Tag Archives: ground engaging tools

Byrnecut and Sandvik collaborate on new MAKO ground engaging tool

Sandvik, with the help of Australia-based mining contractor, Byrnecut, has developed a new and improved Ground Engaging Tool (GET) that, the OEM says, reduces downtime and cost-per-tonne mined.

Over a four-year period, Byrnecut has been instrumental in the development of this new system, MAKO™.

In underground mining, wear and tear is unavoidable, and nowhere is it sharper than for the buckets and the shrouds fitted to loaders.

In the most abrasive conditions, the shrouds can wear out in just a few hundred hours of work. Replacing them – especially when they are welded on – can take multiple shifts: valuable hours where the machine is out of action and productivity dented.

To speed up this process, in 2001, Sandvik introduced its Shark™ range of Blue Pointer™ ground engaging tools (GET) – becoming the first retensionable shroud system for the underground market. Blue Pointer can be summarised as shrouds using mechanical fixings that are significantly faster to replace, Sandvik says.

Even though Sandvik says the system was the market leader in underground mining, it still looked to improve upon the Blue Pointer.

With that in mind, in 2018, Sandvik set about developing a replacement, MAKO, collaborating with internationally renowned specialist mining contractor, Byrnecut.

MAKO continues the shark theme – with a Mako being a shortfin predator – and brings with it several advantages: an innovative patented locking mechanism, hammerless removal system, cast corners improvement (patented) and additional wear indicator, to mention a few.

By far the biggest improvement in terms of reducing downtime and cost-per-tonne mined can be found in the MAKO corner shrouds. Normally, corners – which have a much harder life – tend to wear out and need changing at the mid-life point, compared with the rest of the shrouds. In extreme conditions an additional two ‘half corners’ can be needed for every set of normal shrouds. But thanks to improved material and design, with MAKO there is no need for part-life replacement corners, according to Sandvik.

These improvements have been put to the test in the field, with Byrnecut instrumental in putting prototypes through their paces. The contractor trialled the concept at one of its most abrasive sites – the Capricorn copper mine near Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia.

“Sandvik came along with a team of engineers and said: ‘Right, are you willing to help us develop MAKO?”, Gary Boswell, Byrnecut’s Chief Maintenance Supervisor at the mine, said. “So, we got on board and had a good working relationship with Sandvik. Right from the start we were looking for the same outcome – to lower total-cost-of-ownership and achieve a 1:1 [corner:shroud] ratio, so that we only changed corners when we changed all the other shrouds.”

The Capricorn mine has five Sandvik loaders (LH621s) fitted with 10.7 cu.m buckets. Boswell expects to get 7,500 hours out of a bucket and, because of the aggressive nature of the rock, replaces the GET every 500-550 hours, on average. That is roughly 14 sets of MAKO per bucket life. So, making them last longer and easier to change in one go can make a significant difference to downtime and cost over that lifetime.

MAKO has not achieved its durability performance by simply adding more metal; it’s put metal where it matters. The overall MAKO system also has a very favourable weight/performance ratio, according to Sandvik.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019. Despite the remote location, the buckets were monitored by Sandvik experts on a weekly basis. It soon became clear that the new range was especially durable – lasting, on average, 12% longer than the best of the rest, as well as avoiding the need for half-life corner shrouds, according to the OEM.

The first MAKO GET was fitted at Byrnecut’s Capricorn site in January 2019

“The first prototype we thought was okay, but there is still room for improvement,” Michael McCormick, the Shark Loadmaster who was hands-on with the development of MAKO, said. “The feedback we got from Gary [Boswell] and the team at Capricorn really helped us understand the issues they were having. When something cropped up, we could quickly develop a short-term ‘hotfix’, before developing a longer-term solution. For instance, we found an opportunity to improve the locking system and had to adapt the pin assembly to ensure the push-off feature was truly hammerless.

“As is natural, we had some performance issues with earlier prototypes, and it took us a couple of goes to get it right. But the ability to work in real time with Gary’s team was the key to enabling us to respond rapidly with quick fixes and validating their effectiveness.”

Boswell concluded: “Safety is paramount, and we did not want our guys hammering or using oxyacetylene to get the shrouds off. But Sandvik fixed that with the push-off feature that can handle worn-out GETs; even those with lifting lugs eroded through use. The issue of transporting heavy shrouds has also been resolved by a new lifting device, which is very effective.”

Sandvik added: “When, like Byrnecut at the Capricorn mine, you are using several hundred [GET] sets each year, the MAKO’s collective benefits add up to significant productivity, cost, time and safety enhancements. The cleve design of MAKO, perfected in the field, helps keep buckets meet their availability and productivity targets.”

Weir ESCO breaks ground on new foundry in China

Weir ESCO has broken ground on a new foundry in China that, it says, will build capacity and support increased demand for ESCO ground engaging tools (GET), while retaining 100% of its experienced team.

Employees, dignitaries and local partners celebrated at a ground-breaking ceremony in Xuzhou, China, where Vice Mayor Gong of Xuzhou City and other elected officials, local business partners and Weir Minerals Managing Director of China, Angela Wang, were present.

The company broke ground on its new foundry in China on July 27, as the latest milestone in the future expansion of its Xuzhou site.

The project was announced in 2021, with production from the facility scheduled to start in late 2024 ahead of reaching full production in 2025.

In Weir Group’s half year results to June 30, the company noted that Weir ESCO had received a record order intake of £349 million ($426 million) for the six-month period on the back of high levels of activity in mining and infrastructure markets, plus pricing and volume growth.

MTG to launch GET detection and new bucket lip system at bauma 2022

MTG, a Barcelona-based specialist in the design and manufacture of high-quality wear solutions for earth moving machinery, is planning to present some major new innovations at the upcoming bauma 2022 event in Munich, on October 24-30, it says.

Among the mining-related launches due to be presented at the world’s biggest trade fair are the launch of VEEMET, a versatile system for excavators and loaders of between 20 and 250 t equipped with plate lip buckets; and its own ground engaging tool (GET) detection system called GET DETECTION.

As the successor to the well-known STARMET system, VEEMET has been optimised for an increased performance and user-friendliness, according to MTG. It offers improved stability due to its V-shaped fitting, which provides more resistance against torsional loads.

VEEMET also features an optimised locking option for quick and easy assembly and disassembly; reinforced pins; and a slim tooth design for enhanced penetration and increased machine efficiency, MTG says.

The wide range of self-sharpening teeth and plate lip adapter designs are suitable for any construction, quarrying and mining application, providing a better digging performance, it says.

in terms of GET detection systems, MTG says it is the first major player in the industry that has developed its own in-house platform.

The launch of GET DETECTION follows successful field tests in Europe and Australia, where the system – made up of magnetic field sensors and actuators integrated in the corresponding GET components, antennas, ECUs and an operator tablet – was able to show its ability to improve operational safety and avoid unplanned downtime, MTG said.

“MTG’s GET DETECTION system, the first series of in-house developed DIGITAL SOLUTIONS, detects GET detachment in less than three seconds with zero false alarms,” the company says.

At MTG’s booth at bauma 2022 (437 in Hall A6), there will be a display of the GET DETECTION system for visitors to learn live how it works.

CR Digital plans Titan 3330 virtual simulator mine site roadshow

CR Digital has built a virtual simulator to, it says, bring the Titan 3330 Load Haul Optimization System out to the mine site.

Players can experience Titan 3330 as if they’re the operators of a backhoe excavator, trying to hit target payloads and getting real-time feedback on their accuracy.

The experience is as realistic as possible, and players can test their skills under different weather conditions or at night, according to the company. Ground engaging tools can even fall off while operating, with players notified by GET Trakka to stop and find the component.

Unveiled at MINExpo 2021, in September, the simulator allows visitors to control an excavator using two joysticks and a large monitor, along with a real Titan 3330 screen to monitor their digging in real time.

CR’s Global Marketing Manager, Chris Mayo, said: “We had players at MINExpo who operate excavators every day, and the feedback from them was that it’s very realistic. For anyone without operator experience, it’s a fun challenge to learn the controls and start getting closer to target payloads.”

For an added challenge, players competed for the highest score based on two measures:

  • Productivity: how many tonnes were moved and how closely trucks were loaded to target payload – as scored by CR’s Orion Data Analytics; and
  • Safety: safely operating the excavator by avoiding collisions with dump trucks.

Looking forward, CR will look to bring the Titan 3330 simulator out to mine sites and directly to customers so players can continue to experience the accuracy of Titan 3330’s payload monitoring for themselves.

“Once customers see for themselves how Titan 3330 helps operators improve payloads in real time, we think there’s going to be a lot of excitement for the system, particularly as we grow our presence in North America,” Mayo said.

MTG brings GET solutions to Western Australia market with new distribution centre

Spain-headquartered MTG has opened a new distribution centre in Perth, Western Australia, in an effort to improve its global supply chain and closer align itself to key mining regions.

Confirming MTG’s commitment to the Australian market, the company says it has increased its local human resources in both its commercial and technical service.

The new centre, now 100% operational, allows improvement of availability, rapid and more efficient reaction times to changes in demand and an improved service to MTG’s authorised dealer, 2MT Mining Products, and the whole mining industry, it said.

MTG, which provides leading bucket protection solutions for mining, says it has partnered with 2MT to offer the best ground engaging tool (GET) solutions, maximising the productivity, efficiency and performance of customers’ mining equipment, while assuring the best service.

“2MT’s full coverage of the Australian market through strategically located branches, highly trained sales and support representatives, extensive on-site support, field expertise in monitoring GET and buckets is the perfect combination to meet and exceed their customers expectations,” it said.

CR enhances large mining wheel loader cast lip system offering

CR Mining has launched a new mining wheel loader cast lip system that, the company says, can deliver a 33% reduction in total running costs.

DecaEdge DE1545 is a game-changer for companies seeking premium small to large mining wheel loader cast lip systems, CR said.

The new nine-station lip has the potential to last for up to 25,000 hours without major rebuilds, and as a result, can deliver that 33% cut in total running costs, the company claims.

The DE1545 suits small to large mining wheel loader buckets with 14-20 cu.m.

“A lot of applications on wheel loaders in mine sites are plate lips,” CR Mining Product Marketing Manager, Katie Edser, said. “These require maintenance teams to do a lot of hot work around those particular lips, which is a safety risk as well as a maintenance issue.

“Because the DE1545 has mechanically attached GET (ground engaging tools), our cast lips require less welding and less hot work.”

The DE1545 also has CR Mining’s first GET Trakka-enabled lip – or a digitally enabled lip – which allows customers to use CR’s digital products to enhance performance.

GET Trakka sensors can be inserted into the available sensor cavity. The sensor is activated while digging and, if the GET comes loose, breaks off or gets lost, the operator is immediately alerted and can stop to avoid any further lip damage. Lost GET can then be located using a small hand-held scanner and eliminates the risk of GETs entering a crusher and the inevitable damage resulting in a costly repair. This avoids the need to shut down mine sites which will impact overall productivity.

CR Digital’s Titan 3330 load haul optimisation system for wheel loaders offers customers another level of productivity data they haven’t had access to before, the company said.

“Combining Titan 3330 with the DE1545 DecaEdge can help customers monitor cast lip and bucket performance, machine health and truck and bucket payload accuracy that delivers benefits that continue to flow through a mine site’s entire production,” it said.

The DE1545 is a welcome addition to the DecaEdge cast lip range known to deliver up to 7% less downtime, 34% strength increase, 27% mass reduction and a 30% reduction in digging force, CR said.

Weir ESCO takes advantage of expansion opportunities in Utah, Quebec

Weir ESCO’s growth trajectory has continued in 2021, with the ground engaging tool (GET) major capitalising on two fast-moving expansion opportunities in western USA and eastern Canada in the March quarter.

The acquisitions represent exciting new platforms for sales and brand recognition growth in the two regions, according to the Weir subsidiary.

With one of ESCO’s largest dealers, based in the Western US, set to retire last year, Weir ESCO decided to fill the void.

The company explained: “Without the dealer to represent us, our future with a significant mining operation in the region – a mine that generates approximately 11% of annual copper production in the US – was at stake.”

The mine’s cable shovels are outfitted exclusively with ESCO GET and multiple other pieces of equipment, including hydraulic machines and front-end loaders, are also fitted with ESCO products.

The company’s teams jumped into action to secure the business, with the new Salt Lake City branch becoming operational in early January. It got right to work establishing a direct service relationship with the key customer, Rio Tinto Kennecott, and expanding market share with other mining and infrastructure companies customers in the territory, the company said.

Up north in Canada, the launch of Weir ESCO’s Quebec branch resulted from seizing a timely, high-stakes opportunity, as well, the company said.

Quebec is home to Canada’s largest operating open-pit gold mine, Canadian Malartic. The mine employs more than 2,000 workers around the clock and many pieces of equipment are outfitted with ESCO GET, according to the company.

“When changes in the local distribution channel occurred, Weir ESCO began considering how to parlay the situation into market expansion opportunities,” it said.

Weir Minerals, a division of the Weir parent company, already had an established presence in the area, presenting additional synergy opportunities.

By the end of January, Weir ESCO’s new Quebec team was on board and sharing office space with the Minerals branch (office pictured).

As in Salt Lake City, the Quebec branch will focus on growth through a direct service approach with customers, it said.

Pete Huget, Managing Director for North America, said: “This is an energising time for us as we move with more speed and agility to take advantage of market opportunities to grow the business. We are looking forward to capitalising on these opportunities to service our own customers directly. No one can service a customer like an ESCO employee.”

CR bolsters line of technology-enabled GET solutions with addition of GET Trakka

CR has acquired GET Trakka, and all associated intellectual property, adding, it says, proven tooth loss and productivity monitoring capability alongside its growing digital portfolio of mining technology.

GET Trakka is an industry innovator with the only field-proven system providing reliable sensor-based GET (ground engaging tools) loss detection for mining equipment, along with data analysis and reporting systems for enhancing maintenance and productivity performance, according to CR, a company owned by American Industrial Partners.

“The GET Trakka product solutions are based on built-for-purpose industrial IoT platforms with rugged embedded wireless sensors to provide revolutionary productivity and safety outcomes for the mining industry,” the company says.

GET Trakka has a strong reputation in the market through its owner and founder, Ian Hamilton. The GET Trakka team has developed and applied sensor technology to create market-leading GET component loss detection and monitoring solutions for all large mining equipment, CR said.

The addition of GET Trakka solidifies CR’s position as the leading provider of technology-enabled GET solutions, according to CR.

“The combination and integration of GET Trakka into CR’s product portfolio is an important milestone as they continue to build upon their digital technology offering and provide their customers with new productivity-enhancing solutions,” it added. “The acquisition of GET Trakka is consistent with CR’s long-term business strategy of adding complementary products and services to their existing core business.”

CR gets a GRIP of GET change-outs with newest solution

CR has launched the GRIPAssist Handling device, a safety, maintenance and productivity solution designed to efficiently and safely remove and reposition ground engaging tools (GET) with a minimal requirement for human interaction.

The GRIPAssist is the flagship product of CR’s new MINEAssist product category and has been developed to revolutionise GET change-out practices around the world, the company said.

Designed to significantly reduce human interaction when handling GET in the pit or the workshop, the GRIPAssist unit fits onto a tracked skid steer or similar small in-pit mobile loader and includes an hydraulic arm that grips GET products to enable safe, quick and easy maintenance change-outs.

CR Chief Executive Officer, John Barbagallo, says the range has been specifically developed to assist its mining customers to safely and more efficiently change GET on their excavating machines.

“The GRIPAssist is the latest of our industry-leading products developed through close collaboration with our customers and associated partners,” Barbagallo said. “Through listening to our customers, we have understood the need to develop a range of safety equipment for GET maintenance change-out and have worked collaboratively to bring this industry-changing product to market.”

He added: “At CR, we bring the core value of Zero Harm into everything we do. The GRIPAssist promotes safe GET change-out and is a great equipment solution to provide genuine safe fitment and removal of all GET items.”

Quintin Nienaber, General Manager of Product Management, says the GRIPAssist could optimise the way current maintenance practices are performed.

“We have seen GET change-out times halved in our initial field tests, which is an incredible outcome while at the same time improving safety,” he said. “While the aim of the GRIPAssist is to remove human interactions during GET change-outs, the fact that it can enhance productivity by reducing downtime is a significant associated benefit and is a game-changer in how GET maintenance will be managed and scheduled in the future.”

CR’s DecaEdge cast lip for large mining wheel loaders goes live

CR has announced the public launch of its latest DecaEdge cast lip (DE2553) for large mining wheel loader buckets.

First talked about in an IM exclusive in June, the 9-station lip suits wheel loader buckets with capacities between 14-20 cu.m, the company says.

CR’s DecaEdge range has demonstrated its performance and provided maintenance savings over a number of years, with individual lips achieving more than 25,000 operating hours with no major rebuilds, resulting in an over 33% reduction in total cost of ownership of the lip and ground engaging tool system, CR says.

The DE2553 was developed in response to the popularity of CR’s DecaEdge 10 and 11 station cast lips, aiming to broaden the company’s cast lip range for large mining wheel loaders, it says.

CR Chief Executive Officer, John Barbagallo, says the range extension demonstrates the strong market appetite for this unique offering.

“CR is the only manufacturer to offer a range of cast lips for mining class wheel loaders in the world,” he said. “The company prides itself on developing innovative, market leading products to help develop and shape the future of mining.

“By building deep and trusted relationships with customers, CR is able to understand and help solve challenges in field to ensure productivity continually improves. The success and growth of the DecaEdge range is the result of world-class engineering and comprehensive collaboration with our partners.”