purchased camera, the LP960 starts at $9,550.

◢ Speeding up the routine

By designing its new cone crusher with fewer total parts, customers can expect to spend less time on maintenance with Telsmith’s T300 cone crusher, says marketing manager Chad McClaskey. “The T300 contains less total parts, including no socket, socket liner, head ball and accumulators, which rewards the customer during routine maintenance periods,” he says. “A specific example is the Telsmith T300 eccentric that takes a mere 20 minutes to remove, versus nearly two hours for similar competitive models.” The T300’s design replaces more conventional parts with a patented hydraulic release system and hybrid bearings that float on a film of oil and add extra lift. It also features a large-clearing circuit, designed to help uncrushable materials exit safely and quickly. The output capacity of the 300-horsepower crusher ranges from 125 to 400 tonnes per hour.

◢ That special glow

Pneumacore Inc. has designed a version of its Simoniz Sealtite tire conditioners, called Sentry, to reveal tire flaws under low-visibility conditions. Sentry fluoresces under UV light, highlighting rim cracks, bead leaks, and punctures before they can lead to catastrophic failures. It works equally well by day or by night, according to Seth Schneider, vice-president of development, who explains that Sentry is installed into the tire when it is mounted. “During operation, the conditioner splashes around, coating the rim and tire,” he says. “If there are any leaks, cracks or punctures, the conditioner seeps out and can then be seen from the outside.” Maintenance personnel shine a UV light on the tire during regular inspections to catch hard-to-find cracks.

◢ Security on sight

The Spynel-S camera from HGH Infrared Systems gives companies facing security threats a 360-degree view of their surroundings. Unlike typical radar and closed-circuit television set-ups that have limited peripheral vision, the Spynel-S quickly distinguishes animals, people and vehicles without any soda straw effect. “It’s an innovative solution in the way that it combines the advantages of radar with those of a thermal camera,” general manager Vanessa Couturier says. “This unique sensor gives you full panoramic visibility in near real time with automatic detection capabilities. The person in charge of security for the site is able to see what’s happening all around – people walking, a vehicle coming by – with a very high resolution and at a very long range.” The Spynel-S can detect a person at six kilometres and a vehicle at 12 kilometres. A couple of cameras can secure miles of fence lines. Couturier says HGH’s traditional military and maritime client base has expanded to include miners building projects in unsafe locales.

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