October 2014

The best in new technology

Compiled by Kelsey Rolfe and Chris Balcom

◢ Space chevron brush design

 Flexco chevron brush
Constant cleaning is essential for the smooth functioning of a conveyor belt, and operators of cleated belts often turn to motorized brush cleaners for this task. But the brushes themselves also need attention and maintenance. One particularly common issue in mining operations is the buildup of wet material on the centre of the brush, according to Kevin Fale, a marketing specialist with Flexco. To address this problem, Flexo launched its new Motorized Brush Cleaner. The distinguishing feature of the product, said Fale, is its unique brush profile, what the Flexco team refers to as a “space chevron.” After experimenting with a variety of patterns, including chevron, zig-zags and spirals, Flexco discovered that tightly packed bristles prevented material from passing through as it was being dislodged and caused it to cake on the cleaner. On the new product, which uses a chevron pattern, “the bristles are spaced far enough apart to allow the material to move away from the brush,” Fale said. The cleaner is designed primarily for chevron, cleated, and raised-rib belts, and has been tested in a variety of applications including platinum, chromium and coal mines.

◢ Efficient dump

When a traditional underground scoop truck clears the muck from the working face, it has to pull into a niche in the drift wall to dump the rock into a haul truck at a 90-degree angle. The process ends up creating a distance of 100 to 300 metres between loading and dumping. To reduce this distance between rounds to just 10 to 30 metres, Atlas Copco released a new side-dump bucket for its Scooptram loaders in June. Instead of pulling into a cut-out in the wall to dump the muck, the Scooptram, equipped with the side-dump bucket, can pull up alongside the truck in the tunnel to dump its load. “[It reduces] costs because you’re not making these niches or cut-outs in the tunnel,” said Ben Thompson, Atlas Copco’s product manager. “And you don’t have to drive the scoop all the way to the cut out to make the turn. That reduces fuel, tire wear and time.” The side dump bucket is available for the Scooptram ST7, ST1030 and ST14.

◢ Invisible asset protection

 Chameleon painted tools
During its work conducting investigations for resource and mining companies, Australia-based Chameleon Asset Protection noticed an issue with theft on mine sites. Its solution: an invisible paint for company assets, embedded with a chemical fingerprint unique to each client, and easily seen using an ultraviolet light. The paint, which appears fluorescent under the ultraviolet light, comes in a variety of colours. It can be sprayed or painted onto company equipment like drills or scanners. Once it dries it is nearly impossible to remove. Chameleon keeps a record of each marked asset and its chemical fingerprint in a secure, auditable database. If an asset is recovered by the mining company, a sample of the paint is taken using a scalpel, and Chameleon’s lab will analyze it to determine which client it belongs to. The company also drafts press releases and notices to make employees aware that the mine sites are using the invisible paint, and stresses that clients implement random spot checks on employees exiting the site each day, using special flashlights that reveal the paint. “It might just be the odd scanner or the odd drill, but when […] people are doing that regularly, it soon becomes very expensive to the company,” said Nina Hobson, an executive director at Chameleon. “This is about saying, ‘This isn’t acceptable behaviour and we are doing what we can to stop that from happening.’”

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More sections:

Technology: Gearless Drives
Upfront: Copper and Zinc
CIM News from Canada and Beyond
Mining Lore
Technical Abstracts
Editor's Letter and President's Notes

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