CJD technology drives success of underground mining fleet

Byrnecut prefers working with leading-edge technology to stay ‘a cut above’ competing underground mining contractors – one way they achieve this is by relying on CJD Equipment

Byrnecut uses Volvo A40 articulated haulers converted into water trucks.

Byrnecut prefers working with leading-edge technology to stay ‘a cut above’ competing underground mining contractors – one way they achieve this is by relying on CJD Equipment.

Founded in 1987, Byrnecut has established itself into a highly specialised underground contract mining company in the global sector, operating a multi-million-dollar fleet of equipment.

“The thing that sets us apart is our willingness to embrace technology,” Max Woods, Byrnecut group plant asset manager, said. “The way we see it, we can’t afford not to successfully adopt new technologies.

“Often, we will see other operators in the industry bring in a new product or system for a few months and abandon it at the first sign of trouble. Whereas, we have a reputation of committing to making technology work to its full potential.”

Through CJD, Byrnecut has invested in a fleet of Volvo machines, including the Volvo L120 series wheel loaders, the Volvo A40 articulated hauler converted into water trucks, and the ECR235E excavator.

“The majority of contractors or owner–operators in the industry are using Volvos because of the quality of their machines and their lower rated exhaust emissions,” Woods said.

“All of the latest series of Volvo machines are US tier-four final or stage-four specification for exhaust emissions. So within our business, Volvo is pretty firmly entrenched as the preferred product for underground mining applications.”

But with an underground mining presence spanning across more than 15 countries, Byrnecut’s competitive advantage extends beyond acquiring a premium fleet and a sophisticated approach to technology.

“As a contractor, we prioritise management of our resources and assets across multiple projects and varying workloads, which has contributed greatly to our success over the years,” Woods said. “And above all else, our most valuable asset as a business is our people.

“The underground mining industry is unique and attracts people who are passionate about the work that they do. As a result, we have a good number of seasoned employees who have been with the business for a long time and are well-recognised across the industry.”

A lot of Byrnecut’s decision-making on how resources are allocated for operations is based on the feedback of its experienced operators.

“Before we scale any new technology, we require operator acceptance,” Woods said. “Typically, when we look at a new machine, whether it’s a new model or manufacturer, we have operators participate in our operational risk assessments.

“They will observe every machine’s performance in terms of operability. Equipment is assessed for longevity, serviceability, maintenance acceptance, and any other characteristics that might make it advantageous for our business to invest in long-term.

“For example, Volvo is very focused on ergonomic designs and operator comfort, which is something our team appreciates.”

Another thing to consider when testing a new machine is how well it can meet specifications for underground mining applications in accordance with mining design guidelines (MDG 15), Woods explained.

To assess the performance of a piece of equipment, Byrnecut organises a “pre-delivery”, where the company brings a standard machine up to the required specification and observes how it performs on an underground mine site.

“CJD in particular are well versed in preparing the machines for underground mining operations,” Woods said.

“We have monthly product health meetings with CJD, where we review our product usage to see if there’s any areas that they can assist us with improvements and maintenance. We also do safety checks and software updates with them on a servicing plan.”

“Our working relationship with CJD is strong. We have an expectation of their technology, and they deliver on that expectation with the extra mile included.”

This feature appeared in the June issue of Australian Mining.

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