HANDLING BULLDOZER CUTTING EDGES DURING MAINTENANCE
SAFETY AND PRODUCTIVITY ISSUES SOLVED FOR AUSTRALIAN MINING COMPANY BY POSILIFT AND ARMTEC EQUIPMENT
PROBLEM: As part of their ongoing Health, Safety and Productivity improvement program, an Australian Mining company looked for solutions to improve working conditions and improve productivity when servicing the Cutting Edges -Ground Engagement Tools on their Bulldozers.
The company had safety issues and cost issues with their existing process. They were seeking a better and safer solution and one that would enable a faster operation.
There can be up to Six (6) Cutting Edges or Ground Engagement Tools on each Bulldozer. They can be varying sizes and weights and weighing up to 210kg each. Each blade needs to be held while being unbolted for removal and both held and the holes aligned for bolting when replaced. If both ends are worn they need to be moved to a pallet and replaced with a new Cutting Edge from another pallet. If only one side is worn they need to be rotated 180 degrees before replacing. In all cases they need to be held securely for inspection.
ANALYSIS: For this operation the movements required for the tasks were partial inclination when removing or fitting the cutting edges to the sloping blade. 90 degree inclination when placing the cutting edges on a pallet or when picking from a pallet. 180 degrees to turn those blades which were worn out on one side only.
For safety, the cutting edge must be held securely with no swing at any stage of the process. It must also allow precise positioning when lining up the holes for bolting when the cutting edge is replaced on the dozer.
The working area was 8 metres and the equipment also had to meet and comply with all the stringent Health and Safety features of a mine site.
As the use was in an Iron-Ore mining environment, any type of magnet was not permitted.
SOLUTION: For this application, Posilift recommended an Armtec solution consisting of a rigid arm pneumatic manipulator with a gripping tool specifically designed to achieve the movements required and to grip the various sized cutting blades.
rmtec designed the gripping tool with expanding mandrels to grip the cutting edge through its bolt holes. These grippers hold the product safe and secure. The mandrels were made moveable so they can be positioned to suit the hole spacing for the different length cutting edges. The tooling has 180 degree manual rotation using a steering wheel. It has 90 degree pneumatic inclination for fitting the cutting edges onto or off the dozer blade or for placing them onto a pallet or lifting them off a pallet. It has brakes on all axis of the manipulator and tooling to hold it stationary in any position for inspection or cleaning.
For ease of use over the 8 metre work area, a manipulator with a 3 metre reach was placed on a one (1) metre off-set column.
All Armtec equipment comes with safety features which prevents the release of loads if there is a loss of air supply and even if the operator gives the wrong command.
RESULT: The Mining Company was very happy with the solution. The task was made easier and safer for the operator. It increased productivity and saved costs by turning a two man task into a one man task. It also freed up the previously used overhead gantry and forklift with driver for other tasks. By making the task easier and quicker it also reduced the maintenance turn-around time on bulldozers.
For More Information Contact
Posilift Australia / Dalmec Australia
02 9415 1914