Mobile mining equipment is critical to the productivity of any underground mining operation, but it also presents some unique operational challenges concerning the service life capacity of driveshaft components.
This is particularly true for underground mining operations where mobile equipment is subject to below-grade environmental conditions, where temperatures are extreme and dust, dirt, and humidity are unavoidable in the cavernous surroundings.
“Underground mining operations require driveshaft solutions that are robust to heavy conditions and capable of performing well for extended operating intervals,” says Glenn Hart, Category Manager for Power Transmission at Hardy Spicer.
“For example, underground mines in Western Australia often reach up to 50 degrees during the hotter months. As a result, standard OEM driveshaft assemblies last an average of eight to twelve weeks.”
“Adaptability of replacement parts is another concern for mobile equipment operators as OEM components typically have stringent manufacturing specs that can be difficult to source,” he furthers.
As a market leading manufacturer and supplier of heavy-duty driveshaft assemblies to the Australian mining sector, Hardy Spicer recognises that these challenges of underground mining must be addressed with the right technology.
Therein lies Hardy Spicer’s greatest strength, according to Glenn. The company has established themselves as a market leading supplier of OEM equivalent replacement components that are designed to extend the service life of heavy-duty mining equipment.
“We source our components from the same factory as OEMs and we assemble them here in Australia. This means we have the ability to offer mining customers the exact same product from the same factory as the OEM, with the same warranty – just at a lower price point,” he enthuses.
With over 14 service centres and workshops across the country, Glenn says that the team at Hardy Spicer are fully equipped to assemble driveshaft assemblies that are customised to suit the needs of every mine site.
“Because we get all of our parts off the shelf and our workshop is fully equipped with lathes, mills, welders, balances and spray booths, we welcome driveshaft customisations and specialize in custom builds to upgrade legacy assemblies,” he explains.
“We can also go a step further by utilising our in-house expertise and manufacturing capabilities to offer an upgraded version of the original driveshaft assembly – one that keeps all the dust and dirt at bay,” he furthers.
Without revealing too many trade secrets, Glenn summarises some of the possible driveshaft upgrades that Hardy Spicer offers.
“We upgrade the spines, the tubing, and the drive capacity by adding our own sealing solutions and universal joints. At same time, we make sure to keep the measuring flush with the original assembly, so it will still bolt in with the same flanges and wheelbase,” he says.
“Our upgrades outperform the original driveshaft assembly and have shown to last a lot longer in the field. So, where a standard driveshaft solution would have been lasting eight to twelve weeks underground prior, our upgraded version can double that service life.”
Glenn recently liaised with a mining customer operating out of Indonesia, who were only getting about 1,000 hours from the original American driveshafts on their crushers.
After approaching Hardy Spicer for a solution, the team upgraded the assembly with a German driveshaft which resulted in an increase in the average service life by up to 5,000 hours.
“This is just one example of what we can do, but we encounter these kinds of situations all the time with our mining customers,” concludes Glenn. “Every mine site has its own unique little quirks. Conditions vary from harsh to severe, and we enjoy the challenge of determining the right custom solution that will work for every mining application.”