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New chute to improve Ulan Coal Surface productivity

New chute to improve Ulan Coal Surface productivity

(Posted on 11/10/21)

New coal and ore handling technologies designed to overcome production-limiting factors at mines and bulk handling terminals throughout Australia are proving their worth in service.

The technology packages by locally and internationally experienced coal and minerals handling specialists, Chute Technology, are designed to eliminate potential bottlenecks, OH&S issues and weak links in the production chain that can increase downtime and reduce output.

Typical issues include bin surging, bulk cleaning, spillages, blockages and reduced throughput rates, resulting in inefficient production. One far-sighted operation that saw the potential in new technologies was the 24/7 Ulan Surface Operations in the western coalfields of NSW, which employs more than 900 people across its open cut and underground mines.

“Chute Technology designed a customised chute that is eliminating potential downtime for this section of the bypass system,” said Mr Dennis Pomfret, Managing Director, Chute Technology.

The new chute has dramatically reduced downtime since commissioning. By contrast the legacy arrangements were a source of multiple hours of lost production.

“The new chute allows Ulan Surface Operations to operate with a full feed rate of 2,000 tonnes per hour without any stoppages or blockages, so they can maximise their productivity and our profitability,” said Mr Pomfret.

Spillage, as shown in the example above, is a common problem that plagues mine sites across Australia and internationally. Ulan Surface Operations’ new chute has totally eliminated any spillage, which has helped productivity and uptime.

Chute Technology combines its decades of Australian and international practical engineering experience with advanced expertise in new flow enhancement and problem-solving technologies to produce modern answers to minerals and materials handling problems. The company provides audits and solutions extending from single issues at individual plants through to whole-of-process improvements extending from mines to port or point of resource use.

Mr Pomfret said that Ulan Surface Operations was looking to the future by investing in a solution designed to maximise productivity and eliminate unwanted downtime.

“We’re delighted that we could make Ulan Surface Operations’ bypass vision come to life, and it’s rewarding to see it working out in service. Ulan Surface Operations is always looking to employ modern solutions that avoid problems in the first place, rather than cleaning up a mess after it occurs,” he said.

Chute Technology performed an audit of current operations to gain a holistic view of current operations, before recommending the ideal solution. The engineering audit determined that functionality of one known trouble spot, the bypass hopper and vibratory feeder, could be taken out of service and replaced with a simpler transfer chute with an in-built surge capacity.

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