Let’s torque about dragline PT


In the mining industry, draglines are a key piece of excavation equipment that have largely maintained the same design and functionality since they were first invented in 1904 by John W. Page, owner of Page Engineering Company.

Essentially a giant walking shovel– using large buckets, rigged wires, and a boom arm– draglines operate similarly to cranes in their ability to hoist large volumes of extracted materials from pit to pile.

Since their intended purpose has always remained relatively the same, there hasn’t been a lot of technological innovations for draglines that have emerged in the past 100 years– in fact, it’s not uncommon to see draglines that are decades old still in operation.

However, there has been advancements in the part and components used in the operation of draglines, particularly power transmission systems, according to Motion Australia’s Steve Hittmann.

“Draglines can be retrofitted with the latest driven part technology to improve their speed, efficiency, and performance in field,” remarked Hittmann. “But the most notable issue with draglines is the tremendous amount of power they require to operate them. And as most mine sites have fleets of draglines, these requirements can impact an operation’s bottom line significantly.

As national category manager for Mechanical Drive Systems and Mobile Final Drives, Hittmann’s expertise is vast and includes extensive knowledge of gearing, motors, couplings, brakes and clutches.

“Choosing the right power transmission components is more important than many mining operators may realise,” said Hittmann. “A good quality power transmission solution for a mining operation is one that can accommodate torque, sheer and compressive forces, vibrations, and high speeds. Ideally, it would also be failsafe, maintenance friendly, and reduce downtime on production.”

Recently, when a major coal mining operation in Queensland approached Motion Australia for a power transmission solution for their dragline fleet, they went out to the site to assess the application requirements and determine the best course of action.

“We met with the engineers who were responsible for maintaining their dragline fleet,” he explained.

“The site was after a solution to minimise maintenance on their fleet and improve operational efficiency. The existing gear couplings required regular lubrication and were expensive to change out, as the complete coupling assembly needed to be replaced when they reached their fatigue life.”

Motion Australia deferred to one of their partners in supplying engineered power transmission solutions– Australian Timken– to assist with providing a solution to the coal mining customer, with specific emphasis toward the Timken Quick-Flex® Coupling.

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