Monorails Saving Mines Big Dollars
A revolutionary monorail mounted longwall pump station developed by Australia's INORAiL in conjunction with Scharf Germany is set for international release.
Representing a 3.5% capital cost saving on a pump and trolleys set up commonly used in Australia, the first such unit is due to be delivered to Caterpillar in June 2017 for installation on Yancoal's Moolarben coal mine.
INORAiL Managing Director, Tim Leeson, said that the monorail pump station has a unique cornering ability.
"This means that a mine can keep running the pump station even at the end of the longwall where they are pulling the monorail off the system."
"They can dismantle the monorail behind the pump station and eventually even pull the pump station out through the cut-through and into the travelling road while it is still running."
"It means in reality they can relocate their entire monorail system without taking it apart, compared to the time and labour consuming current practice of taking units apart in 10m sections, moving them to the new longwall and putting them back together again."
The monorail mounted pump station represents the cheapest combination of a pump station and transport system, yet it is a German-built, high quality product.
"The high quality Scharf wagons are remarkably cost effective. We couldn' t make them here for the money we buy them for," Tim said.
The concept of effectively using predesigned, pre-manufactured rolling stock is unique in Australia.
Traditionally local manufacturers have designed an ad hoc system of trolleys and spreader bars with cross beams and shackles to pick up the load and only transport it in a straight line.
The INORAiL-Scharf design is a rectangular frame already mounted on a trolley system and designed to go around relatively sharp corners.
The concept had its genesis when INORAiL was invited to tender for the monorail and pump stat ion for the Moolarben mine and sought ways to combine the two tenders into one project.
Scharf, which produces monorails up to 50 tonnes capacity, are specialists in providing equipment for moving things in mines, but not in providing a system that is part of the coal cutting process.
"We came up with a combination of our own design and utilised their materials handling expertise."