February 2013

Gear and gadgets

Compiled by Herb Mathisen

◢ Mighty mucking

RDH Mining Equipment’s Muckmaster 800D is a powerful, yet compact, underground mining loader designed to let users operate in tighter areas. “It’s a little bit more compact compared with the competition,” says Gustavo Portalier, the Alban, Ontario, company’s chief operating officer. The Muckmaster LHD machine has a 14,000-kilogram load capacity and comes equipped with a 350-horsepower tier 4 engine for lower emissions and reduced fuel costs. The bucket is also customizable, with sizes ranging from 4.6 to 7.6 square metres, to adapt to the work required and the space available in the underground environment. Switching bucket sizes does not require any upgrading to the loader’s components, powertrain, axles or frame, as all bucket options were considered when designing the machine. Operator visibility and the turning radius were both increased in the Muckmaster 800D model. As well, the ride control system lessens the movement of the boom and bucket while driving over rough terrain to avoid spilling material.


◢ Training for the real thing

Virginia-based QinetiQ’s 360 Virtual Reality Training gives workers the chance to encounter dangerous situations and to train in non-scripted, interactive environments so they know how to react should they confront the real thing. Video projectors shoot three-dimensional images onto a customizable screen setup, arranged in 180-, 270- or 360-degree configurations, or even in a 12-metre-diameter dome shape. The space allows 10 to 12 users, including an instructor, to train together as a team. QinetiQ has developed a variety of training simulations, including mine rescue, mine inspection and underground coal mine firefighting programs. A customer’s mine site can be replicated, and the programs tailored to that environment, says Mark Nesselrode, technical director for modelling and simulation. The virtual environments come complete with smoke distortion effects and include details like transformers and power cables, which play important roles in real-life emergencies. Users are fully equipped during training sessions, and when cap lamps or charged hoses are activated, the resulting actions appear on screen. “Everything that would normally happen in that environment happens,” says Nesselrode. “If you don’t fight the fire correctly, the fire wins.” The simulations run on the Unity game engine.

◢ Visual data mining

Maptek’s Eureka software allows exploration geologists to combine a variety of data sources and formats onto one platform, so that they can get a fuller picture of their projects. The software can bring seismic, magnetic, geographic information systems, aerial survey and other geophysical data together and render it visually, alongside the project’s drill holes, to give users a view of the mineral deposit from all angles. Richard Diaz, a sales engineer with Maptek, says the software is especially useful for brownfield project developers, which might have access to historical datasets in different formats from as many as four or five junior companies that previously touched the project. “There isn’t really one package that we are aware of that lets you interpret all those sources at once,” Diaz says, adding that Eureka can import and display ­SEG-Y, Esri, CSV and DXF data formats. Coupled with Maptek’s ruggedized tablets, geologists can use Eureka to record data in the field. The software was also designed to provide on-the-spot editing and includes feature-tracking tools.

◢ Hot lines

By raising water temperature as much as 30 C, Ranger Mining Equipment Ltd.’s new Water Line Heater allows exploration drillers to work in cold weather without having to worry about lines freezing up. The heater uses 12V DC and 110V AC diesel burners or propane-fired burners, and operators can switch power sources in minutes. “Drillers like the option of being able to switch back between a diesel-fed burner and a propane-torch burner just in case a diesel burner fails or they’ve run out of propane,” says company president Adam Purves, adding that the diesel option is also useful when propane is limited on site. The product’s one-inch heater coil, which Purves says is larger than most other heaters, provides less back pressure and minimizes sediment buildup because the coil is nearly the same diameter as a typical one-inch diameter waterline. Once all the equipment is disconnected, water simply flows out when the heater is tilted. The heater comes with an emergency shutdown switch, a furnace bypass switch and a high-temperature shutdown sensor. As well, 16-inch foam-filled rubber tires can be mounted to the heavy-duty, four-point lifting frame to improve transportability.



◢ Outsized capacity

FLSmidth’s Raptor XL2000 cone crusher is more than twice the size of its predecessors – and that fact is clear when looking at its throughput capabilities. “Right now, it’s the largest cone crusher that is working in the world, to our knowledge,” says Fred Gross, the company’s global product director. He adds that the Raptor XL2000 is capable of crushing roughly 3,500 tonnes of material per hour. Weighing in at just over 400,000 kilograms, the 2,000-horsepower crusher is ideal for high-tonnage mines, and since it can take the place of multiple secondary or tertiary cone crushers, it reduces operating costs. “If you’re working on one crusher, it certainly is a cost savings compared with taking two or three crushers down for routine maintenance,” says Gross. With all major equipment components easily accessible, inspections and maintenance can be performed more efficiently too. Two Raptor XL2000s have recently been commissioned and are operating at a mine in Eastern Canada, Gross says.


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