LCS Cable Cranes GmbH has been commissioned to find a solution for maintenance and monitoring activities on tailings ponds or a conventional dam in mining, devising its QXcrane system in the process.
For these activities, entering the work area is life-threatening due to dam breaches or earth movements. Therefore, in order to carry out these operations, a personnel safety system is needed to allow safe access for maintenance personnel. However, the system should not be located and/or supported within this danger zone.
Based on these requirements, the available technologies and systems, LCS developed the QXcrane system.
Its new, patented QXcrane system is, the company says, the perfect combination of cableway and SpiderCam. Ropeway systems are robust, with their cables attached to high supports and capable of transporting high loads over distances of up to 3 km. SpiderCams, mostly used in sports stadiums, navigate in all three dimensions of space to deliver high-definition video or television footage without touching the ground. This 3D technology combined with the cableway system increases the payload and the possibility to cover a larger area, according to LCS.
The QXcrane system consists of four towers, four winches and a operator’s basket. The towers are positioned in a rectangle (maximum 1,000 m diagonal) around the defined section of terrain. The operator’s basket is connected to the four towers by steel ropes. This allows safe navigation in all three dimensions within the defined area. Maintenance personnel and the required material can be dropped off at any point within the defined terrain section. In this way, repairs, inspections and remediation work are carried out safely and efficiently in equal measure.
The workers entering the danger zone are connected to the basket via personal safety winches. This gives them a certain freedom of movement, but they can be evacuated immediately in case of an emergency, according to the company.
The system is operated by an operator in the basket, who can observe and monitor the entire working area and pull up and rescue workers in case of an emergency, such as a dam failure or earth movement. Workers on the ground can also activate this emergency function to be evacuated from the danger zone.
Thanks to its modular design, the system can be adapted to any terrain situation, no matter how extreme, and is not only suitable for use with tailing storage facilities, the company says.