Live-line indicators pave the way for open-cut mines

A pioneer in the electrical coupler industry, AusProof continues to develop solutions that bring greater safety and productivity to mines.

A pioneer in the electrical coupler industry, AusProof continues to develop solutions that bring greater safety and productivity to mines.

A simple light on an electrical line is all workers need to see to know that cable is live.

A universal and important feature of couplers, the use of live-line indicators has long been kept to below-ground operations, due the low light emitted by the indicators.

Looking to bring their reliability to the surface, AusProof has built its new live-line indicator from the ground up, developing a circuit board that is integrated into the coupler that reads directly from the current in the line and an indicator that displays bright enough that it is visible even in bright conditions outside.

AusProof managing director Aston Marks said the company is committed to re-inventing itself in order to remain at the top of the industry.

“We wanted to give our customers the peace of mind that they could use our couplers confidently on the operations without having to worry about the safety risks,” Marks told Australian Mining.

“Other companies have attached transformers, power supplies and circuitry which reads from the line to determine whether it’s live, but they are all prone to failure.

“You can’t 100 per cent of the time count on those external readers; there’s always a chance that they fail and when they do. You can’t guarantee the safety of workers operating near these lines.

“Our new indicators are powered by the electricity running through the coupler itself. They light up when the line is active and are dark when there’s no power.

“It’s a complex problem, drawing power from the cable to ignite an LED without interfering with operations; but it’s a solution we had to achieve.”

AusProof has recently also released a range of cost-effective aluminium small restrained range plugs and receptacles that are specifically designed for open-cut mines.

Previously reliant on the underground steel plugs and receptacles, the aluminium options are less expensive, lighter and more suited to the requirements of surface mining, making them a better choice than the previously available options.

“We took the same internal technology of our underground certified plugs and receptacles, but replaced the casing with a metal, such as aluminium, which is more suitable and cost-effective for above-ground projects,” Marks said.

“Some of the hazards are different (between surface and underground), but when it comes to electrical safety, we want to be as comprehensive as we can to give our customers peace of mind, which is why we insist on having our open-cut mining couplers electrically tested.”

AusProof has an understanding of the remote nature of the operations to which it provides its products, offering user care maintenance programs and a lifetime guarantee on the integrity of the design of their couplers.

Additionally, AusProof has developed a patented quick-release ratchet system based on user feedback designed to decrease the working time in disengaging and engaging plugs and receptacles.

“In our DNA at AusProof, we knew wanted to do more than just release a new cost-effective range for open-cut mining,” Marks said.

“We wanted to make a difference also in the usability of our products, so we developed the quick-release ratchet system, which is going to save customers time and money in the long run.”

This feature appeared in the July issue of Australian Mining.

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