HVO is located 24 kilometres north-west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. The Hunter Valley No. 1 mine began production in 1979. In 2000 Coal & Allied merged the Howick and Hunter Valley mines to create HVO. It now supplies international markets with more than 13 million tonnes of thermal and semi-soft coking coal each year.
The company operates a large fleet of 34 dozers, over 100 Komatsu 830 dump trucks, and many other ancillary mine site vehicles to make a total fleet of 180. This means HVO’s mobile plant workshop usually has several dozers in at any one time, and the truck workshop sometimes twice this many.
Two of the key issues constantly on the improvement ‘radar screen’ for HVO relating to workshops, as well as worksites, are raising productivity and improving safety.
By way of example, a traditional procedure to remove/replace a belly plate on a dozer means the mechanic crawls underneath the giant machine to line up the bolt holes by loosening the plates, which can weigh hundreds of kilos – often even more with accumulated debris. This makes it a tricky job and one fraught with physical danger.
But HVO Maintenance Supervisor, Paul Bullock, believes he’s found part of the solution for both the safety and productivity problems with Nivek Industries’ Tracked Elevating Device (TED):
“On a simple belly guard removal in the shop it saves approximately 25% of job time. But it’s out in the field that TED really comes into his own, possibly saving up to 4 shifts of down time. Just yesterday I witnessed TED undertaking a difficult task that previously the pushing force had to be physically generated by a maintainer.”
“They have made a massive difference to our day to day operations. In addition, many machines in the pit that would normally have been down for multiple shifts have been dealt with in a timely, safe manner. With TED saving up to 25% of time on the ground, maintenance teams can focus on more projects at once, as well as having a faster turnaround time and thus increasing production” he added.
When asked what he thought was TED’s main safety contribution, he said:
“Removing one man from the ‘line of fire’ whilst removing/replacing belly guards is the obvious answer, but the air operated jacks are physically demanding and TED has dramatically improved this.”
Paul is also looking forward to delivery of his third TED next year:
“The main motivation for getting the second TED was purely because when the first unit was away or out of service we had to revert to using the pneumatic units which highlighted the need to have more TED’s available. I’m just waiting on approval for TED 3 next year which would eliminate the pneumatic units completely” he said.
TED really shines during removing/replacing of belly guards on machines in the field, a task which is often undertaken using hooker rod, slings and cumalong – a manual handling exercise. Eliminating the human element from this critical lift stage underneath equipment, thanks to TED’s remote control, significantly decreases the risk of injury.
The machine can travel across any terrain and can safely lift up to 800kg. It features a 360° turntable on the top which makes lining up belly plates and ball joints safer, quicker and easier than the conventional methods using slings and chain block.
TED can also be used for equaliser bars, cutting edges, steering cylinders, load rollers, sound suppression equipment, engine sumps and many other applications.
The machine is designed and manufactured in Australia and built to withstand the harsh environments that heavy equipment often works in. Total compliance to Australian and New Zealand mining standards (ASNZ 4240) comes with each machine. A range of attachments is offered including a specialised trailer which can easily carry TED, along with multiple tools, spares and hoses to any break down site or remote workshop.
o TED will comfortably lift 800kg on the turntable up to 1170mm safely facilitating many maintenance and repair operations.