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Chute maintenance improves reliability

Image of workers conducting an inspection of a transfer chute at a coal mine

An inspection of a transfer chute at a coal mine

23rd February 2024

     

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Channeling the flow of mined material is a demanding application that leads to considerable wear on the components in a transfer point, requiring constant monitoring and attention.

Weba Chute Systems says its custom engineered chutes are scientifically designed and simulated prior to manufacturing to give customers optimal uptime and that it also offers solutions to  facilitate better maintenance.

“To make their work efficient, and to quickly provide the customer with relevant information, we developed our own chute inspection app for our technicians,” says Weba Chute Systems ISO systems manager Izak Potgieter. “This allows them to capture the necessary data and photographs from their inspection, to generate an automated report to guide the customer in their decisions.”

The company also has a reliability model which tracks the duty and condition of each chute over time, and which can inform a predictive maintenance programme.

“Using these models, we can help customers to predict – weeks, months and even years in advance – which aspects of the chute will need maintenance,” he says. “This allows the necessary planning to be done, so that unexpected failures do not occur.”

Weba Chute Systems client services manager Faizel Mahomed explains that mining conditions at customers’ operations can be expected to change over time. More abrasive ore, for example, or larger lump sizes, may result in faster wear on certain components.

“Sometimes increased wear is unavoidable, and we develop innovations that meet these demands – such as our collaboration with a foundry partner to develop liners with 600 Brunel hardness for longer life,” he notes.

Among the faster wearing items on a chute is the lip, and to save time Weba Chute Systems has developed a quick-release lip for ease of replacement. He also points to the company’s innovation of a liner that can be replaced from the outside of the chute. This makes it safer and more efficient for the technician, who does not need to enter the chute.

Chutes are often mission-critical for a mine, emphasises Potgieter, and in these cases the customer can take advantage of Weba Chute Systems’ maintenance contracts. These arrangements put a dedicated team on site to monitor and report on equipment condition, and to coordinate the necessary maintenance with the mine’s responsible officials.  

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