ABB launches hoist assessment service for miners

ABB has developed a mine ‘hoist performance fingerprint’ service to cut hoist maintenance costs and improve safety.

The system is a structured audit of complete hoist systems, covering all its electrical and mechanical parts to ensure reliable and safe operation.

“The entire hoist system is assessed, analyzed and tested using high quality data collected from over 20 pre-defined points and a structured tailored analysis tool,” ABB said.

“This data forms the backbone for any further analysis done after leaving the site.”

The results, as well as service and optimisation recommendations, are presented to the customer.

“The Hoist Performance Fingerprint is a cost-effective service that provides diagnostics, key findings and recommendations in less than a week,”  Remy Lanoue,ABB’s global head of service – mining, said.

“By assessing and analysing all electrical and mechanical parts of the hoist system we offer our customers a comprehensive service solution from a single source. This holistic concept is unique in the underground mining market.”

Caterpillar launches its largest ever wheel loader

Cat has developed its largest ever wheel loader – the 994K.

The new machine has a greater payload capacity than its predecessor, the 994H, cutting down the number of passes required to load large haul trucks.

The standard 994K can carry 40.8 tonnes per pass, with the high lift version able to move 38.1 tonnes per pass, approximately 18 and 20 per cent more, respectively, than the previous models.

“The 994K loads mining
trucks in the 250, 200 and 150 short ton classes in one less pass than the
previous model. The high lift configuration is a six-pass match with the
popular Cat 793 mining truck, and the high lift as well as the standard
configuration loads the Cat 789 in five passes,” Caterpillar said.

The machine has also been upgraded in terms of engine power, hydraulics, breakout force, and rimpull, as well as lateral stability.

Cat’s 994K has also been designed with Australian operations in mind, with a new high ambient package allowing the loader to operate in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.

An optional fuel tank now holds enough fuel for 24 hours straight operation without refuelling.

In regards to its bucket “new high performance
buckets in a wide range of capacities are optimized for the 994K linkage
kinematics,” Cat said. 

“The new bucket design has an extended floor, larger radius and
angled side bars for fast loading, high fill factors and good material
retention.”

It has a bucket capacity ranging from 19.1 to 24.5 cubic metres for the standard and high lift.

“A number of efficiency
improvements, such as the electronically controlled and hydraulically driven
cooling system fan, also help keep operating costs down.”

It is powered by a Cat 3516E engine, which produces 1297kW of power, and works through a Cat planetary powershift transmission designed specifically for mining applications.

“An
integral Impeller Clutch Torque Converter and Rimpull Control System allow the
operator to precisely adjust power at the wheels to specific loading conditions
by modulating rimpull from 100 to 25 percent, reducing potential for tire
slippage without diminishing hydraulic capacity,” Cat added.

Safety has also been a focus of the new machine, with it featuring a reduced stair angle for easy access and egress, increased visibility for operators, optimised LED lighting, and improved cameras for greater site awareness, and reduced sound in the cab to help fight operator fatigue. 

For service operators the wheel loader has been designed so engine oil change intervals are 500 hours minimum, with all routine service points are conveniently located on the left side of the loader, while hydraulically driven auto lube handles linkage greasing.

The 994K wheel loader will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2016.

Cat launches new hydraulic mining shovel

Caterpillar has released its new 22 tonne 6020B hydraulic shovel for mining.

The shovel features a 22 tonne payload, and weighs in at 224 tonnes itself.

The 6020B features a new cab and operator station with increased visibility provided by a large floor window and expansive windshield and side windows, Caterpillar said.

“Unrestricted lines of sight to the crawler trucks and pit floor aid the operator when repositioning the shovel and when loading trucks,” it said.

The cab also includes two additional seats for a trainer and observer, making this three seat cab design the first in this size class of shovels.

“All the mining company operators working with our three test machines—in three different countries—adapted to the 6020B very quickly, regardless of their previous experience on other equipment,” Steve Maloney, a Caterpillar operator trainer, said. 

“The three-seat cab design allowed me to train two operators at the same time, making operator training more efficient; and the elevated trainer’s seat provides an unobstructed view of the digging area, which is crucial when training operators on new equipment.”

The hydraulic mining shovel features a modular construction, with a walk through power module that enables easy access to components and increased serviceability.

This modular design also aids shipping and field assembly of the machine.

A single engine configuration also simplifies maintenance.

The 6020B is powered by a 778kW Cat C32 ACERT engine.

Pump-flow allocation technology drives hydraulic pump utilisation to reduce operating energy losses and increase fuel savings, while pumps also move hydraulic oil through a cooling circuit to maintain optimum oil temperature in the harsh Australian mining environment.

It also features an automatic lubricant system to reduce service times and ensure durability.

Cat’s 6020B is configured as a backhoe and handles a standard bucket size of 12 cubic meters.

It has both a coal bucket and a MultiPlus rock bucket for use in dense rock and aggressive digging conditions.

The buckets feature hammerless teeth, which have been designed specifically for the 6020B, and have simple 180 degree turns to lock and unlock each tooth for faster and safer removal.

Caterpillar has designed the hydraulic shovel to use four of the Cat MineStar System’s capability sets – Detect, with more cameras and sensing technology; Terrain, for loading guidance; Fleet, for tracking and production reporting; and Health, for machine condition reporting.

Pre-production versions of the 6020B have been field tested at the Rosebel gold mine in Suriname.

Atlas Copco upgrades its mine truck

Atlas Copco has upgraded its MT42 mine truck with a newly designed box.

The manufacturer first released its initial truck in 2009, and has now be redesigned with a new tailgate and engine alternative.

The new box is made with high strength steel, and has the same physical envelope size as the previous model but with a reduced dump height.

“The geometry is new with optimized internal plate angles, making it easier for material to be released,” Atlas Copco said.

 The new tailgate also acts as a spill guard that automatically folds down before dumping without affecting ground clearance or visibility for the rear view camera.

“The gate is hydraulically operated and the status of the gate’s position is presented for the operator on the display in the cabin.”

Its engine has also be re-imagined, with a new Cummins QSX15 alternative, that meets the exhaust emissions requirements of both EPA Tier 4 final and EU stage IV levels.

“Compared to Tier 3 emission levels the new engine represents a 90 percent reduction for both PM (particulate matter) and NOx (nitrogen oxides),” Atlas Copco says. 

“The engine installation is fully integrated into the design of the Minetruck MT42 and the Atlas Copco’s Rig Control System, RCS. As an example, the status of the particulate filter and the level of the diesel exhaust fluid tank can be monitored on the display in the cabin.” 

The new MT42 also has an optional electromagnetic retarder braking system.

“When hauling downhill, the retarder creates resistance and retardation, providing wear-free braking. 

“Under the right conditions it can also allow for a higher speed, resulting in increased productivity. This solution can be especially useful in applications with a high degree of haulage downhill with load, such as haulage of waste rock fill or in cut and fill applications.”

The new truck will hit the market from 2015.

Magnetite haul truck catches fire

A truck hauling magnetite has caught alight while transporting in Queensland.

While it is yet unknown which mine the truck was transporting for, it is understood the vehicle was travelling along Fitzroy Development rd, near Middlemount, when it caught alight on Saturday, according to The Morning Bulletin.

The driver managed to escape safely, however the truck has been destroyed.

Boart Longyear receives $300m financial bail out

Boart Longyear has had its financial future secured following Centerbridge Partners’ decision to increase its investment in the company tot he tune of $324 million.

The future of the drilling contractor and machinery manufacturer was in doubt earlier this year 
following another round of negative financial results.

The company recorded a massive fall in revenue in its latest first half results, seeing a fall of nearly US $300 million year on year.

The situation for the company was grim, with Boart Longyear CEO Richard O’Brien stating “as indicated in our most recent market updates, we feel we are at, or approaching, the bottom of the market”.

In the results, the company added that “the ability of [Boart Longyear] to continue as a going concern is likely to depend on the company successfully concluding its strategic review of recapitalisation options with completion of a recaptialisation transaction no later than 30 June 2015”.

“Without such a transaction, in order to continue as a going concern, the company would need to either experience a significant and rapid improvement in market conditions and the financial performance of the company, or secure a future amendment to the terms of the credit agreement to provide additional head room at 30 June 2015, none of which is being assumed at present.”

Now its largest shareholder, Centrebridge Partners, has stepped in to rescue the company.

It is carrying out “a comprehensive recapitalisation plan that improves the debt structure and liquidity of the company,” Centrebridge said in a statement.

“We are delighted to announce this agreement with Centerbridge, which has a successful record in helping reposition companies that face financial challenges but whose underlying business is strong,” Boart Longyear CEO Richard O’Brien said.

“This recapitalisation provides significant liquidity to weather the challenges of the current depressed markets for our drilling services and products and the financial strength to allow more time for those markets to recover,” he added. 

“We can now redouble our efforts on customer service, product development and overall marketing while we continue to improve the efficiencies and costs of our business model, which we believe to be strong.”

According to Fairfax, Centerbridge will increase its shareholding from 12.7% to 19.9%, after investing US$6 million in equity.

The deal will see it provide a US$120 million which has no financial covenants, under a term loan, according to O’Brien, and a feature that defers cash interest under the loan until its maturity in six years.

Part of this loan has already been used to pay down Boart’s bank facilities.

Centerbridge is also providing an additional US$105 million term loan that can be drawn to retire Boart Longyear’s senior secured notes, allowing it o defer cash interest.

Boart Longyear added that “the recapitalisation reflects a partnership between the Company and Centerbridge and is not a change of control transaction”.

However a member of Centrebridge, Jonathon Lewinsohn, will be promoted to the board, with the potential for Centerbridge to hold four out of ten positions on the board.

Komatsu launch new dual bushing undercarriage concept

Komatsu has released Dual Bushing Track for large dozer undercarriages to double track life.

The new track has been designed for high abrasion, low impact applications, and eliminate the need for pin and bush turns and associated new sprockets.

According to John Mortimer, Komatsu
Australia’s BDM for undercarriages, the first
application of dual bushing track in Australia – on a D275A-5 dozer – achieved
more than 3000 hours of operation with no issues, compared to average track life of around 1000 hours, including a pin and bush turn at 500 hours, on conventional undercarriages.

“In this application, a large sand
mining site, we actually effectively tripled the life of the undercarriage –
and it would have gone longer if the dozer had not been redeployed elsewhere,” Mortimer
said.

“By the time the dozer finished on
the site, the track was approximately half worn, so we believe it had the
potential to run to 4000 or even 5000 hours. Seal life would have ultimately
determined the longevity of the track before the bushes went.

“In that 3000 hours, there were
absolutely no issues,” he said.

“There were no dry or hot pins, and
the system avoided three pin-and-bush turns, which would have required a week’s
downtime to take off and put back on.”

However Mortimer added that it can not be used in high impact applications such as ripping or hard rock work.

“Having said that, it is ideal for
sand, bauxite and other high-abrasion applications where you have large
stockpiles to be moved around, with no ripping,” he said.

Remote control lubrication

A new development in lubrication systems is helping to cut
the risk of high pressure grease injection injuries on site.

According to the Fluid Power Safety Institute “more than 99
per cent of people who service, repair, and troubleshoot hydraulic systems have
been subjected to the exact dynamics that trigger a high-pressure injection
injury”.

“If ‘hydraulics’ were a recognised occupational hazard, and
thus fell into a category for near-miss reporting we would be at catastrophic
levels.”

Currently grease is the most common fluid in injection
injuries in mining, with one in four of the incidents requiring amputation, and
if the pressure is above 7000 psi, this ratio becomes 100 per cent.

However these injuries have known to occur at pressures as
low as 100 psi.

According to Parker Hannifin “pressurised fluids travel at
bullet speed and can penetrate deep under the skin.

“The injured person may feel only a slight ‘electric shock’
or pricking sensation. Rarely does the initial pain indicate the actual
severity of the injury. What looks like a simple puncture wound is, in fact,
life threatening.”

The Queensland engineering company, Australian Diversified
Engineering (ADE), have developed a remote pressure release system that allows
an operator to attach or remove a blocked grease gun without the risk of an
injection injury.

According to the company it aimed “to find a simple,
cost-effective solution that could be quickly activated should pressure begun
building in a blocked grease gun”.

Its solution was a “garage-door style remote control that
would safely release the pressure in the hose”.

“Our research revealed that the usual protective equipment
was not protecting serviceman from high pressure injection juries, and the
standard process of removing the hose from the nipple in the case of blockages
was intrinsically flawed and dangerous,” ADE manufacturing manager Daniel Kirk
said.

The new system uses remote operated wireless transmitters
that can be activated 50 metres from the service truck to release the build-up
of pressure, can be retrofitted to existing systems, and has already been
installed at nine mines across Australia.

It is contained in a small stainless steel cabinet mounted
on top of service trucks or near the grease pumps, with a single function
remote to turn off pressure to high volume and high pressure grease lubrication
systems.

​Caterpillar appoints new head of resources division

Caterpillar’s mining division head Steve Wunning has announced
his retirement from the company, and will step down early next year.

The manufacturer has already appointed current group
president Ed Rapp as Wunning’s replacement.

In a Caterpillar career
spanning 41 years of outstanding service, Steve played a crucial role in the
development and success of Cat Logistics and our product support business,” Cat
CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

“In addition, Steve’s
executive leadership and long-term vision was critical to Caterpillar’s largest ever acquisition in 2011, the purchase of Bucyrus International. That
acquisition positions Caterpillar with and industry-leading range of surface
and underground mining products and solutions for global mining customers.

It’s no secret the mining industry has gone
through a tough period the last couple years. In the face of that challenging
environment, Steve has provided outstanding leadership and guidance for our
global mining employees, dealers and customers, and his acute focus on cost
management will have us ready for the mining upturn,” Oberhelman added.

Following Wunning’s
retirement from the position Rapp, who currently resides in Singapore and
oversees Cat’s construction industries, will relocate to Peoria, Illinois.

“Ed has led the
reinvigoration around the world of our construction business, which has
resulted in improved profitability and performance in recent years,” Oberhelman
said.

“He’s also provided
outstanding leadership in developing a strong core of local leaders across the
Asia Pacific region, setting the stage for our future growth and success in
that part of the world.”

Cat has also carried out a
number of other changes at the top, with Cat customer and dealer support head
Stu Levenick stepping down, and Cat’s head of Solar Turbines, Tom Pellette,
moving up to replace Rapp’s now empty role.

​ThyssenKrupp opens new industrial service centre

ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions has opened a new plant
service centre in Henderson, Western Australia.

Featuring 3000 square metres of undercover warehousing for
the storage of parts and components, the facility runs over 1.5 hectares in
total and has 7000 square meters of hard standing yard for construction and pre-assembly
work, and is located near the company’s existing workshops.

“This expansion is an important milestone to strengthen the company’s
plant technology capabilities and to enhance the support services for the
company’s customers from the mining sector,” ThyssenKrupp said in a company
statement.

Speaking at the opening of the facility, ThyssenKrupp Industrial
Solutions (Australia) managing director Greg Breakell said “our new Henderson
service centre reinforces our commitment to Australia and our customer-centric
approach”.

“This unique combination of technology expertise and
execution capability allows us to offer engineering, procurement, and
construction projects as well as associated services from a single source.”

The launch of the new facility comes just days after
ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions integrated Uhde Shedden, Polysius, and
ThyssenKrupp Materials Handling into to a single unit.

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