​Ammonium nitrate truck explodes

A truck transporting ammonium nitrate has exploded in South
West Queensland, destroying bridges, sections of the road, and two firefighting
trucks.

The vehicle was reportedly carrying more than 50 tonnes of
AN when it rolled, just south of Charleville, late on Friday night, according to the ABC.

Ammonium nitrate is a key
ingredient in creating explosives.

The truck initially caught fire, and had firefighters
attempting to extinguish the blaze, when it exploded, injuring eight people.

Luckily the driver was pulled from the truck immediately after
the initial roll over occurred, with no one being injured in the subsequent
blast.

“As I
understand the auxiliaries performed a snatch and grab (of the driver), they
witnessed certain fire activities which gave the indication they needed to get
out as soon as they could,” chief superintendent for the south west region
Lindsay Hackett explained, according to the Toowoomba Chronicle.

It is understood that the blast
itself was caused after fuel leaked into the ammonium nitrate load.

“We’ve had a primary and a
secondary explosion out there – it’s quite a devastating scene,” assistant
fire commissioner for the south west region Tom Dawson told the ABC.

“The infrastructure damage to that road is
significant.”

He went on to say that the injuries of those caught up in
the blast consist of “a lot of bruising, cutting, very minor burns from flying
pieces of debris, and certainly a lot of internal bruising, which is what the medical
people are looking at.

It was “beyond luck”
that no one was killed in the explosion, Dawson added.

Police are currently searching
for remnants of the vehicle, however due to the size of the explosion they are
finding the task difficult.

“When we were extricating in an emergency situation we
could not locate any specific wreckage of the vehicle,” local senior sergeant
Adrian Rieck told the ABC.

“This could be
for a couple of reasons – one we were unable to conduct an appropriate
assessment based on the amount of smoke and the ammonium nitrate and risk of
further injury; we had to evacuate as soon as we could.

“The second
issue for that is the fact that due to the type of explosion that the vehicle
has disintegrated.”

Rollovers or incidents
concerning ammonium nitrate trucks are relatively rare, with the incident
outside Charleville the first recorded explosion for some time.

In 2012 two drivers were injured after a collision between two trucks, one carrying ammonium nitrate, occurred,
which resulted in a spill of AN across the road.

In that same year another
explosive truck rolled, spilling approximately 200kg of AN across the road.

Image: QLD Police Service

Head-first into High-visibility: New hi-viz helmets

High visibility clothing has come a long way since the turn of the millennium, but we haven’t seen a lot of major changes since 2010. However, a new type of high-visibility tape may become a game changer, one that will have us spotting our co-workers from miles away.

Scott Safety has been in the R&D phase of implementing an electronic neon tape on their safety helmets, which may be available on the market by the end of the year.

David Starbuck said there’s been a lot of research that’s gone into finding the most visible colour, which happens to be blue.

“We’re always keen to develop new accessories for our safety helmets: customisation and adding value to the helmets is huge business for us,” Starbuck said.

“We already have high-viz tapes that go on our helmets, but they require artificial light.”

The tape is able to take an electric current which causes it to light up in bright neon blue, charged by a 30g battery pack on that back of the helmet.

The tape is also able to flash and strobe for higher visibility settings.

The tape is manufactured by EL Australia, who have been fitting the tape to safety vests and motorcycle helmets, and now Scott is bringing it to industrial uses.

“We wanted it to be as low profile as possible, and we were also very cautious to ensure that the weight on the helmet would be limited,” Starbuck said.

“We frequently add a lot of accessories to our helmets, whether face shields or hearing protection, and they would weigh more than the battery pack.

It enables high-visibility for people who are working in dark areas where there is little light, underneath loading docks, roadworks at night, and general nightshift work done outdoors, where traditional reflective tape would be of little assistance without artificial light sources.

Starbuck showed off the prototype helmet at the Queensland Mining Expo in July, adding that development has since been ongoing.

“We’ve now developed it to be wider and brighter,” he said.

“We’re at the point where we’re nearly ready to present the finished product. For people who really see a need for it right now we can start to release some units, all we have to do is complete the branding, and although there will be some early sales to specific customers, the new high-viz helmet will be ready for the shelves by November.”

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack life is around 10-11.5 hours, or 20 hours on strobe function, and the pack is waterproof.

​Vermeer announces new president

Vermeer has announced Jason Andringa will step into the role
of president and CEO of the company in November next year.

Andringa will replace current CEO, and his mother, Mary Andringa
– the daughter of company founder Gary Vermeer, with Jason Andringa the third
generation of the Vermeer family to lead the company.

He will step into the role of COO in November this year as
he transitions to the head job.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead Vermeer as a
family-owned and operated, global company,” Jason Andringa said.

Mary Andringa will move from the role of CEO to chair of the
board as Jason Andringa becomes CEO.

“I look forward to working closely with Jason [Andringa]
this coming year to prepare him for the transition to CEO in November 2015,”
Mary Andringa said.

Bob Vermeer, the current chairman of the board will assume
the role of Chair Emeritus from November 1st this year.

M&E NSW 2014 Preview: New Nissan Navara

The all-new Nissan NP300 Navara is the 12th generation of its hard-working pickup, embodying Nissan’s legacy of excellence and trust in this highly demanding segment, and now with new levels of comfort, convenience and advanced technologies. 

Backed by Nissan’s 80 years of global pickup truck know-how and legendary reliability, the NP300 Navara meets the needs of demanding individuals and business owners alike.

The all-new model boasts highly competitive fuel economy, improved acceleration and easier operation, a more rigid and durable frame, as well as modern yet tough and strong design.

The new Nissan NP300 Navara achieves lower overall running costs through a combination of improvements in powertrain performance and a reduction in body mass. Exterior refinements include a reduction in roof height and higher ground clearance, as well as a larger loading area

The Nissan NP300 Navara will be represented by a wide range of body types and powertrain options when it goes on sale locally early next year. Narrow- and wide-body types, king and double cab models, as well as all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive types will underpin the comprehensive all-new Navara catalogue.

Occupants will feel the clear influence of Nissan’s SUV leadership in the new Navara, through the intuitive ergonomic design and use of high quality materials, and thanks to easier ingress and egress as well as improved refinement and visibility. 

Overall, the interior is spacious and comfortable, offering convenience for hard-working entrepreneurs and the quiet relaxation of a well isolated space for family journeys. The material selection and elaborate treatment such as double stitching fully express its high quality and sophistication.

“Since we built our first pickup in 1933, over 14 million customers around the globe have come to depend on a Nissan pickup to transport their families, workmates and cargo, sometimes in the toughest of circumstances, “explained Andy Palmer, Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer. “Nissan pickups are often the lifeblood of their communities, and they need a broader range of abilities than almost any other vehicle. Engineering a good one isn’t easy, but with the NP300 Navara, we’ve added to our accumulated 80 years of Pickup know-how, more comfort, convenience and SUV-inspired features, in-order to build a great one.”

“The Nissan New NP300 Navara sets new benchmarks for performance, toughness, versatility and running costs; all the qualities that are critical for pickup users,” adds Palmer

While life-on-board is comfortable and convenient, the NP300 Navara has been designed and developed to easily and confidently handle heavy loads, while allowing ease of loading and unloading. 

Underneath, the NP300 Navara’s high-strength chassis and suspension have been engineered to take the punishment of intense daily usage, reflecting the expectations of pick-up customers around the world. Among the other improvements to the NP300 Navara’s characteristics are a reduced turning circle, reflecting the importance of agility and manoeuvrability in city driving.

Overall, the new Nissan NP300 Navara provides fleet and individual owners improved productivity in the field and comfort on the road. This is thanks to the high quality engineering that has delivered a tough and durable frame along with a range of high performance powertrains, all wrapped in a striking design inside and out for a premium ownership experience.

“We are confident that the all-new Nissan NP300 Navara will go straight to the top of pickup buyers’ shopping lists in all of the markets where we will sell it,” said Andy Palmer. “It’s combination of striking looks, efficient performance, robustness and durability will allow owners to work and play harder – enriching their daily lives. The NP300 Navara continues the legacy of Nissan’s long pickup history and, like all Nissan models; it will deliver excitement through innovation.” 

Komatsu launch new AC drive version of its mine truck

Komatsu Australia have announced a new AC drive version of its 200 US ton 730E-8 mine truck.

Accoording to the company the new drive is “providing higher haul speeds and simpler maintenance requirements, resulting in higher productivity, reduced downtime – and more availability”.

Komatsu Australia national product manager Michael Hall explained that “its AC drive system [is] lighter than either mechanical or DC transmission systems, provides faster acceleration and higher top speeds, and delivers more reliable performance”.

With a payload of 181 tonnes, the truck is powered by a Tier 4 compliant 1492 kW engine, and has been designed to the standards as Komatsu’s Ultra-Class mining trucks.

It has a top speed of  64 kilometres per hour – 15 per cent higher than its predecessor – and can handle
effective gradients up to 12 per cent.

The new AC control system provides independent control of the rear wheel motors, giving the operator increased traction in wet and slipper conditions, reducing tyre wear, and aiding driver confidence in more conditions.

Its GE35B
AC-drive wheel motors, a collaborative design between Komatsu and GE Mining,
have no brushes, which eliminates flashover, and have a higher thermal capacity.

In addition to this, a 2760 kW retarding system provides advanced braking capacity, increasing the ability of truck to handle gradients and steep descents, as well as sharp switchbacks.

Regarding maintenance, Hall stated “our 730E DC
truck has [already] delivered 90-94 per cent availability to mines around the world, over
hundreds of thousands of operating hours”.

“In
comparison, the industry average for this class of truck is well down in the
80 per cent range.

“That
additional availability – which we expect to be even higher with the AC-drive
730E-8 – translates into an additional 36 weeks, or nine months, per truck over
a 10-year operating life.

“Overall our
diesel/electric AC powertrain is more efficient, offers better operating
characteristics and is more cost effective than a comparable DC powertrain.”

The 730E-8 has a bolt-together design that makes field assembly and disassembly less complicated, reducing the need for technicians and mechanics on site.

“The
simplicity of its design makes it easier to train service technicians and
complete regular maintenance tasks, with fewer hoses, bearings, pumps and wear
components than most other mining trucks,” Hall said.

It also has an easily removable powertrain module.

Advanced monitoring equipment is also included in the machine.

“Maintenance
requirements have also been streamlined through the use of Komatsu’s KOMTRAX
Plus remote monitoring system, allowing the logging of data such as operating
hours, component trends, machine utilisation (including idle time and fuel
consumption) and production information for on-line analysis,” Hall said.

Advanced design has also flowed into the truck’s cab.

“The
new truck’s cab brings the same comfort features and operator controls used in
Komatsu’s Ultra-Class trucks, including air-ride seats, easy-to-use instrument
panel with automatic speed control and fully adjustable climate controls.” 

Coal mine expansion greenlight creates 200 mining jobs

More than 200 new mining jobs will be created on the back of Cockatoo Coal’s Baralabla expansion project.

The QLD coordinator general has approved the construction of a new rail load-out facility for the miner’s $313 million expansion project.

The expansion project was initially approved in May, with the latest decision for the rail load out facility allowing for acceleration of the Baralaba project.

“The first part of the mine expansion will enable Cockatoo Coal to expand coal production from 700,000 tonnes a year to one million tonnes,” QLD deputy premier Jeff Seeney said.

“This will climb to 3.5 million tonnes per annum by 2015. We promised to grow the resource pillar of our economy and we are delivering on that promise creating more jobs for regional families.”’

The mine expansion project is officially known as the Baralaba North coal mine and has a predicted mine life of approximately 15 years.

The new train load-out facility will be located three kilometres eat of Moura, adjacent to existing main rail lines.

Southern Cross Electrical wins additional Sino Iron works contracts

Southern Cross Electrical Engineering (SCEE) has additional contracts for electrical and instrumentation works across Sino Iron’s minerals processing facilities.

Earlier this month Sino awarded SCEE a $10 million contract for electrical and instrumentation installation, testing, and commissioning work at the mine’s grinding mills at concentrate processing lines 3,4,5 and 6.

Now it has awarded the contractor more than $70 million worth of additional E&I works at the site.

This work has been awarded in two packages, with the total scope covering installation and commissioning of all electrical and instrumentation works across process lines 3 to 6.

The work is scheduled to start next month.

Commenting on the win, SCEE managing director Simon Haigh said he is “extremely pleased that we have been able to secure this additional work, having identified Sino Iron as a core project for SCEE over the next two years”.

“The addition of approximately $80 million of new work provides a timely boost to our order book as we move in to FY 2015.”

Emeco wins Chilean mining equipment contract

Emeco Holdings has won a five year mining equipment hire and rental contract with Chilean contractor Fe Grande.

The five year agreement is predicted to generate revenuves of between $27 million and $32 million annually over the period of the contract.

“This significant project will utilise up to $64 million of our Chilean fleet and represents over 50 per cent utilisaton for this business unit,” the company said.

“This is a major win for Emeco in Chile and provides and excellent platform over the next five years to further grow the Chilean business and look for future expansion in Latin America,” Emeco CEO Ken Lewsey said.

“It supports our longer term ambitions in creating additional value in diversifying our business across geographies, commodities, and services,” he said.

Since opening its Chilean business unit in 2012 Emeco has deployed more than $100 million worth of fleet, averaging 80 per cent utilisation.

Around 40 per cent of this fleet was relocated from other Emeco business units.

Earlier this year the mining equipment hire and rental company announced an exit from Indonesia due to expected poor earnings from the business over the long-term given the unfavourable conditions in the Indonesian mining industry,” it said in a company statement.

“The dynamics of the Indonesian mining industry do not support us maintaining an ongoing presence in this market,” CEO Ken Lewsey said at the time.

Loctite launches new pipe repair kits

Henkel has developed a new emergency pipe repair solution, and other emergency asset maintenance.

The company has released the new Loctite pipe repair kit, which is an easy to apply fibre glass tape designed for the temporary repair of metal, plastic, and composite pipes.

The tape can be applied to odd shape and sized pipes, and can be used in a range of different operating temperatures, from minus 29 degrees through to 121 degrees Celsius.

It cures in 30 minutes, and is made from hi-viz material aid identification.

The tape comes in 50 and 100 millimetre widths.

In addition to this the company has also released Nordbak fast set steel putty and Fixmaster magna-crete.

The fast set steel putty is a steel filled system that bonds to steel, cast iron, stainless steel, and other substrates and cures in 10 minutes – allowing for ultra-fast emergency repairs to reduce downtimes.

It is typically used to repair fuel and gas tanks, leaks on pipes and welded joints, and repairing cracked battery cases.

Fixmaster magna-crete is a unique two-component, rapid setting concrete repair and grouting system that out performs conventional concrete repairs under typical service temperatures ranging from -26 degrees to 1090 degrees Celsius.

It is able to be used for light service in as little as 60 minutes and, unlike concrete, bonds to new and old concrete as well as most construction materials including wood, glass, and steel.

With high impact resistance and high compression strength, it can be applied over existing structural reinforcements, and is typically used in repairing floors, loading docks, ramps, concrete pillars, and for areas affected by spalling corrosion

Maptek to launch new modular laser scanner

Maptek has previewed the new I-Site 8820 long range laser scanner at the Australian Institute of Mine Surveyors conference.

The I-Site 8820 laser scanner is a modular system that can be configured to match site survey requirements, with all controls built-in, and is light enough to be carried single-handed.

According to Maptek other new features of the model include a 20 per cent increase in range, twice the data acquisition speed, and a 25 per cent improvement in range accuracy.

“Our new modular approach acknowledges that customers have different survey needs,” Athy Kalatzis, Maptek manager Laser Imaging Solutions, said. 

“Standard features include on-board controls, inbuilt compass and GPS, we also provide flexibility for configuring to specific applications,” Kalatzis said.

The modular laser scanner also features a wireless rugged tablet PC for operators to define scan parameters, resolution, and scan rate, as well as set up and define naming using conventional survey standards. 

Multiple scans be queued for greater efficiency “which is a real advantage for geotechnical applications,” Maptek said.

All data is recorded on the controller where it is available for preview and validation, allowing for gaps in the data to be noticed and quickly rectified.

The scanners are set to hit the market next month.

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