Tech Edge

The Tech Edge Group, which includes Winches and Winders, has used innovative design and strategic partnerships to strengthen its reputation as a leading manufacturer and supplier of winding solutions.

“Our ability to deliver a quality product tailored to customer requirements has most certainly kept our order books burgeoning through 2018,” says Tech Edge Group MD Bannister Erasmus.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 1, 2019 

“A coup for Tech Edge was the recent installation of Southern Africa’s first locally designed and manufactured mobile rope handling system at platinum developer Wesizwe’s Bakubung platinum mine near Rustenburg. After analysis by our trained engineering team we were able to design equipment to install head-and-tail ropes onto a four-rope, headgear mounted Koepe friction winder,” Erasmus comments.

Major projects

Recently, Tech Edge installed and commissioned a 1.5 m diameter 355 kW Single Drum Winder with double disc brakes.

Specific and sophisticated customer requirements were met, while at the same time all operational and safety parameters fully satisfied the 6 t end load and 760 m shaft depth.

The control systems and driver’s station were containerised for ease of handling, installation and protection.

Another project benefiting from Tech Edge expertise was TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mine’s Kipushi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the company was involved in winder upgrades and replacement.

Ivanhoe Mines recently completed the de-watering project at Kipushi.

The mine is mainly divided into two vertical shaft sections, P5 and the ‘Cascade Shafts System’. The P2 shaft is the first leg of the cascade system and links with sub-vertical shafts to the lower mine sections.

Tech Edge installed an ESCORT brake system on the P5 service winder as part of the overall winder upgrade, which will be commissioned during January 2019.

The company is also busy with in-house commissioning and Factory Acceptance Testing of the P2 shaft winder which is a complete winder replacement and forms part of Phase 1 of the Cascade Winder System upgrade project.

The scope includes a single drum winder complete with a Fultons generation G gearbox, hydraulic brake system with Svendborg brakes and containerised electrical controls.

Winches and Winders has also supplied, installed and commissioned a turnkey solution for a mine in East Asia.

The scope included a complete winder house and headgear as well as a 1.8 m diameter single drum service winder and 1 m diameter stage winders with full electrical control systems, all of which were fully compliant with stringent Australian mining standards.

All ropes and roping up equipment required for the service and stage winders and conveyances and shaft steelwork were included in the scope.

Erasmus says that while certain equipment was supplied by subcontractors in East Asia, Winches and Winders was the sole custodian for the supply, installation and commissioning of the full equipment for the shaft project.

Strategic collaboration

“We believe in strategic partnerships when specific challenges require it,” says Erasmus.

“Currently we are partnering with Siemens for the supply of mechanical components for the upgrade of a manganese cable belt conveyor at a mine in Hotazel. This collaboration enables us to replace a complete electro-mechanical system with modernised components and electronics,” he outlines.

The new mechanical components comprise of two independently powered drive wheels 3.5 m in diameter, hydraulic power pack, disc brakes, with a planetary gearbox and 785 kW motor driving each wheel.

The new control system consists of variable speed drives, MCC panels, drive transformers and a PLC.

The cable belt currently hoists rock up a 14.5˚incline, 1 675 m long, divided into two sections.

Both driving ropes are 45 mm in diameter, and with the upgraded system, will be able to run at a maximum speed of 3.3 m/s with a belt load of 84.2 kg/m. A peak rope pull of 40 t per rope will be achievable.

Tech Edge designed, manufactured and assembled:

  • 2 x 3.5 m diameter drive wheels;
  • Supporting bearings and pedestals;
  • Hydraulic power pack;
  • Main brake units;
  • High-speed brake units; and
  • 37 kW 1 m diameter Snatch Winch for pulling drive ropes for rope replacement and maintenance.

“Our engineering teams consider safety, cost-effectiveness and best engineering practice an essential ingredient of our project analysis. Our role is to make sure that all possible challenges are identified and overcome.

“That way, we will always design and manufacture winding solutions to the highest of standards, that are cost efficient and that meet the needs of our clients fully,” Erasmus concludes.

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