Alcoa – Hydraulic Steering Filter Housing

Alcoa's hydraulic steering filter is a finalist in the 5th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards.

The Hydraulic Steering Filter Housing was developed from a suggestion from a mechanical fitter who had been responsible for changing the hydraulic steering filter at regular intervals and was aware of the potential hazards involved.

Through the employee suggestion scheme the mechanical fitter proposed modifying the existing housing and putting a threaded cap on the bottom.

The bottom of the housing was cut off, a groove for the o-ring seal machined and a thread, identical to that at the top of the housing, was cut. A threaded lock nut for the top of the housing was fabricated and an end cap to suit the threaded bottom section was machined.

The end cap has a hexagonal shape cut into it to accommodate a purpose built spanner which is used to unscrew the cap. Now only the end cap is removed to change the filter instead of the whole housing.

The cap weighs approximately 1.5kg, and is much easier to handle.

Since the initial prototype was trialled the entire haul truck fleet at Willowdale mine has been modified and Huntly mine will shortly commence the same modifications.

The immediate benefit was the elimination of injuries related to finger and hand crush from the weight of the falling filter housing.

Finger, hand and arm lacerations from the burred metal caused by the jaws of the pipe wrench have also been eliminated and slipping pipe wrenches are a thing of the past now that a hexagonal spanner is used to loosen the end cap.

This modification can easily be transferred to any similar filter housing with sufficient metal wall thickness to machine a seal groove and end cap thread.

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