Quality and safety are two of the most important areas of any industry.
Macmahon Underground has developed a new robotic shotcrete shaft liner that is designed to meet both of those requirements.
According to the company, the shaft liner has been designed to spray shotcrete linings in vertical or inclined shafts, but also with the safety of operators working around an open hole firmly in mind.
Macmahon operations manager Rory Burke said that the robotic functions of the shaft liner are key to its improved level of safety.
“By applying intelligent engineering solutions the risk of hazards to operators working on the surface around open holes and moving hose lines has been reduced,” he said.
The design and construction of the shaft liner winch deck is designed to enable the unit itself to be set up closer than it usually would be to the edge of the shaft hole without exposing the workers to the associated hazards.
The liner also features improved use of hose reels and guarding that the company said has reduced potential hazards associated with working around the moving lines of a shaft liner.
According to Burke, the new shaft liner makes use of technology not only to ensure the safety of its operators, but also the quality of their work.
“The quality of the final shotcrete lining can be assessed in terms of thickness using the onboard scanning system,” he said.
“Infrared cameras monitor the spraying by relaying images to the operator, and the shaft liner has been set up to largely operate independently on site, needing minimal cranage for setup.”
According to Macmahon, the shaft liner also features two controls that are designed to give significant savings to the company using the machine.
The first is a control system from the software development company Citect that is designed to give the machine operator a very high level of control over all functions.
Macmahon said that by giving a higher level of command over operations the control system allows the user to help the machine produce a superior sprayed product with minimal rebound.
The rig also uses a scanning technology that enables both pre and post scanning of the surface area above the shaft in order to gauge a more accurate thickness of the measurement of the applied shotcrete.
These more precise and accurate devices mean that the operator is able to reduce the volume required to complete the lining, Macmahon said.
In addition to the various robotic uses of the shaft liner, it also features a tool designed to allow the human eye to make judgements on the work being done.
The rig allows footage of the shaft to be captured and recorded onto DVD in order to permit a closer inspection of the walls of the shaft and then identify any potential faults or problems. Shotcrete application can also be recorded so as to ensure the consistency of the spray.
The first completed shaft by Macmahon’s new shaft liner was at Barrick’s Fairyland Mine in Western Australia.
The project included an 80 metre vertical, 3.5 metre escapeway and vent shaft. According to Fairyland project manager
David Trembath, the job was not an easy one, but Macmahon’s new shaft liner proved up to the task.
“Although the ground was competent, the fact that the shaft would also be travel-way meant that it would require some degree of surface support,” he said.
• Macmahon Holdings
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