• More servicing, means less downtime in Mining - F-Series Retracta
More servicing, means less downtime in Mining - F-Series Retracta

More servicing, means less downtime in Mining - F-Series Retracta

Mining in Australia and around the world is quite diverse in the methods that are employed to extract the specific target mineral, but one thing seems to be pretty universal; for the enterprise to extract that mineral the earth first needs to excavated. Whether this is in the form of overburden that simply needs to be removed temporarily to give access to a coal seam (technically an organic rock, not a mineral – but let’s not get pedantic just yet) or it is to process the earth itself to extract the targeted mineral, what is needed is big, expensive machinery.

One of the key challenges for mine site Efficiency Managers is to keep these massive and very expensive machines operating for the maximum amount of time. Downtime for any reason is dollars lost and minimising downtime is paramount. However, one form of downtime is unavoidable. This is the downtime required to maintain the condition of these huge assets.
Repair and maintenance scheduling is becoming a fine art these days but in order for the scheduler to do his or her work they must be confident that the fitters and mechanics can do their jobs efficiently. It then comes down to the quality of the equipment at the disposal of the maintenance professionals to get the job done.

It goes without saying that mining is hard on gear. Not just on the gear being used right at the proverbial – or actual – coal face but also on the gear that works ’on the gear’. For anything to last it must be designed with the arduous nature of mining life in mind.

The Retracta F-Series Heavy Duty Metal reel range by Macnaught has evolved from a base of lube service vehicle marketed metal hose reels, to now developing a strong footprint in the mining sector. In the context of mining machine maintenance, Mobile lube service in mining applications presents some very specific challenges for any piece of equipment not least the hose reel. Charged with carrying, dispensing and disposing of all of the fluids that a modern mining vehicle requires to stay productive; the lube service vehicle is relied upon to be available in the forefront of where the action is. This means being out in the dust and grind traversing the haul roads, in almost any weather and arrive ready to meet its brief.

Dust, vibration and relentless use are just some of the design inputs Macnaught Engineers entered when designing the first Retracta F-Series metal reels. Sealed bearings to prevent the ingress of abrasive and corrosive dusts, solid fabricated steel sections for strength and rigidity. The reels needed to withstand the rigours of these mobile applications but needed also to meet other, just as important, basics. Real estate is premium on these mobile service vehicles so with spacing in mind, the designers created compact versions of reels with essentials like spring tension, hose capacity and serviceability not being sacrificed.One of the key innovations of the original Retracta F-Series reels was the incorporation of a metering device directly into the hose reel. This world first element dispensed with the need to plumb and wire in external meters and registers in order that fluid transfer measurement be facilitated. It meant that the reel itself contained all the hardware necessary to not only dispense the required fluid in a safe and dependable way but it also to capture and display the volume and flowrate of the fluid. This was a gamechanger not just in terms of the consolidation of equipment, making the install simpler or the significant economic savings of not requiring additional labour at set-up but it also at the key point of operator interface. Reel, meter and register sized in harmony, fitted in factory and calibrated to operate seamlessly makes for more accurate, more reliable fluid measurement and management.

This technology, pioneered by Macnaught, to incorporate their fluid measurement technology with a heavy duty, mine quality hose reel for these mobile applications has now become common place on a larger scale in the main workshop areas of some of the largest mine sites in Australia and around the world. The Retracta F-Series hose reel brand now boasts models from ⅜” diameter up to 1 ½” in spring rewind. High pressure grease, compressed air, oils, etc are the mainstay of the vehicle workshop range. These are augmented by dedicated water reels specifically designed for water truck and spray applications as well as dedicated diesel fuel reels capable of delivering the high flow rates required.

As hose diameter and length requirements increase, the need for larger reels with power rewind options become a necessity. Retracta F-series can be supplied in almost any configuration depending on the application. Powered reels driven by pneumatic, hydraulic or electric motors are available and all reels are configurable with Macnaught’s metering technology incorporated. This allows not just for simplicity of installation and economic savings but also it allows for design freedoms. Macnaught can supply stand-alone metered reels or reels that incorporate outputs that can be tapped into and connected to centralised fluid management software.

Finally, material construction is not limited to common mild steel powder coated for protection. More corrosive environments can require Stainless Steel construction and the Retract F-Series reels can be produced in either 304 or 316 grade stainless steel.Given the genesis of the Retracta F-series in mobile mining applications it is no wonder that the brand has developed a solid following for robust and reliable performance. Continuously looking to build on the original foundations, new models continue to be produced using the same DNA and that is set to continue. New models under development will continue to meet the needs of the industry and innovations that come with them will also continue to have positive impact on not just the operators but the owners, installers and Efficiency Managers.