Elphinstone acquires the Beltor Mine Extraction Device (MED)

Elphinstone recently acquired the proven Beltor ‘Puller’ – an underground Mine Extraction Device (MED) designed to safely recover buried equipment.

While attending Austmine 2023, Dale Elphinstone was awarded the Champion of Innovation award, recognising his significant contribution to innovation in the METS sector.

The award celebrates an individual who has pioneered and championed innovation and has changed the course of the mining industry through their outstanding vision, inspirational leadership, passion for innovation and advancement of mining equipment, safety, technology and services.

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Elphinstone and WesTrac partnership drives fleet upgrades at CSA Mine Cobar

Operating up to 2km underground in one of Australia’s deepest copper mines makes for potentially tough working conditions. But Elphinstone’s partnership with WesTrac to provide state-of-the-art machinery to Glencore’s CSA Mine near Cobar meets the challenges with aplomb.

Access to modern, robust equipment that can withstand the harsh, hot underground environment and perform to high standards is front of mind for CSA Mine’s Mobile Mechanic Superintendent Peter Patton and his 88-strong team of trades and planning experts.

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Railmax RMT15F

End of an era – The last Railmax RMT15F is sold

The first Elphinstone Railmax rail maintenance excavator, the RMT14D was released in 2011. It transformed the rail maintenance industry allowing work to be performed safely under live powerlines and on live parallel tracks.

In 2017 the Railmax RMT15F was released, featuring significant control system upgrades to the previous RMT14D version, increasing the machine’s capability, safety and productivity.

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New WR810 front cab launched at UGOP2023 in Brisbane

Elphinstone recently released its new WR810 front-mounted cab at the 2023 Underground Operator’s Conference in Brisbane. The low-profile option increases the versatility of the company’s existing range of underground support applications.

All WR810 models can now be optioned with either a centre-mounted 3m high cabin or a low-profile front-mounted 2.4m high cabin, unveiled for the first time at the Underground Operators Conference in March.

Positioned at the entrance to the conference, the front cab was quick to draw the attention of onlookers as they made their way into the exhibition.

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Introducing the new Elphinstone W35 Water Tank Module

Built to perform in the harshest mining conditons

The Elphinstone W35 water tank module is designed to fit a Caterpillar 740C, 745C and 745 bare chassis in place of factory applications. The module incorporates a robust under body structure that plays a crucial role in ensuring the tank shell is properly supported. All Elphinstone design and manufacturing processes consider the actual working conditions of the mining applications the water truck will be operating in. Engineering analysis of the specific carrier chassis’ axle loadings throughout a range of grades ensure weight distribution is kept within the safe working limit specifications. Selection of the highest quality manufacturing materials and components ensure Elphinstone modules provide safety to the operator and longevity to both the module and the truck.

Unique features standard on all of our water tanks.

The W35 water tank module incorporates many unique features that are included in the standard specification on all water tanks designed and manufactured by Elphinstone. The tank structure has been engineered with specialised design features, including internal baffles to reduce water surge and improve machine stability. Top fill points are fitted with hinged trash screens to prevent debris from entering the tank. All Elphinstone water tanks feature braided wiring harnesses manufactured by Elphinstone and fitted with quality Deutsch connectors.

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Elphinstone WR820 maximises productivity

Elphinstone, the most successful name in Australian-produced underground mining equipment, has developed a range of heavy-duty hard rock support vehicles that continue the company’s well-known 45-year legacy.

Based in Burnie, Tasmania, Elphinstone is an industry-leader in the design, manufacture and support of quality equipment for the global underground, and surface mining industries.

The company specialises in underground support vehicles comprising graders, water cannons, water tanks, agitators, scissor lifts, delivery, and fuel and lube trucks, with more variants planned for future development.

The WR820 range of underground specialised support vehicles includes a 10m³ and 8m³ agitator, and a 16,000-litre water tank fitted with rear and side water sprays for dust suppression.

Headlining the range is the Elphinstone WR820 Agitator 10m³, specialising in the bulk transport of concrete to backfill voids, continuous pours and construction.

The agitator bowl has a guaranteed maximum capacity of 10m³, mixing wet or dry products with variable speed control.

The robust, heavy-duty design of the WR820 utilises high-tensile steel to reinforce the frame in high stress areas.

The frame includes belly guard access and front suspension A-frame, with Caterpillar nitrogen-charged suspension cylinders, providing controlled axle oscillation and vertical dampening.

Elphinstone Australasia regional sales and support manager Tim Waller told Australian Mining the WR820 platform shares its design origin with the Cat AD22 underground haul truck which features the Cat C11 engine and powertrain.

The engine and associated powertrain provide haulage speeds on grade equivalent to production equipment, resulting in increased productivity across the mining fleet.

“Ensuring haulage trucks are not held up by support equipment travelling in the mine is paramount to the productivity of the mine and safety of the operator,” Waller said.

The C11 engine is also found in several other Caterpillar products and applications.

Component commonality shared across many applications, provides the highest level of reliability and durability, as well as superior parts availability and product support worldwide through the Caterpillar Dealer Network.

“This allowed us to design and manufacture a range of larger underground support machines such as the WR820 10m³ Agitator, WR820 8m³ Agitator, WR820 Water Cannon and WR820 Water Tank,” Waller said.

Safety is one of the most important aspects of any piece of mining equipment, and the WR820 is engineered according to Australian and International Standards to ensure that it complies with all relevant safety requirements.

One of the most important safety features of the WR820 is the braking system.

The WR820 is fitted with heavy-duty service brakes and an integrated automatic engine retarder and exhaust braking system which provides confidence to the operator when hauling downhill into the mine.

Other safety features include fuel water separators made of non-flammable material, firewalls and heatshields, machine interlocks, centralised isolation points, and an optional integrated fire suppression system.

Handrails and steps are designed in accordance with safety regulations, and all handrails are painted green and positioned for three-point access to the cab and other areas of the machine.

Also integrated into the WR820 is a standard ROPS/FOPS (roll-over protective structure/falling object protective structure) in both open cab and the optional enclosed cab configuration.

“All machines are comprehensively tested at the Elphinstone test facility to ensure the machine is fully operational and all safety systems are functioning as designed,” Waller said.

Onboard machine diagnostics allow operators or technicians the ability to rapid fault-find, increasing the availability and productivity of the machine.

Operator comfort and ergonomics are also important to the productivity of the machine. To be able to operate at higher speeds the operator needs to feel safe, secure and comfortable.

“Combined with the front suspension and optional air-ride seat, the ergonomic, user-friendly intuitive controls, and excellent visibility provide unrivalled comfort for the operator,” Waller said.

Domestically, the WR820 Agitator 10m³ is a proven performer with greater than 15 machines operating on sites throughout Australasia.

Large mines and high-production requirements mean miners are seeking high-productivity solutions where a single machine can replace multiple machines in the same application. This reduces mine congestion, operating costs, and environmental impact.

With the world’s biggest mining companies pledging to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050, Elphinstone’s is seeing a growing trend towards battery electric vehicles (BEV).

Elphinstone sees a big future for battery-powered underground machines, but says the race is on to develop a sustainable BEV solution as technology develops at a rapid pace.

“Elphinstone are currently on the battery-electric vehicle journey, after receiving a Federal Government grant to develop BEV solutions on our current machine platforms,” Waller said.

Elphinstone has formed an experienced and capable BEV development team and foresees the design and testing of an Elphinstone BEV mining support vehicle prototype in early 2024.

This feature appeared in the May issue of Australian Mining.

Elphinstone UG20K Grader Ecuador IASA

Elphinstone secures first sale in Ecuador through IASA

Elphinstone has secured its first sale in Ecuador, delivering a feature-packed UG20K underground grader to a valued customer through local CAT dealer IASA. The UG20K makes hard work look easy – smoothing and maintaining your haul roads for increased productivity and reduced operational costs. Features include LED front and rear lighting, emergency control brake, automatic greasing system, multi-view camera, fire suppression, fast fill and more.

CSA Glencore purchase WR810 Water Cannon through WesTrac

Elphinstone is excited to deliver a WR810 Underground Water Cannon to Glencore CSA Mine through WesTrac Cat in New South Wales. It is the third WR810 Water Cannon sold within Australia, with five units delivered internationally, with both Tier 3 and Tier 4 final engine arrangements. The dual application reduces the need for multiple machines, reducing capital, operational and maintenance costs plus the amount of heat and emissions produced. The machine will be used by Glencore CSA Mine for dust suppression, ore recovery and removal of hang up.

Elphinstone BEV Project

Elphinstone Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) Project

Elphinstone Pty Ltd is pleased to announce the commencement of a project to develop a suite of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) for underground hard rock mining to address the increasing decarbonisation efforts and expectations of our global customer base. The project will require a significant research and development investment by the company in addition to the recently awarded Australian Federal Government Grant. Leveraging its existing portfolio of underground support vehicles, Elphinstone will develop the Battery Electric Vehicles in collaboration with our customers and supply chain partners and produce these in existing product development and manufacturing facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

The Battery Electric Underground Support Vehicle (BEV) project will build Australian sovereign capability and international export potential, encourage critical skills development required for the future growth of domestic manufacturing, and will ensure Australia remains a global market leader in Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS). The project scope will encompass an end-to-end research, design, development, testing, validation, manufacturing and market commercialisation of an industry leading battery electric powertrain integrated into two differing base platforms from the existing range of Elphinstone support vehicles.

Technology projects of this calibre provide growth in highly valued skill sets across the country and will continue to provide jobs in the future. Elphinstone expects the project will create 15 highly-skilled positions to complete the development of both machine prototypes. The positions will include: a highly experienced Project Manager with a mechanical or mechatronics engineering background, a lead design engineer and associate electrical designer and mechanical designer, a software development technician, a dedicated mechatronics engineer, a dedicated literature technician, and two product development technicians to oversee a crew of highly skilled auto-electricians and heavy machinery fitters.

Elphinstone envisage that the Battery Electric Vehicle project will also create further opportunities and growth in the state and local communities, something Elphinstone has proudly supported for many years.
Elphinstone is currently engaging with strategic partners who have indicated their interest in working closely with Elphinstone on this development project. The vision is to provide a Battery Electric Vehicle solution at the forefront of technology whilst maintaining a reputation for high quality, premium and reliable products which are well-positioned and recognised globally in the underground hard rock mining industry.

For more information or expressions of interest please direct your enquiries to BEV@elphinstone.com

50th Underground Motor Grader

Elphinstone is excited and proud to announce the sale of the 50th underground motor grader designed and manufactured at the company’s world-class facilities in Burnie, Tasmania.

In 2017 Elphinstone identified an opportunity to expand their growing range of underground support vehicles by introducing the UG20K and UG20M haul road maintenance machines based on the Caterpillar 120K and 120M surface grader platforms. 

Elphinstone graders are currently operating in Argentina, Canada, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Kazakstan, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tanzania and the USA.