Since 2007 parent company Delcon Engineering was instrumental in developing and pursuing the concept of a mechanised solution for underground spillage loading and general mine clean-up jobs. No vehicle existed that could improve production in areas where great yields were present other than to make use of slow manual labour. Delcon pioneered the first successful implementation of an articulated compact wheeled loader to accomplish these tasks as it required a radical departure form known skid steer concepts that failed in this application for many reasons but primary because of skidding over rails and prohibitive weight restrictions which caused the loaders to get stuck in muddy terrain.
The gold mining sector of South Africa together with Delcon experimented over the last 7 years with finding and tailor making the ideal vehicle for this challenging environment but after failed attempts with alternatives decided to actively pursue the development of the ideal mining loader for small clean-up jobs, general maintenance and spillage loading. MultiOne SA together with Sibanye Gold Engineers and staff collectively contributed to substantial mechanical alterations to the existing new range of 6-7 Series loaders which already boasted impressive performance specifications as a base to work from. These compact mini loaders had the following standard characteristics which made them ideal candidates for this job:
- Articulated chassis allowing the loader to move over obstacles underground such as very uneven terrain and rail tracks.
- Small robust Yanmar power plants ideally suited to deliver best torque ranges yet remains extremely economical in terms of diesel consumption whilst emissions standards are being met.
- Piston type wheel motors fitted instead of the traditional orbital motors used by similar hydrostat alternatives delivering massive torque improvements and warranting virtual maintenance free operation of the drivetrain. The big improvement and gains in pushing force also eliminated boom failures caused by “rhino charging” similar loaders to penetrate hard and solid loads.
- Telescopic booms ensure that the operator can easily deliver the payload in the hoppers without having to move around too much and lifting too high causing damage to the service installations underground.
- Anti-slip valves, hydraulic diff locks and permanent 4-wheel drive traction ensures the loader is capable of operating in any circumstances and on any terrain.
- Simplified controls, electronics and minimal hydraulics are used to prevent unnecessary maintenance issues in the harsh underground environment
- Special paint is applied to prevent rust and decay in the extremely corrosive and wet underground environment.
- Making use of Domex Swedish steel in the loader construction ensures best tensile strength whilst maintaining a very light chassis and undercarriage.
- A double H-Frame boom gives better weight distribution and loading capacity and durability than any single boom variants.
- Polyurethane filled 18 ply reinforced tyres comes as standard equipment to prevent any downtime for punctures caused. Rims are reinforced to 12mm mild steel to prevent deformation.
- A fail safe DMR spec braking system forms standard equipment in all UG loaders.
- A protective steel barrier and bumper design wraps around the loader to prevent damage from accidental rear and side end bashes in sidewalls and other underground vehicles.
- High density poly propylene covers are used to protect the mechanics of the loader to prevent rust. An added benefit is the fact that substantial weight is shedded by removing steel covers from non-essential areas of the loader. The action part of the loader is protected by special treated steel components.
- A detachable ROPS and FOPS canopy makes for easy transportation in elevator cages as well as ensuring the safety of operators underground once it is refitted and clipped back in place.
- Integrated tool boxes for simplified operator maintenance and checks, LED lights front and rear as well as fire protection and reflective taping are standard safety and mining spec additions to all underground loaders.
- Dimensions of the loader are detailed in the graph below.
Below a few images of the development and final product highlighting the above characteristics:
For conventional gold and platinum producers the MultiOne Mining loader is the ideal and most cost effective solution to perform cross cut revamping, spillage loading, mud rush clean-ups, shaft bottom maintenance, clean ups under box holes and material transportation in day to day operations. The yield and quality grade of minerals so recovered contributes by significant margins to production and capitalisation models of these mining loaders are extremely uncomplicated and transparent.
Proper operator training ensures that targets and hopper calls are easily met, making the MultiOne mining loader an indispensable must have for mining operations. MultiOne SA offers extensive maintenance plans with the purchase of these loaders as well as free operator training and certification, assistance with all safety file and risk assessments and the formal technical training of all mining personnel wishing to maintain the loaders themselves.
See below YouTube clip of the machine in action loading spilage in a confined space:
We wish to acknowledge and thank the staff and management of Sibanye Gold for the assistance and consent to acquire and publish the footage herein.
By time of this going to press MultiOne SA can confirm that the second-generation mining loaders are at present being developed in Italy by the OEM in conjunction with MultiOne SA which will not only revolutionise the underground mining loader concept but will bring even greater flexibility and solutions to the mining industry than ever before.
At present, we can confirm that a radical departure is required to ensure sustainability and overcome maintenance obstacles and in this regard the second generation will without doubt herald a new era for the utilisation of compact articulated loaders in mining operations
Regularly visit our news page for updates on this exiting project.