Ultra-deep bores find their match

A Flexibore hose with a 160-kilowatt pump.

Crusader Hose has refused to bow down to the ever-increasing water pressures on mine sites. The company has demonstrated how to efficiently achieve mine dewatering with the development of Flexibore 400 series hose.

Not many companies are led by a managing director who has held his position for 30 years.

Francois Steverlynck has accomplished this loyalty and commitment as MD of Crusader Hose, nearly matching the company’s 35-year operation with his tenure. 

During this time, the Melbourne-based company has grown its relationships with the mining, pumping and drilling industries through site visits, networking and trade shows. 

Steverlynck has also expanded his knowledge of what mining companies need for water extraction over this period, leading the development of Crusader Hose solutions that overcome dewatering challenges. 

“Mines are extending and digging deeper, and are therefore reliant on water transfer systems, which can handle the greater pressures at these deeper depths,” Steverlynck tells Australian Mining.

Under Steverlynck’s leadership, Crusader Hose’s research and development team has invested several years in inventing an ultra-high-pressure hose for use in bore water extraction, the Flexibore 400 series hose.

The Flexibore 400 is a standout milestone in Crusader Hose’s history, described by Steverlynck as a “pioneering achievement” that helps mining companies reach their highest levels of productivity and profitability.

Its development was guided by industry advancements, such as upgrades to manufacturing techniques, as well as Crusader Hose’s experience in the defence sector.

The Flexibore 400 series incorporates loom modifications and higher-calibre polyester fibre used in weaving the textile reinforcement, compared with that in lower-pressure Flexibore products.

“The tenacity of these higher-calibre fibres is unparalleled,” Steverlynck says. “The $800,000 investment in a new extruder has brought world-best quality during this very important process. 

“As a result, the four-inch Flexibore 400 series hose is the highest pressure layflat hose in the world for ground water pumping, boasting a burst pressure of 100 bar or 1000 metres. Groundwater can now be safely pumped from 400 metres below.”

A submersible pump being installed into the bore.

Such a company commitment to innovation has enabled Flexibore to become a system of choice for in-pit bores on many Australian mines. 

Its recognised position in the industry owes in part to the ease of installing and retrieving the submersible pumps.

Mine operators can simply install the pump using a roller, crane or mechanised spool as the riser pipe in one continuous length, including the installation of a 380-metre Flexibore 400 layflat hose.

It beats the time and process taken to manage a steel or fibreglass pipe, with power cables already attached to the Flexibore’s polyurethane straps.

This capability wasn’t developed overnight and started in the defence sector, one of the company’s other target markets during its history. 

In the early 2000s, Crusader Hose spent three years on a defence project, preparing the drawings, manuals and specifications for a fuel transfer hose and reel system as part of an important tender. 

“The process was very arduous and time consuming, a level that Crusader Hose had never experienced before,” Steverlynck says.

“But through hard work and guidance from a consultant, we were successful in winning the bid. It was a huge turning point in the maturity and capability of Crusader Hose as a business.”

With mining companies relentlessly pursuing efficiency and safety improvements, Crusader Hose is determined to assist the iron ore and broader mining industry to maintain or even exceed these standards with technologically advanced products and services. 

“We will continue to innovate and introduce new technology to solidify our hose systems for vertical and horizontal dewatering,” Steverlynck says. “We are committed to supporting Australia’s mining industry.”  

This story also appears in the June issue of Australian Mining.

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