New generation Dugless 903 provides more efficiency, less hassle

The Minprovise Dugless 903 mini loader draws on the merits of the previous award-winning model, while improving its efficiency, reliability and overall design.

Minprovise designed and manufactured the first Dugless 900 mini loader in Australia more than 10 years ago.

It eliminated manual handling of a mini loader through its remote-controlled operation, which could clean up large volumes of spilt material, with the operator at a safe distance away.

Based in Perth, the mining equipment manufacturer has continued to strive for both improvement and innovation in its products – the Dugless machine is no exception.

The new generation upgraded Dugless sets a high standard, with an enhanced air intake system that delivers more uptime between air filter changes.

Since the first Dugless 903 model was delivered in November 2018, more than 15 of the machines have been enlisted to some of Australia’s major mining companies, including Rio Tinto, South32, BHP Olympic Dam and BHP South Flank.

Minprovise general manager Tony Sutton says the Dugless 903 has superior levels of reliability compared with its predecessor.

“The previous unit’s filter arrangement meant that if you were working in a dusty environment, you were regularly changing the filter cartridges,” Sutton tells Australian Mining. “With the new filter arrangement, very little dust ends up in the filter cartridge.”

Dust is a major concern for any mining operation, especially in dry and windy areas, which means it plays a significant factor in the life of any mining machine.

The Dugless 903 includes a multi-cyclone block that Minprovise managed to fit into a 56-centimetre tall footprint.

Advantages of a cyclone-style air intake system include a major reduction in the amount of filter changes, along with improved maintenance access to filter cartridges.

The first prototype of the mini loader featured a single cyclone assembly, which was too tall for the machine.

As a result, Minprovise went with a multi-block setup that includes eight cyclone units.

The benefit of a dust cyclone is that it removes dust particles prior to air going through a dual filter, which means that filters don’t need to be changed anywhere near as often.

“We’ve been able to get a multi-cyclone block into a very, very small space,” Sutton says.

“Everything has to be compact and there’s nothing off the shelf that you can buy able to achieve that.”

The upgraded Dugless uses vortex cyclones that provide an enhanced level of particle extraction.

“We could clearly see that the cyclone system pulled dust particles out much more effectively,” Sutton says.

According to the Minprovise general manager, the design is very similar to cyclone-style vacuum cleaners.

“Imagine you were using a vacuum cleaner at home and everything was going into a filter bag that you didn’t only have to clean but you also had to shake to get the dust out,” he says.

“With a cyclone style vacuum cleaner, all of the particles fall into a tray that you simply empty, so it’s a very quick and easy process to deal with the dust that’s collected.”

This has resulted in a huge reduction in filter replacements compared to the previous Dugless machine.

“Therefore, the cartridge is obviously replaced less often, and as operators try to run a machine for as long as they can, changing a cartridge once or twice a shift is not something they jump for joy about,” Sutton says. “Now operators only need to change a cartridge once a week and the long-term benefit is much better protection for the engine.

“You can also expect to be around 14 per cent more efficient every day because you don’t need to change those filters every day.”

The new generation Dugless also features an air blowback system that expels the ingress of water from the machine after it’s washed.

Operated with a simple remote control from up to 50 metres away, another major area of the machine is its ability to prevent workers from being close to the mini loader while it’s in operation.

Sutton says the Dugless has a significant advantage of reaching places that conventional front-end loaders cannot when cleaning spillages, underneath conveyors in particular.

“The Dugless performs extremely well cleaning up under conveyor systems because typically the legs of conveyor systems have braces on them and there’s not a lot of height from the ground to the base which causes limited access,” he explains.

“The major advantage of the Dugless is that you can clean up while the conveyor is still running. This allows you to keep the operator 40 to 50 metres away from the conveyor while it’s operational. You’re putting the individual out of harm’s way without halting any process.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.