Tag Archives: Mine ventilation

Maestro heads for the IoT edge with new future-proofed solutions

Driving out capital expenditure and standardising IIoT infrastructure have been the two key pillars propelling Maestro Digital Mine forward, and, 10 years after its formation, these two drivers are on show with its latest launches at the SME MineXchange Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City.

Over the last decade, the company has become synonymous with improving underground mine ventilation safety as well as reducing blast re-entry times, with an offering that includes air quality stations, automated regulators, and “fail-safe” LED displays. Yet, Maestro’s core is IIoT devices and last mile digital networks for underground mines.

Michael Gribbons, CEO and Co-founder for Maestro, says the company’s production of “IIoT solutions” pre-dates the popular use of this acronym, with its big launch in Salt Lake City set to take Maestro into new “edge-based” territory that will allow it to cope with multiple communication protocols or artificial intelligence-led process miners look to leverage over the next decade.

He explained to IM: “We have re-envisioned and redesigned both our hardware, embedded firmware and external software to allow greater flexibility and capabilities for today and the future; the platform, if you will.”

This current hardware platform has, among other things, underpinned the success of its Vigilante AQS™, which was created to solve applications for mine ventilation monitoring and control.

“Every year, Vigilante customers kept asking for different capabilities, and we have said yes to these requests until we couldn’t.” Gribbons said. “We ran out of hardware space – we just couldn’t do the things the clients were asking anymore, forcing a major platform redesign that is now shipping.”

This constant cycle of improvement has already led Maestro into the realm of dust monitoring and regulator control. It also saw the company devise products and solutions that eradicated the need for expensive PLCs, customer panels and fabrication. Its plug-and-play philosophy, in turn, has reduced the amount of engineering required to install and monitor these solutions.

“For example, legacy analogue actuators are now being driven out of the equation by coupling ModuDrive™ actuators to automate regulators allowing significant capital expenditure reductions and improved diagnostic monitoring by using edge-based embedded IIoT technologies,” Gribbons said. “The mining industry is following other industries by applying modular construction where proven solutions can be selected and applied instead of the typical one-time custom engineering design and build where individual components are collated and customised on an individual basis. The main advantages of applying modular construction is schedule acceleration and capital expenditure reduction.”

Gribbons sees the new platform – a combination of hardware, user interface, on-premise and cloud-based software allowing data to be stored and trended by the customer as they choose – being able to take advantage of “true edge-based technology” to make better and quicker decisions.

The new platform installed on the Vigilante AQS, SuperBrite™ Marquee display, MaestroFlex™ regulator and ModuDrive actuator are on display at the SME conference.

Looking past the fixed automation infrastructure Maestro has made its name on, the company is now embedding its expertise into more mobile solutions that the industry has been taking a liking to, namely drones and unmanned robots.

Also featured on the Maestro stand – and the Exyn Technologies stand – at the event is an aerial drone with a Maestro gas monitoring IIoT device fitted on it.

This new gas monitoring drone, which will integrate critical gas sensors onto the ExynAero™ and ExynPak™ platforms, is, effectively, the “quickest and safest mobile gas monitor on the planet”, Gribbons remarked. “The drone is able to automatically launch and log targeted gases directly on the point cloud in any confined area without deploying mine rescue personal with Scott Air-Paks. Again, we are improving worker safety and accelerated time to obtain accurate data in emergency conditions or for more granular data at the headings for reducing blast re-entry times.”

Powered by ExynAI’s multi-sensor fusion capabilities, gas sensor readings are captured while the robot is in flight and displayed in real-time via a ruggedised tablet, Exyn explained. These sensor readings are saved with precise coordinates in a high-fidelity point cloud that can be exported and examined in a variety of mining software.

These mobile applications will remain a minority interest for Maestro, but it offers the company another way to influence the underground mine safety dynamic and ensure it stays loyal to its “we leave no one stranded” brand promise.

Such collaborations are nothing new for Maestro. Just last year, it teamed up with Howden to integrate its IIoT solutions into the Ventsim CONTROL ventilation optimisation software, while, in 2020, it brought the Plexus PowerNet™ last mile communication network to MacLean Engineering’s Sudbury test mine and Dynamic Earth’s educational mine to enable continuous connectivity underground.

Gribbons said the company has also just worked with Spain-based Zitron on designing large 4 x 4 m MaestroFlex™ regulators on underground booster fans at a major gold mine in Canada.

All these partnerships are part of the company’s recipe for success.

“We’ve progressively eliminated elements of underground mine automation infrastructure to simplify and allow for the future automation of mining,” Gribbons said. “This is working; the clients continue to return, and we stay true to our core purpose of enhancing lives by the pursuit of productivity and safety excellence.”

TLT-Turbo Africa finds mine ventilation growth at home and abroad

Following what it says is unprecedented resilience throughout the past 18 months, TLT-Turbo Africa is now accelerating its growth globally with the signing of six new major clients and the retention of 20 existing clients who have submitted new orders to be filled in the year ahead.

TLT-Turbo Africa has secured orders from six new major clients in the copper, platinum and gold sectors for the supply of mining ventilation equipment. These include clients based in Australia, the US and Kazakhstan. The contracts continue TLT-Turbo Africa’s successful track record of delivering advanced, efficient, and high-performance surface, underground and auxiliary mining ventilation solutions both in Africa and globally for almost two decades, it said.

Closer to home, TLT-Turbo Africa has retained 20 clients in mining, mineral processing and the automotive industry – pre-dominantly based in the sub-Saharan region.

Vusi Madlopha, TLT-Turbo Africa Head of Sales and Business Development, said: “These clients return to us based on the performance of our products and the ways in which they have enhanced their operations and reduced their operational costs. This coupled with our service delivery track record, continuous customer engagement and competitive pricing has helped us to secure returning revenue from clients who have become more like partners to us over the years.”

According to Madlopha, TLT-Turbo Africa has managed to maintain and expand their market share despite the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve focused on our strategy on increasing sales and maintaining the quality of our product offering,” Madlopha said. “Our strategy also included growth into new territories outside Africa using the global network of our parent company, TLT-Turbo GmbH. 2021 posed unique supply chain challenges that affected the whole world. Our internal processes allowed for efficient use of limited resources to produce quality products for our customers throughout the year.”

A major contributing factor to this success, adds Madlopha, was the leadership and vision of TLT-Turbo Africa Managing Director, Christo Gelderblom (pictured). Gelderblom’s vision is to position the company as a global supplier of air movement technology.

Gelderblom said: “Over the last few years, TLT-Turbo Africa has meaningfully scaled our core portfolio of mining ventilation solutions, invested in the research and development needed to advance our technology, and enhanced our customer consultation and care culture. We have listened to our clients and the faith they have in us is echoed in the respect we have for their expertise and input. The fact that our clients continue to come back to us proves their confidence in the next chapter for TLT-Turbo Africa.”

Looking at what’s next in the year ahead, Madlopha explains that, in addition to continuous enhancement of its existing mine ventilation offering, TLT-Turbo Africa will enhance the product offering to include Mechanical Vapor Recompression and expanding into new applications.

“As we enter 2022, we look forward to expanding our product offering to evaporation technologies and industrial process plants,” Gelderblom said. “Mining will always be our backbone, so we will also focus on strengthening our relationships with all our mining customers through our sales networks within the SSA region, and globally.”

Howden updates Ventsim CONTROL software with ‘on demand’ mine cooling solution

Howden has launched the latest update to its Ventsim CONTROL software, featuring an “on demand” solution for mine ventilation cooling.

Software connected to hardware devices from Howden or other third parties remotely monitors, controls and automates airflow heating and cooling. This means users can monitor temperatures at deeper levels, and push back cooled air more efficiently. The technology provides safer ventilation that is more productive and cost effective, according to Howden.

The Ventsim CONTROL solution also offers a 3D modelling capability within the software, which helps users to better predict and control air flows based on what is evidenced in the simulation.

The technology will be featured at the Ventsim User Conference from March 16-18, 2022.

Hugo Dello Sbarba, Director of Ventsim and Sales Mining at Howden, said: “Our on demand update to Ventsim CONTROL aligns with trends we are seeing in the industry towards deeper mines which require cooled air to achieve higher standards of health and safety for workers. Currently, many mines put a cooling plant at surface level and cool air regardless of its destination or where it’s needed as there aren’t intelligent controls to pinpoint the localised need, which is often at deeper levels. These new controls ensure the cool air goes where it is required, saving operating and energy costs.

“The improved efficiency supports the move to more sustainable operations, and the health and safety benefit allows mines to adopt higher standards in advance of incoming regulations.”

Anglo American signals design changes at Woodsmith polyhalite project

Anglo American has outlined plans to change elements of the design at its Woodsmith polyhalite project in the UK, which will have a bearing on both the sinking of the two main shafts and development of the underground mining area at the project.

The company has been running a detailed technical review on Woodsmith since mid-2020 to ensure the technical and commercial integrity of the full scope of its design. This followed the acquisition of the asset as part of a takeover of Sirius Minerals earlier that year.

“Now largely complete, the review has confirmed the findings of Anglo American’s due diligence that a number of elements of the project’s design would benefit from modification to bring it up to Anglo American’s safety and operating integrity standards and to optimise the value of the asset for the long term,” the company said.

Anglo is also making a change to the leadership at Woodsmith following its integration into Anglo American and ahead of the full project execution phase. Tom McCulley, who has led the development of the Quellaveco copper project in Peru, will take over from Chris Fraser as CEO of Crop Nutrients. This will see Fraser step aside and take on a strategic projects role for Anglo.

“The Woodsmith team is further developing the engineering to optimise the configuration of the project, recognising the multi-decade life of the mine,” Anglo said.

Particular attention is on the aspects identified at the outset of Anglo American’s ownership – namely, the sinking of the two main shafts, the development of the underground mining area, and the changes required to accommodate both increased production capacity and the more efficient and scalable mining method of using only continuous miners, it said.

The sinking of the two main shafts is due to be carried out using Herrenknecht’s Shaft Boring Roadheader (SBR) technology. DMC Mining, a company familiar with the technology thanks to its work sinking shafts at Jansen in Saskatchewan, Canada, was previously tasked with sinking the production and service shaft, each around 1,500 m deep, and two smaller shafts associated with the materials transport system, each approximately 350 m deep. Its contract was ended in 2020.

These improvements will, the company said, require the installation of additional ventilation earlier in the development of the underground mining area.

“Anglo American expects that these changes to the design of the mine infrastructure – which will result in a different, enhanced configuration and therefore a different construction and production ramp-up schedule – will ensure that its exacting standards are met and the full commercial value of the asset is realised,” the company said.

Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, said: “We are very happy with the high quality and exciting potential of Woodsmith, with the scale and quality of the polyhalite orebody pointing to a quartile one operating cost position and strong margins. This is a very long-life asset and we are going to take the necessary time to get every aspect of the design right to match our long-term vision and value aspirations.

“We have said from the outset that we expect to make improvements and that we will execute certain elements of the construction differently and with a more conservative schedule. We expect to have completed our design engineering, capital budget and schedule at the end of 2022, with a fully optimised value case that recognises the upside potential we see in Woodsmith, and we will then submit the full project to the board.”

In the meantime, construction of the major critical path elements of the project, principally the two main shafts and the mineral transport tunnel, is progressing, with approximately $700 million of capital expected to be invested in 2022, Anglo said.

The plan at Woodsmith under previous owners Sirius was to extract polyhalite via two mine shafts and transport this outside of the National Park to Teesside on a conveyer belt system in an underground tunnel. It would then be granulated at a materials handling facility, with the majority being exported to overseas markets. The company was previously aiming to achieve first product from the mine by the end of 2021, ramping up to an initial production capacity of 10 Mt/y and then full production of 20 Mt/y.

The changes to McCulley’s and Fraser’s roles are effective January 1, 2022. Anglo American has appointed Adolfo Heeren as CEO of Anglo American in Peru, effective from the same date. Heeren will work together with McCulley during the first half of 2022 to ensure a smooth transition from the construction and commissioning phase of Quellaveco into operations, expecting first copper production in mid-2022.

Howden bolsters Ventsim CONTROL customer support with new ‘powerful communications centre’

Howden has launched the Ventsim CONTROL™ Service desk, a “powerful communications centre” designed to, it says, strengthen customer operations’ support.

As part of its new service, every customer request will generate a code, creating a continuous queue of client requests with all necessary data. The reported issue is either resolved on the spot or escalated to a specialist, as appropriate.

“We track every incident reported, whether a software anomaly, a new feature, to suggest an improvement, or anything else,” Howden explained. “In that way, we make every effort to ensure that all requests are appropriately reviewed, prioritised and forwarded to the right team member.”

The Service desk serves as a centralised location for all customer communications, with the customer kept up-to-date on the request progress. Concerns are addressed and resolved as promptly as possible, the company explains.

Ventsim CONTROL, a software platform provides ventilation design capabilities for control and optimisation, is fully integrated with Ventsim DESIGN, a mine ventilation simulation software. It communicates to hardware devices to remotely monitor, control, and automate airflow, heating, and cooling.

Aggreko ups the mine cooling ante with modular BAC10000s

Twenty years after establishing modular mine cooling solutions in Australia, Aggreko has released an offering for mines going deeper with its latest modular bulk air coolers (BACs).

These 40 ft (12.19 m) mobile BAC10000s coolers are “unique” and relatively new to the mine cooling market, according to Aggreko Australia-Pacific Managing Director, George Whyte.

“They are scalable, portable and boast three times the cooling capacity of our previous largest offering – the 20 ft long (about 6.09 m) containers,” he said.

Aggreko has delivered more than 50 mine cooling projects globally, and always draws on the experience of its engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance teams to stay at the forefront of technology, according to Whyte.

“Aggreko’s mining services pioneered mine cooling as a rental service 20 years ago as a result of mines looking for alternatives to capital refrigeration plants,” he said. “Previously mining companies would need to use capital to install built-in cooling systems which were not scalable, modular or as effective.

“In the past two decades we have witnessed mines becoming deeper and this has resulted in the need for larger cooling capacities and innovation. The need for deeper mines in increasingly remote locations, coupled with rising global temperatures, is forcing operation managers to seek affordable alternatives to cooling and ventilation systems.”

Aggreko Underground Cooling Sector Manager, Mitch Bevan, said the BAC10000s were used at a Western Australia mine last year and will soon arrive at a mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Bevan said part of the new modular BACs appeal were their simplicity and convenience when compared with purpose-built on-site cooling plants. The new BACs used a simple design involving pipes, chilled water and three axial fans – all comprised in a modular shipping container. He expected more mines globally would become interested in the company’s new product offering, particularly in regions such as Africa, Latin America and North America.

“The unit is more suited for larger installations and offers improved efficiency rather than using a large number of smaller BACs,” Bevan said.

“Capital refrigeration plants take a long time for mines to prepare for financially, as well as to install, whereas we can mobilise on relatively short notice. A rental option also provides a great deal of flexibility, which is often crucial for underground vent systems where it is difficult to predict the requirement year on year.”

Bevan said Aggreko re-engineered their cooling towers to come up with the 40 ft modular BAC10000s after anticipating there would be global demand for such an offering.

“Long running mines have continued to grow and their refrigeration requirement grows with the mine, so BACs are appealing as they can be scaled up or easily moved on-site,” he said.

“While mines are expanding, our clients are also focused on energy efficiency, and safer operation – such as more environmentally friendly refrigerants – and we are constantly working on new developments in these areas.

“The water-cooled BACs have less of an environmental impact seeing as the modular container sits on the ground’s surface and requires no serious ground modifications, such as concrete.

“The units only require water and power and, while some mines use diesel-generated power, as time goes on, that will shift to renewable energy. Our company has made major commitments to greener energy to help miners achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. That is why we are constantly exploring and investing in new technologies. Currently, our water-cooled chillers use half as much power as air-cooled options, which is part of their appeal, and we are the only rental company to provide such modular and scalable products.”

The BAC10000s have been successfully used at 29Metals’ Golden Grove mine – a high grade copper, zinc and precious metals mine, about 450 km northeast of Perth, which mills about 1.44 Mt/y.

When the mine underwent an expansion, which required almost two years to up-scale its permanent cooling plant, a quick and effective solution was needed in time for the 2020-21 summer, according to Aggreko. The power specialist was able to quickly supply the BAC10000s to install a 4.5 MWr water-cooled plant.

As well as water cooled refrigeration plants such as Aggreko’s 20 ft and 40 ft BACs, Aggreko also offers air cooled refrigeration plants (with power provided, if required) and underground spot cooling solutions.

“Newer mines are also continuing to come online in Australia and around the world,” Bevan said. “We are supplying modular cooling solutions throughout the entire mining lifecycle.

“We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve on our strengths to assist our clients further into the future. We provide flexible energy solutions and services to the mining sector and provide high standards regardless of a mine’s location in the world.”

VortexOHS and Howden set to integrate hygiene and ventilation reporting requirements

Howden’s pledge to provide “total mine ventilation solutions” to the industry has led to many corporate transactions and partnerships over recent years, with this customer vow showing no signs of abating.

A recent tie-up with South Africa-based VortexOHS might have gone under the radar among all the Howden M&A noise, but it is arguably one of the more timely and important associations the company has made when it comes to speeding up and improving the work of ventilation and hygiene professionals across the industry.

Many miners will be aware of VortexOHS’ work in the occupational hygiene space; its modular ventilation and occupational hygiene data collection and management system is used throughout South Africa and neighbouring nations for planning surveys, collecting information and generating hygiene reports.

Packaged in a SQL server-based system, it can be worked on by multiple people from all over the world concurrently. This means a supervisor in South Africa can collaborate and download a report at the same time as a mine manager overseas.

The generation of these reports, some of which are a required by South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), has become part and parcel of hygiene professionals’ daily workflows.

Shane Ambrosio, Director and Consultant at VortexOHS, says the repository, which allows mine sites to, among other things, set up homogeneous exposure groups (HEGs), as well as a sample register and service history of all measuring instruments, was created in direct response to the needs of the mining industry.

“Ventilation professionals, whenever they move from site-to-site, are governed by different ways of working,” he told IM. “No company or report is the same, with various employees compiling relevant data on spreadsheets or word documents with endless different formats. That is before mentioning the variances in the way these surveys measure and collect the data.”

Ambrosio, a ventilation professional by trade, realised the opportunity to create a database solution that could go some way to standardising the reporting process.

What started as a solution to cater to the occupational hygiene requirements from the DMRE – which requests mines to submit statutory reports on personal exposure monitoring to occupational hygiene stressors – has evolved into a platform that could go some way to solving the industry’s needs for a complete ventilation reporting solution. Additionally, the system hopes to bring some level of standardisation to the market.

Stephan Bergh, Mining Team Leader at Howden Africa, explained: “In South Africa and most of Africa – as the continent tends to follow suit – the Ventilation Engineering and Occupational Hygiene (VOHE) Department is one and the same. The legal appointee, in most instances, would look after both legs – occupational hygiene, which module one of VortexOHS speaks to from a statutory point of view, and ventilation surveys, which are the checks carried out on the workplace at prescribed intervals to make sure the hazards and risks employees are exposed to are within allowable limits.

“Howden’s Total Mine Ventilation Solution (TMVS) is focused on building sustainable, value adding relationships. Our fully-integrated approach to mine ventilation is aimed at creating work environments which are safe and risk free to the health of employees.

“The new modules in VortexOHS, such as ventilation surveys, will assist in making VortexOHS a complete sampling and reporting tool for VOHE professionals. This allows Howden to support mines in meeting their statutory, legal and safety objectives in more efficient ways, and supports our vision of offering a single-point-of-contact solution.”

For Ambrosio, the integration is an obvious one given that the ventilation and hygiene dynamic are so closely related.

“Noise aside, ventilation solves the majority of hygiene issues,” he said. “If you solve diesel particulate matter (DPM) emissions at a heading in your mine, for example, you don’t have heat stress problems as you have so much ventilation in that heading to clear the DPMs.”

The way ventilation personnel are measuring and recording relevant information is continuing to evolve, which means Ambrosio has had to create a module for metal mines that can be customised and added to in the future.

“We’re trying to create a system that is robust and completely flexible – a customised experience with strong guidelines as to what is required for these comprehensive reports,” he said. “This is based on our experience in the sector as a consultant and software provider.”

Survey components (bottom) and measurement definition (top) screenshots from the new VortexOHS metal mine module

Buoyed by the interest – and backing – of a senior mining company that saw the potential to expand VortexOHS from the hygiene module, Ambrosio has been busy defining appropriate measurement metrics, building standardised components, incorporating sketches and finetuning the scheduling format to make the system easy to use, scalable and, most important, useful for the wider mining industry. Some of the reports the industry carries out require the measurement and entry of 200 readings, so scalability has been factored in at every turn.

“The idea is to build the relevant components once and then you can transfer these into different reports as you wish,” he explained. “It is pointless having the same element being measured in two different ways in two different reports, which is currently what happens.”

While South Africa may have dominated sales of the VortexOHS hygiene module, this new, in-development module has global appeal, according to Ambrosio.

Regional standards can be incorporated into reports as required and relevant calculations can be automated to inform the process and adapt to mine- and regulator-specific requirements.

“If this achieves what I plan for it to achieve, it will make a lot of people’s lives a lot easier,” Ambrosio said. “It will come with a lot more in demand than the hygiene module, for sure.”

The metal mine ventilation module should be complete by the end of the year, with additional modules for collieries and safety inspection to follow in 2022.

Howden leveraging Abitibi ventilation fan base as part of Quick Ship Program

Howden, as part of its Quick Ship Program, is now assembling underground mine fans in the Abitibi region of Quebec, Canada, as it looks to provide a quick and efficient distribution network across North America.

The company says it knew it needed to create a program to get its products to customers faster so, some years ago, based on direct customer feedback, developed the Quick Ship Program.

Setting up a base in the mining-rich region of the Abitibi to assemble these fans from is part of its latest efforts to make fans available for distribution in the continent in one-to-two weeks, based on motor availability.

Its Jetstream auxiliary or secondary fans in various diameters, horsepower speeds, voltages, etc fall under the program. Its Quick Ship VAX adjustable pitch vane axial fans, meanwhile, can be equipped with Howden standard Heavy Duty Options such as mining-duty suspension clips, grease nipple and conduit box rollover protection bars, the company said.

Howden said: “We developed this program with the customer in mind. We are keeping stock of auxiliary fans and spare parts to improve our response time. By having stock in North America, we can reduce our lead times down to two weeks significantly. Our shorter lead times mean less downtime and, more importantly, considerable cost savings for you.”

TLT-Turbo Africa addresses mining ventilation market need with new fans

TLT-Turbo Africa has extended its current auxiliary and booster fan range to include variants that, it says, are able to provide flexibility to clients on all underground ventilation performance requirements.

Following the launch and market success of the TLT-Turbo Auxiliary and Booster Fan (A&B) range for the mining industry launched in 2019, TLT-Turbo Africa noticed a trend emerging of mining companies focusing on energy efficient solutions for ventilation. Based on enquiries received from numerous existing and potential clients, TLT-Turbo identified a gap in the mining ventilation market as demand increased for fans in the size range between 1,600 mm and 2,000 mm diameter.

Vusi Madlopha, TLT-Turbo Africa Head of Sales & Business Development, said: “With the mining sector starting to move away from large-scale, end-of-life surface fan installations to smaller, more scalable and movable ventilation installations, it became clear to us that this niche will become more and more relevant in the future. TLT-Turbo Africa decided to bridge this gap in our offering by extending our current standardised A&B fan range to include 1,800mm and 2,000mm variants.”

The same design methodology and aerodynamic concepts on which the A&B fan range was based were taken on board to develop these larger fan products, TLT-Turbo said. Standardisation was also one of the main criteria for the development of the new fans to ensure a globally cost-effective supply chain of product components. This was achieved by using the same blade, impeller, and stator design from the A&B fan range.

“To enhance product robustness and performance, we included features of the TLT-Turbo Modular Mine Fan range which includes fans ranging in size from 2,000 mm to 3,150 mm,” Madlopha explained.

Stephan Viviers, Engineering Specialist at TLT-Turbo Africa, goes on to explain what makes these new fans exceptional from design and product development aspects.

“The standard design features include a horizontally-split fan casing to allow for larger foot mount motors to be installed and to make international transport of components possible within normal sized marine containers,” Viviers said. “All fans in the range are designed to operate in 50 Hz and 60 Hz applications with a 2-pole motor at 3,000 and 3,600 rpm and with a 4-pole motor at 1,500 and 1,800 rpm.”

The Booster fan range is supplied as standard with in-situ blade pitch angle adjustment brackets, according to TLT-Turbo. The full range of fans can also be supplied with optional temperature and vibration sensors, as well as an Anti-Stall Unit. The fans are fully Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compliant and, thus, can be integrated into any Ventilation on Demand system. A large range of duty points can be achieved at high efficiency by varying the blade pitch angles, as well as the solidity of the impeller, the company says. Fans can also be installed in series up to three stages to achieve higher pressure requirements allowing the client more flexibility.

TLT-Turbo Africa recently completed the build and supply of the first MC2000 for the Australian market.

Madlopha described this fan as a “top of the range South African manufactured product in terms of size and performance”. The fan’s highest duty point was designed to deliver a volume flow of 90.0 cu.m/s and 4,000 Pa of total pressure at an air density of 1.2 kg/cu.m and VSD setting of 110%. This particular unit was intended for a force draft application and included an aerodynamic conical inlet as well as an outlet diffuser to allow for further static pressure recovery.

Viviers concluded: “Having this size product as a standard offering in the mining industry is of huge global significance based on the direction that mining developments are taking with dynamic scalability at the heart of ventilation. Mining contractors are also interested in a product that can allow them to use more smaller, and modular fans for underground booster applications. This enhancement of the TLT-Turbo product range will shorten lead times and capital costs to our customers’ growing applications.”

Tata Steel’s Jharia Division receives coal prep plant, ventilation power supply boost

In line with its mechanisation and modernisation program, Tata Steel’s Jharia Division has commissioned a “state-of-the-art” 2 Mt/y coal preparation plant and 400 kVA uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for the main ventilation fan at the Jamadoba Colliery in India.

On the occasion, D B Sundara Ramam, Vice President (Raw Materials), Tata Steel, said: “Introduction of appropriate technology is key to the success of underground mining. At Tata Steel, we leverage our innovation capabilities, technology leadership with focus on safety and sustainability to create long-term value. This state-of-the-art beneficiation plant not only addresses issues like productivity, safety and environment but, at the same, time ensures production of coal at a competitive price.”

Built using cutting-edge technology, the 2 Mt/y preparation plant has been transformed from the oldest running washery in Asia (in operation since 1952) to one of the most modern washeries across the globe, Tata Steel said.

The washery is a major upgrade from the conventional set-up, consisting of a dense media separation cyclone circuit for coarse material, reflux classifier for the intermediate circuit and flotation for the fines circuit – all geared towards improving production efficiency. This is also the first washery in the country with a 100% dewatering facility built within its plant, thereby completely eliminating the need for a tailings pond, auto sprinklers and dry fog systems.

The giant UPS provides uninterrupted power supply to the 450 hp (336 kW) mine fan and automatically changes over during power failure from DVC, keeping the fan running for 40 minutes – enough time for power restoration or change-over to captive supply. This battery back-up UPS is the first-of-its-kind in the country for any mine ventilation fan, according to Tata Steel, enhancing the safety and ergonomics within the mines and providing a more comfortable environment for the miners to work.

Tata Steel says its Jharia Division has been at the helm of innovation and modernisation since its inception, with initiatives like its chair lift man riding system, cooling plant, low capacity and low cost continuous miner with the haulage system setting benchmarks when it comes to underground mining in the country. The Jharia Division has undertaken several initiatives of automation and digitalisation which has helped in improving operational excellence.