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.

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