Bill McCurry has been selected as a finalist in the 5th Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards. McCurry has developed a safety centreline socket system that has revolutionised coal mines in Australia.
The system has been implemented into nearly every coal mine in the Bowen Basin that use draglines to remove overburden.
The Safe Compact Wedge Removal System eliminates uncontrolled movement by swinging hammers or donga systems, that are currently used during dragline rope maintenance procedures.
The system can be used on the Hoist, Drag and Dump sockets on minesites.
McCurry’s invention eliminates the trip and slip hazard of personnel involved in swinging the donga while also removing the hazard of shards of metal becoming projectiles when a miss/hit occurs with hammers and donga systems.
In effect, McCurry was able to turn the most dangerous job on a mine site into a safe and efficient process with little or nor risk at all. While the safety benefits are obvious, the system also has some other hidden benefits.
According to BMA, who have a patent on the design, the centreline socket system is user friendly and reduces the amount of downtime generally associated with wedge removal.
The centreline socket system is also said to reduce the amount of labour currently used throughout the process.
According to McCurry, the system is able to half the number of personnel.
The general rule of thumb is, if five people are currently needed, using the centreline socket system, only two are needed.
Furthermore, there is no need to cut the tail of the rope, which means less cutting work and the product can be equalized easily prior to return to work.
The centreline socket system is currently used across the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland with great acceptance from both maintenance and operational personnel.