Working at the cutting edge

Macmahon has developed a robotic shaft liner to keep users safe and help to ensure they do their best work.

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.

Improved technology

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.

Proven equipment

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

08 9232 1000

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.