Tech Edge was commissioned to build it by Wesizwe Platinum for its Bakubung project, currently under development on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex, writes Chantelle Kotze.
The project was successfully completed to customer specification in February 2017 and executed by Tech Edge Group division Winches and Winders, with consulting engineering company WorleyParsons RSA as the client’s EPCM contractor.
Expected to carry-out the roping up of the winders in June 2017, the rope handling system was developed at the request of Wesizwe Platinum to enable it to service more than one winder in three different applications.
The company has installed 6 000 winches and winders to date
The system will therefore be used to rope up the ground mounted four-rope Koepe friction winder as well as the double-drum man-material winder and the single-drum service winder at the Bakubung operation.
Speaking at the unveiling of the rope handling equipment at the company’s Kempton Park-based facility, Tech Edge Group MD Bannister Erasmus noted that the design began in 2014 with the development of an initial test rig to verify and test the friction factor between an aluminium lined winder drum and a lubricated steel winder rope.
How it works
The two 1.5 m diameter, four-rope friction winder drums are mounted on a custom-built trailer and are driven by two 200 kW motors connected via a common pinion shaft arrangement which drives the two girth gears, one situated on each of the drums.
The ropes are fed from their respective reels to the mobile friction winder by means of four rope reelers, with the friction winch then increasing the tension in the four ropes from 10 kN to 200 kN.
This is achieved by inducing and dynamically adjusting the counter torque on the rope reelers to ensure the correct input tension and ultimately ensuring the correct output tension, commonly known as the T1/T2 tension ratios.
The system is operated from a driver’s pedestal fitted with a human machine interface (HMI) panel and driver’s controls. The containerised control system allows for different modes of operation including tension, maintenance and forward/reverse mode.
Messenger winches are used during pre-rope-up to pull the Koepe winder ropes through sheave wheels situated in the headgear, thus effectively priming the system with rope before commencing the roping up procedure.
Mobile rescue winders
In addition to the manufacture of a range of winches, winders and hoisting equipment, Tech Edge Group was contracted by South Africa’s voluntary mine rescue organisation Mines Rescue Services to develop two types of mobile rescue winders – namely the deep level winder and ultra-deep level winder.
Speaking to Mining Review Africa Tech Edge Group executive chairman Russell Moore explained that the mobile winders are able to rescue people from existing or newly drilled shafts at different depths.
The more commonly used deep-level mobile winder, for colliery applications, has a 1 200 m rescue depth and features a single-person conveyance capsule with dual communication, built in load cell and carbon dioxide and methane sensors.
Meanwhile, the less frequently used ultra-deep-level mobile winder, which also features dual communication capabilities, built in load cell and carbon dioxide and methane sensors, can convey five people to/from a depth of 3 000 m.
“Not only adept at performing rescue operations, the mobile winders can also be used in various other client-dependant mining applications including pre-sink operations, shaft inspections or the hoisting of equipment out of shafts,” Moore noted.
Winches and Winders has manufactured winders up to 4.2 m in diameter, with installed power of up to 1 500 kW per winder for use in the South African mining industry for 90 years
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Feature image credit: Tech Edge