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Bucket edge system delivers bankable savings

 Bucket edge system

Increases in bucket availability and tonnage moved are just some of the benefits the Wearpact bucket edge system has delivered for Ridgeway Gold Mine, in Orange, New South Wales.

The system has also provided mine operator Newcrest Mining with a bankable reduction in cost-per-tonne expenses at the operation.

Manufactured in Australia by GET specialists Keech Castings, the Wearpact system has been fitted to selected underground buckets at Ridgeway by Newcastle-based process of improvement company Wear Applications & Management Services (WAMS).

This was done as part of a maintenance contract to lift bucket performance and reduce the mine’s cost-per-tonne ratio.

WAMS provides condition monitoring services including weekly inspection and measurement of every underground LHD bucket at Ridgeway. The collated data gives mine management detailed information on current performance as well as forecast maintenance targets and costs per period.

The analysis and predictions exposed the relatively low availability and high wear rates the mine was experiencing from the existing bucket edges.

“We knew we could offer Newcrest a better operational status for the buckets and started researching the available options,” said Gary Newman, WAMS’ general manager.

“That’s when the Wearpact system came into the picture. From our point of view it ticked all the boxes as far as what we wanted and what the mine needed.”

Cast from wear and impact resistant steel the Wearpact blades are fixed to the bucket with a unique wedge nut retaining device housed within the cast edge: a design feature which makes for a stronger blade/bucket combination and virtually eliminates teeth breaking off and being processed through downline crushers.

Designed to wear uniformly across the edge, the hammerless system also provides full base protection and a clean upper lip plane finish with no intrusive casting inside the bucket. System integrity is further enhanced by the wrap-style heavy-duty corners and edges.

"The project has given Keech some excellent research into the wear characteristics of underground mining GET," said WAMS' Gary Newman.

"Through their manufacturing flexibility they quickly developed and extended their Wearpact system to include a variation to the 'standard' - one which has applications at other sites."
Ten of Ridgeway’s 17 LHD buckets have been fitted with the edge system.

The results have been impressive - bucket edge life has been extended out to more than 600 hours before requiring change-out, tonnage moved per bucket has increased considerably and the cost-per-tonne has virtually halved.

“These are significant results that are delivering tangible savings and production benefits to Ridgeway,” said Newman.

For further information tel: +61 (0)2 9648 3100 or email: dkeech@bigpond.com
 
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