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Sandvik improves safety in Sweden

Published by , Digital Assistant Editor
Dry Bulk,

Sandvik and Prime Solutions recently teamed up to help a Swedish mine find a completely new way of working, improving productivity and safety.

A common challenge in almost all mines is abrasion in the chutes used to transport the rock both from the crushing stage to the long belt conveyors and between the conveyors. Frequent maintenance stops due to the extreme wear of the equipment are common. For one large mine in northern Sweden with a production rate of some 8000 tph of rock, every hour of standstill costs the company about US$112 000.

In 2009, Sandvik implemented the HX900 cast in carbide in the mine chutes, reducing unplanned stops.

“Sandvik’s HX900 composite lasts 15 to 20 times longer than any other material on the market,” says Oskar Larsson, Product Manager Wear Protection & Screening Media at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. “It’s absolutely unparalleled.”

However, the new carbide casts could not solve the safety problems: the risk of falling rocks combined with dust, cold and high noise levels made maintenance work in the chutes insecure.

In 2012, Prime Solutions discussed the working conditions.

“We wanted to get the maintenance work out from the chute itself,” Håkan Zaar of Prime Solutions. “It wasn’t designed for such work, so neither safety nor the work environment were optimal. In addition, the crushers had to be stopped for each maintenance session, which was very costly.”

Since HX900 allows for longer time in operation, maintenance can be planned when crushers or conveyors are standing still for other reasons. In addition, the work could be moved from the mine to a separate workshop onsite.

“The chute can be replaced during regular maintenance,” Zaar added. “It saves valuable production time, reduces stress and increases both safety and the work environment.”

The mine’s management were satisfied, estimating some 300 hours of interruptions would be avoided yearly, thanks to the new solution.

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