Tag Archives: ground engaging tools

S5 System tapping AI technology to solve mine asset management issues

Australia-based engineering company S5 System says it is out to solve three common mining workplace problems using artificial intelligence-based technology that takes minutes to install, is affordable and offers rapid payback on investment.

The company has produced three OEM-agnostic asset management products and is advancing research and development to expand the application range of its specialised monitors, sensors and control devices.

S5 System Founder and CEO, Davoud Nassehi (pictured at the recent IMARC event), says the company’s current focus is on growing awareness of three market-ready products – BoltTight, which monitors the tightness of bolted joints; WearMon, wear liners with real-time monitoring; and GETsmart, a ground engaging tool (GET) dislodgement detection system.

They are currently being used on Western Australia mine sites by the likes of Newmont and Mineral Resources Ltd.

Nassehi says he saw an urgent need for the products in his time working in the mining and telecommunications industries.

“Knowing that industries are going to Industry 4.0, I wanted to help them transition from Industry 3.0 and increase the available insights into machinery, plant and feed processes with more realistic data to use in later lifecycle stages,” he said.

“It makes the workplace safer, more secure and more agile, and saves money by allowing users to know what’s happening in their systems, through monitoring and all the good things that are becoming possible by using IoT.”

The wireless products can be fitted to any equipment brand, are suitable for the harshest mining environments and don’t rely on cameras to provide feedback, according to S5. Installation is not dependent on existing infrastructure, Nassehi added.

“They are plug-and-play products,” he said. “They require zero maintenance, are self-diagnostic and the batteries don’t need to be replaced for years.”

BoltTight uses patented technology to constantly monitor the compression force in bolted joints. The washers are designed in standard metric and imperial sizes, and send data using ZigBee wireless technology to a hub that collects data from all the nearby washers and transfers it to the server for analysis, monitoring and data storage purposes.

Any critical failure can be detected, and a real-time audio-visual alarms notify the operation and maintenance team of the exact location of the failed bolt in the plant’s 3D models, according to the company.

“Currently, in the market, there are very few bolted-connection intelligent solutions,” Nassehi said. “Some use ultrasonic or other non-destructive test tools, which are expensive and require manually checking every joint by experienced technicians. There are smart bolt options attempted in the market, however, embedding electronics inside a bolt compromises its specification and integrity.”

“Miners have been looking for a reliable way of detecting GET failures and locating failed parts for years”

Having experienced first-hand the expensive and time-consuming job of replacing wear liners in equipment such as mills, crushers, feeders and transfer chutes, Nassehi conceived the WearMon system.

The non-invasive online condition monitoring system can be directly installed on any type of mining plant liner material such as rubber, metallic, ceramic, polyurethane and polyethylene, it claims. Via battery-powered wireless wear sensors on one of the bolts, it offers accurate real-time and historical wear data; machine learning; predictive, condition-based maintenance; suggested shutdown planning information; accurate inventory requirements; and service forecasts, Nassehi says.

“This system continuously monitors the remaining thickness at each sensor location and reports to the server,” he said. “Information then is processed on the sever and forms a basis to predict the remaining life. If the next scheduled maintenance state is pre-set, then the shutdown date can be entered directly into the software and, if there is a planned shutdown date entered into system then the software algorithm will determine which liners will need to be changed out and predict the number and location of the required material accordingly.

“Alternatively, if maintenance dates are flexible, the system generates predictions with accurate estimate of the serviceable life of the liners and suggests a replacement date.”

S5’s GETsmart system also has sensors at its foundation. They are inserted into a shovel’s GET and shrouds, and connect wirelessly to the in-cab monitor, which actively scans all sensors. When it detects a tooth break, a real-time audio-visual alarm notifies the operator and they can remotely stop the downstream crusher.

Nassehi said unlike competitor options, the GETsmart system doesn’t rely on cameras – which can get dirty very quickly in a mining environment and so impair visibility – for feedback.

“Estimated to cost the mining industry between 1-5% of total production each year, broken GET are a massive global problem for the mining industry,” he said. “Miners have been looking for a reliable way of detecting GET failures and locating failed parts for years.”

Epiroc to acquire Australia-based GET player CR

Epiroc is bolstering its exposure to the ground engaging tools (GET) market through the planned acquisition of Australia-based CR.

The company has agreed to acquire the GET and related digital solutions company as part of a plan to expand its “first-rate offering” of essential consumables and digital solutions, it says.

CR, which has an offering covering surface and underground mining, is headquartered in Brisbane and operates globally. The company’s products include cast lips, teeth, and protective shrouds installed on mining buckets and loaders. Its digital solutions include, among other offerings, the real-time GET loss detection system, GET Trakka, and the Titan 3330 payload management system. The solutions strengthen safety and productivity, and protect against expensive delays in the mining operations, according to CR.

CR has about 400 employees and had revenues of about A$240 million ($163 million) in the 12 months ending September 30, 2022.

“This acquisition will expand our offering of innovative and high-quality consumables and digital solutions that strengthen customers’ productivity and safety,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, says. “We look forward to welcome the strong team at CR to Epiroc.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half 2023.

Caterpillar lowers UG mining costs, downtime with release of bolt-together LHD buckets

Caterpillar has launched “bolt-together” buckets for underground loaders that, it says, offer the same strength and durability as standard buckets, but reduce time and costs associated with transportation, assembly and rework procedures for underground mining.

The new bolt-together bucket does not require skilled maintenance operators for underground welding, resulting in a reduced safety risk, according to the company. On top of that, the design allows for efficient underground assembly, where the loader is working, to cut replacement time and lead to lower machine downtime and higher productivity.

“Optimised for moving abrasive underground materials, the new bucket design includes improved material thickness for increased strength and a rigid bucket assembly to aid in easier edge installation and removal,” Caterpillar says. “High-grade, 400 BHN materials used for bucket assembly components and high-grade wear protection ground engagement tools (GET) on the removeable shroud assembly deliver a long bucket service life for better cost saving and productivity. With proper GET selection and management, the Cat bolt-together bucket is designed to last through the first machine overhaul period to reduce replacement downtime.”

The buckets are modular in design for quick installation and removal, with the Cat GET available for the new bolt-together buckets including three edge options – bolt-on half arrow, modular weld-on and Durilock – shroud segments, and rock guard to deliver reduced downtime and accelerated repair.

The new bolt-together bucket is available in a range of capacities from 5.3-7.5 cu.m, specially designed for the Cat R1600H, R1700G, R1700 and R1700 XE LHD models. They are built in the same factory and go through the same stringent quality control process as Cat equipment and are supported by the global Cat dealer network, the company says.

MTG hits its stride with GET DETECTION commercial deployment

MTG’s first digital solution, GET DETECTION, has got off to a strong start, with the first commercial deployment of the safety and productivity device making its way into a mine in the Nordic region.

After five years of intense development and successful field tests within Europe and Australia, MTG officially launched GET DETECTION at Bauma 2022, this week.

With its GET DETECTION Series, MTG says it is providing customers with increased safety and peace of mind by preventing any incidents in the crusher in the event of a ground engaging tool (GET) detachment. Based on extensive laboratory bench testing and field tests, the company can state that its solution detects a possible GET detachment in less than three seconds, with a very high level of reliability, preventing a subsequent fall into the crusher.

This new series of DIGITAL SOLUTIONS is a further step in MTG’s commitment to innovation and delivering premium products and services to its customers, it says.

The company is already planning further additions to this digital platform and plans to roll out more functionality for GET DETECTION in the near future.

The GET DETECTION series includes a suite of devices that are compatible with MTG’s TERRA cast lips, the TWINMET and new VEEMET tooth systems as well as the PROMET shrouds. The GET design of these product families enables the addition of sensors and activators to allow digital monitoring of the entire cast lip configuration.

“Thanks to a robust digital ecosystem, the signals emitted by the GET sensors are transmitted via antennas and processed by an electronic control unit,” the company says. “A tablet in the machine’s cabin displays the GET’s live status and alerts the operator in the event of an incident by means of a visual and acoustic signal.”

GET DETECTION has been developed for hydraulic excavators with an operating weight of more than 250 t and is so far available in Australia, Europe and the US. More markets will follow shortly, and new GET Systems will be compatible with the GET DETECTION System, the company stated.

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.