Mining Mirror May 2017 - Page 36

Maintenance Vertical hoist gains traction The challenge of doing critical maintenance work at height can be made a lot easier by using vertical transportation systems. A lot of time and energy are wasted on preparing to undertake maintenance programmes at height on processing plants or on critical infrastructure underground. Any downtime in a mining operation means reduced production. The less time spent on doing proper maintenance, the better the company’s results would be. Getting workers to the heights where maintenance needs to be carried out has been a headache for more than one maintenance manager. However, a new modular vertical transportation system might solve the pains of wasted time. The use of hoists for the vertical transportation of personnel and materials is gaining traction across a wide range of industries, including the construction and mining sectors. Quentin van Breda, managing director of SA French, says the increased popularity is because one of the primary challenges on any site is the need to move both people and materials to levels where critical activities need to be performed. “This has to be done safely while maximising productivity,” says Van Breda. The system is not only useful for transporting people, but also [34] MINING MIRROR MAY 2017 different material. Many sites (whether a processing plant or during construction on a mining site) make use of tower cranes to handle heavy loads, and move these across a wide area on the site. “This mode of materials handling, however, cannot be justified for smaller components such as scaffolding material and other equipment. Also, tower cranes cannot move personnel to various levels,” says Van Breda. “The traditional method of moving such equipment manually is not productive at all, and often results in excessive standing time with the associated loss of productivity and, even worse, can increase unsafe work practices on a site,” Van Breda adds. The contractor’s challenge is to find a piece of lifting equipment that will transport both men and materials to various levels on multistorey constructions, and one that will reduce the manual handling as well as the consequential risk of injury. Hoists not only fit the profile for this type of lifting activity, but can also travel at a speed that is effective and safe. “Often the vertical lifting of men and materials is not appreciated in terms of the complexity it adds to logistics on a construction or mining site,” says Van Breda. The challenge is to provide safe, efficient vertical travel on a project while it is being constructed. A recent example where a hoist supplied by SA French provided a best fit logistical vertical lifting solution is at Kusile Power Station. The company supplied workers/ materials hoists to Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Africa and this purpose-engineered single mast hoist is equipped with two separate cages. One has a 2t capacity to carry personnel, while the other is capable of carrying 3.2t of material. Significantly, both cages operate simultaneously, increasing productivity; while the configuration of the hoist also allows for materials to be loaded by forklift, further speeding up the operation. An example within the mining sector is the recent supply of two 0.5t passenger hoists to a copper mine in Zambia. These two hoists will be responsible for moving personnel, together with light tools and equipment, up the shaft headgear framework. b