Sept/Oct 2016

The best in new technology

By Vince Morello, Kelsey Rolfe, Kate Sheridan

◢ Cold comfort

fortress clothing

Courtesy of Fortress Clothing

Working in cold temperatures can be challenging for both companies and employees. Workers are not very productive when they layer up in clothes that add weight without holding much heat, and have to keep jumping into the work truck to warm up. To make these conditions more manageable, Fortress Clothing has designed its base layer jacket and pants with a half inch of insulation to keep workers warm and limber. Fortress CEO and president Dale Lewis claims the clothes allow workers to feel comfortable in -35 C weather. The company also offers a liner for extreme temperatures down to -55 C, which comes with an inch of insulation, and can also serve as a base layer for additional clothing. Fortress uses a patent-pending technology that features engineered polymer about 13 millimetres thick that retains heat while being breathable enough to offer moisture evacuation, according to Lewis. “With our clothing you are actually comfortable and warm even when sweating,” he said.

– Vince Morello

◢ Scaling down

ScaleBOSS 3D_Hi Rez_09
Courtesy of Breaker Technology

In the tight spaces found in underground operations, miners need flexible and reliable tools to properly remove loose rocks from the walls and ceiling of mine drifts. The new ScaleBOSS 3D from Breaker Technology has a boom with the ability to move across five axes, allowing it to reach further and higher while also being small enough to easily maneuver underground. “Scaling is a tough job – and it’s important to scale effectively for proper ground control,” said Don Sissons, the president of Breaker Technology. A poorly-scaled passageway can lead to unstable ground conditions, putting workers at risk. “We are confident that this machine is a game-changer for that three-to-five metre drift size, and are continuing to develop the full ScaleBOSS family,” Sissons said. The ScaleBOSS 3D runs on a Deutz diesel engine and is easy to maintain due to its open-centre hydraulic circuit, which eliminates the chances of debris or contaminants entering the hydraulic breaker tool and damaging the components.

– Vince Morello

◢ Floating a smaller footprint

Eriez HydroFloat Install

Courtesy of Eriez

Can a flotation system dramatically reduce the environmental impact of a processing plant? Eriez believes its HydroFloat Separator system can, by handling coarse ore particles up to 850 microns with a combination of fluidized bed and gravity concentration technologies. Three papers about the system were presented to launch it into the wider market in September at the International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC) in Quebec City. The system increases the rate of bubble-particle collisions and allows for better buoyancy to promote a high recovery rate with coarse ore – even if only two per cent of the mineral’s surface area is exposed. Keeping ore coarse reduces the grinding and milling required prior to flotation, reducing the amount of energy needed to run the processing circuit and the amount of water eventually trapped in tailings ponds by fine particles, according to the company. “This will change the way flowsheets are designed,” said Ken Roberts, the director of global sales at Eriez’s flotation division, adding that the system can scale up directly, without a scale-up factor used for conventional flotation systems. Eriez is promoting the system for use at projects with sulphide-based ore and 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes-per-day requirements. Previously, the system was tested at projects with lower tonnages. The technology was developed over 15 years, with pilot projects completed in South America, the U.S., and Canada.

– Kate Sheridan

◢ Simplified orientation

Courtesy of Boart Longyear

In the past core orientation had been a long and laborious process, with operators forced to disassemble their tool to insert an electronic controller before finding the core sample’s lowest point. Boart Longyear expects to make the process easier with its new core orientation system, TruCore. “TruCore was developed to provide consistent, accurate core orientation to geologists on site,” said Adam Tomaszewski, product manager for Boart Longyear’s instrumentation product line. With TruCore, drill operators simply press a button on the handheld controller to begin orienting the core sample, without needing to disassemble the tool. The TruCore comes with flashing LEDs to make it easier to align the tool with the core sample by pointing the controller at an LED light port and rotating the core barrel until the LEDs flash red. From there, the controller will tell the driller the core sample can be marked at the bottom. “You have a significant reduction in manual handling over the market leader right now,” said Tomaszewski. “The main feature is TruCore has wireless communication so there’s no need to disassemble a tool to take a mark.” The system is also able to alert users when the sample has been oriented or if the orientation has failed.

– Vince Morello

◢ Analytical assist

Courtesy of AMC Consultants

With so many parts of an operation generating data, mining companies now have a glut of information that could help improve productivity at their sites, but may not have the time or resources to analyze it. AMC Consultants plans to help mine operators with this problem through its new On-line B e n c hma r k i n g service. The company will collect e q u i pme n t - u s e data from a client’s operation either onsite or remotely to understand the project and build a working relationship with operators at the mine. “We’re providing analysis around the productivity, the operating hours, availability utilisation and breaking down the time components [of when equipment is or is not being used],” said Kate Sommerville, business improvement manager at AMC. The analysis will consist of building a capacity model – the maximum throughput a mine site can achieve with what Sommerville calls a “good level of productivity” – and comparing it to the site’s current position, its budget and the company’s forecast target. If the site’s maximum capacity is lower than the company’s goals, AMC will look at the site data it has collected and help its client resolve any productivity issues. AMC can also benchmark a mine site and compare it to other operations, either within the company or that produce the same commodity.

– Vince Morello

◢ Easier maintenance

Courtesy of Haver and Boecker

With most screens, maintenance on the main bearings requires a work shift to complete and work on the rubber mounts takes another one. But because of the complexity of its mounting system and the number of components in it, Haver and Boecker’s used to take almost two days. To save clients time, the company released a new Tyler F Class Split Bucket Mounting System. The split bucket has a two-piece body, which allows operators to easily remove the side arm and bucket at once, and reduces maintenance downtime to one 12- hour shift. “We found a solution where the outside bearing and the surrounding components don’t have to be dismantled,” said Dieter Takev, Haver and Boecker’s vice-president of engineering and technology. “The entire unit can be pulled off in one piece painlessly and quickly.” The split bucket and split body bracket “can be lifted off the supporting frame like the truck bed off a truck,” added Takev.

– Vince Morello

◢ Reduced hosing

Sandvik DD422iE
Courtesy of Sandvik

Lengthy hydraulic hoses on drill rigs often chafe on rock faces and wear out quickly, taking them out of production. Sandvik designed its DD422iE battery-trammed mining jumbo to solve this problem. The drill rig’s boom has a 110- metre hydraulic hose, down from 240-metre hose on the rig’s predecessor, the DD421. “The typical reason for [drilling] unit downtime underground is because of hose breakages,” said Johannes Välivaara, Sandvik’s product manager of underground development drills. “So by reducing the length of the hose, we are reducing the downtime related to those breakages.” The DD422iE also incorporates a 3D scanning unit, which, by scanning the surroundings, can calculate the rig’s position and orientation and automatically navigate it. The scanning unit also identifies the volume of the rock in the tunnel, and lets the operator know if there has been overbreak or underbreak on the previous round blasted. The rig has active power compensation, which allows the operator to set a maximum power volume and, if it is exceeded, have the drill rig begin to pull power from its battery rather than the site’s infrastructure. The rig’s battery can be recharged during the drilling cycle using the site’s existing electric infrastructure, and while the machine is tramming downhill, using energy generated by the rig’s braking system.

– Kelsey Rolfe

◢ Tire spotter

BKT SPOTech system
Courtesy of BKT

Numerous factors can impact tire performance, from road conditions to a truck’s average speed as it travels through the mine site. With its new SPOTech system (short for Satellite Performance Optimization Technology), BKT Tires hopes to help customers reduce maintenance and extend tire life at their operations. SPOTech maps the site’s haul roads using satellites to provide speeds and distances, and observes the trucks and tires with a three-axis accelerometer, which provides data on g-forces the truck is experiencing, and four GoPro cameras attached to different parts of the truck body, viewing the tires. “This will allow us to gain a deeper insight and provide [that] to the end user,” said Chris Rhoades, BKT’s senior product manager of technology. He cited the accelerometer as an “integral” part of the system, as it allows BKT to see where there are particularly strong g-forces along the haul roads, like harsh bumps or severe corners. Once the system is installed at the site, SPOTech monitors cycle times and average and maximum speeds, among other factors. “The truck will operate as it normally would for one or more shifts and then we remove the system and begin the analysis phase,” Rhoades said. The test shifts should help identify issues like tire-heat, irregular wear and road construction that are negatively impacting tire life.

– Kelsey Rolfe

◢ Powering through

liebherr crawler tractor pr776
Courtesy of Liebherr

Reducing fuel consumption offers miners the one-two punch of cutting operational costs and shrinking their environmental footprint. Liebherr kept this in mind when it designed its new crawler tractor, the PR 776. The tractor runs on a 12-cylinder diesel engine and operators can adjust engine modes depending on the power needs of a job, including switching the machine into eco-mode to save fuel. “Functions such as the automatic reduction of engine speed or automatic engine shutdown further contribute to fuel efficiency,” Alexander Katrycz, Liebherr’s head of marketing, explained. Operators can adjust the length of time before the engine automatically switches to idle mode and a complete shut-down. The PR 776 is also powered by a hydrostatic transmission – the first of its kind in the 70-tonne crawler tractor category – which gives the tractor a continuous flow of energy, allowing the PR 776 to move quicker and easier, adjust speeds, pivot on the spot and change gears without any interruption in movement. “This allows exact and powerful steering. Track slip is minimized and operators can concentrate completely on their work,” noted Katrycz.

– Vince Morello

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