Following the Queensland Mines Inspectorate decree to end inadequate truck braking earlier this month, there has been an upsurge in interest for fail-safe auxiliary truck braking systems.
There have been two fatal accidents and numerous other serious injuries as a result of inadequate braking in Queensland alone in the last two years.
According to brake manufacturer Advanced Braking Technologies (ABT), its Sealed Integrated Braking Systems (SIBS) are designed to significantly reduce the risk of uncontrolled truck movements and the subsequent danger this can create.
The newest product in the SIBS range is the concrete agitator brake, specifically designed for cement agitator trucks and other similar heavily loaded vehicles.
ABT is receiving inquiries from many more operators of heavy trucks, particularly those used in underground operations.
The company’s chief executive Ken Johnsen told MINING DAILY that the problem has arisen due to the fact that the brakes on road-going vehicles are hypothetically suitable for underground use.
“The manufacturing specifications on these brakes meet all the Australian design requirements, so according to the rules, they are fit for purpose,” he said.
“The difficulty is, once they get into harsh mine environments they can go out of adjustment very easily.
“So in practice the brakes may not in fact be fit for mining purposes.”
According to Johnsen, the question is whether the brakes are actually robust enough for operation in harsh mining environments.
“We are trying to solve this problem by providing an auxiliary upgraded brake as an extra way to mitigate the risks,” he said.
“Hopefully, the mines will never need to use our brake, because it would mean they are doing everything right.”
Johnsen believes the views expressed by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate are shared by all of the State’s respective departments.
“The issue is not going to go away and that’s why I believe we’ll see more and more companies take up the SIBS technology,” he said.
“It is starting to get a bit of recognition from mining contractors and the mine inspectors are starting to show a bit more interest as well.
ABT recently fitted three underground concrete agitator trucks, belonging to mining contractor Barminco, with the SIBS system.
Another seven units are to be installed within the next six to eight months.
“We believe the SIBS system was worth implementing as a fail-safe and foolproof backup to the other safety systems we have in place,” Barminco engineering manager Peter Campain said.