Elphinstone recently acquired the proven Beltor ‘Puller’ – an underground mine extraction device designed to safely recover buried equipment – as part of its ongoing commitment to safety and mine productivity.
Operator safety and mine productivity have always been a priority at Elphinstone, which has a long and successful history designing and manufacturing underground hard rock mining equipment from its headquarters in Burnie, Tasmania.
This was demonstrated in March of this year when it announced the acquisition of MED Pty Ltd, the owner of the IP for the underground Mine Extraction Device (MED) also known as the “Beltor Puller”, developed by the founder of Beltor Engineering, Aldo Beletich, back in the 1980s.
The MED was invented in response to a need by underground miners to extract buried or bogged equipment in a safe and efficient means without damaging the mine or negatively impacting production.
When Beletich invented the first Beltor Mine Extraction Device back in the 1980s, mining equipment was much lighter than it is today.
The first MED, with a pulling capacity of 90 t, was introduced to the market in 1988 to meet the needs of the underground thermal coal miners in and around Newcastle. With the increase in the size and weight of underground mining equipment, there was a need for larger extraction devices to recover buried or bogged equipment.
As a result, higher capacity MEDs were introduced to ensure that underground mining operations could return to full production with minimum delay. Subsequently, the 150-t (MED150) and 210-t (MED210) versions of the device were introduced in line with the industry’s growth.
In addition to the retrieval of buried equipment, the higher capacity models are also capable of extracting drill rods embedded in the rock face.
The expansion did not stop there. In 2020, the largest version of the extraction device was launched, the MED360, with a pulling capacity of 360 t for much larger underground coal and hard-rock machinery.
The MED range has revolutionised the way buried underground equipment is extracted and made this process safer, according to Elphinstone.
“What makes the (Elphinstone) MED unique is that it eliminates the need, damage and disruption of using other production equipment to remove the buried machine and operates in a more controlled and safe way,” Tim Mitchell, Elphinstone’s Global Sales and Marketing Manager, says.
“When the MED is towed into position in the mine, the boom is raised against the roof and the wheels are lowered on the floor, effectively wedging the machine into position. A bridle assembly is interlocked into the teeth of the MED racks which are then pulled via hydraulic cylinders.
“The process is conducted in relative silence allowing the operators to hear and see exactly what is happening during the extraction, a stark contrast to the traditional method with wheeled or tracked tow vehicles that produce noise and dust.”
The MED will be sold and serviced by Elphinstone direct to end users from the company’s manufacturing facility in Burnie.