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New thinking highlights full spectrum wear solutions

There are many very human and reasonable responses to being presented with new alternatives, particularly in wear solutions in surface mining, road construction and other heavy industries: “Not sure it’ll work for us”; “already have a routine we’re used to”; and, of course, “too expensive”.

In the spirit of Einstein’s famous dictum – “Problems cannot be solved on the same level of thinking on which they were created” – Kennametal, a specialist in providing innovative wear-resistant products and application engineering, is providing proprietary, high performance custom wear solutions for Australia and the south Asian region. The company recently opened a new facility in Yatala, near Brisbane.


Global demand for minerals, commodities and other mined products continues to grow, and Australia and the south Asian region will play a significant role.

Of course, mining is a major industrial activity in Australia, contributing about 5.6 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product, up from only 2.6 per cent in 1950. Mineral exports contribute about 35 per cent of Australia’s exports and have grown substantially over the past few decades (see Figure 1).

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal (35 per cent of international trade), iron ore, lead, diamonds, zinc and zirconium, the second-largest of gold and uranium and the third-largest of aluminium.


Its leading position in coal and minerals mining has evolved along with progressive concern for miner wellbeing and First World safety regulations.

The importance placed on mining research by successive Australian governments and businesses has meant the mining sector remains committed to technological advancement. For example, a large proportion of mines worldwide make use of Australian-developed computer software, such as specialised geological database and resource estimation modelling programs.

Mines in Australia are leading the market globally, deploying mine production data management software that displays real-time production data from multiple source systems on dashboards, and includes comprehensive dynamic analysis and reporting, driving process and cost efficiencies at the shift level.

Investigating and monitoring advanced performance in wear components has a direct effect on improving mining production.

Such extreme jobs – quarrying, mining, earth moving, road building – chew up wear components regularly, extending downtime and adding significant costs to doing business. Kennametal’s Yatala plant is producing the Tricon family of products, including Dura-Plus, the next generation of abrasion-resistant alloy steel.


“Every mine, mill, quarry and plant has unique requirements that do not work for a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” said George Boxsell, Kennametal’s manager at the Yatala facility. “Providing a finished solution, as opposed to either plate or installation fabrication services alone, takes a number of capabilities – in-house expertise and significant materials science experience for a custom turnkey solution that often starts with taking a different perspective on things.”

Take weight reduction, for example. “Weight reduction can be a critical factor in not only reducing direct and indirect costs, but increasing a company’s overall sustainability profile,” Boxsell said. “In heavy equipment transportation, excess weight costs money – tyres need replacing more often, more fuel is consumed and roads degrade significantly faster. A thinner plate that lasts longer is not only excellent for truck bed liners in haul trucks, but also shovels, chute liners and other wear components.”

A thinner, more wear-resistant plate was the goal during development of Kennametal’s TriBraze DuraPlus. Balanced alloy chemistry and processing achieves full hardness, exceeding 470BHN (Brinell hardness number) on average throughout the plate, eliminating the “soft middle” found in conventional wear-resistant materials.

Extremely low residuals content and fine grain structure yield superior impact resistance, while also providing excellent welding under field conditions.

“This is proprietary alloy steel chemistry that combines hardness, toughness, formability and weldability unachievable in any other material,” Boxsell said.

Mining experience from around the world is proving the point.

A company mining molybdenum in the western United States was investigating the use of TriBraze DuraPlus for dump truck liners.

Experience had shown the AR500 through-hardened steel plate from the truck OEM was lasting about 3000 hours and the bed liner weighed about 11 tonnes. The equivalent TriBraze DuraPlus liner weighed nine tonnes, a reduction of 2.5 tonnes, while results of hardness and impact-resistance tests are extrapolating a service life of 10,000 hours – a more than 300 per cent improvement. Fuel consumption improvement is an added bonus.

DuraPlus is available in thicknesses up to 20mm, widths up to 3m and lengths up to 7.3m for such high impact applications as hoppers, crushers, feeders, transfer chutes, shovels, dozers, truck beds, buckets and discharge sites in surface mining.

Answers for miners in Kennametal’s Tricon line-up include TriBraze, through-hardened alloy steel for the toughest abrasion and impact applications, Super C, a chromium carbide overlay wear-resistant plate with a mild steel base for weldability, Super X induction-hardened pins developed specifically for extreme heat and wear situations, and Prime Arc welding consumables for efficient field welding and hard surfacing.


In addition, the fully operational 2000m2 Kennametal facility in Yatala offers related services for customers such as CAD design, plasma arc and flame cutting, welding and other fabrication services, including press brake forming, drilling, plate rolling and painting.

“This new facility is an outstanding combination of best-in-class wear materials and the application, design and fabrication expertise to get products to customers under critical deadlines,” Boxsell said.

“Then you add different thinking when it comes to such issues as drop management. Many customers buy raw plate thinking they can save money, but there are no standard jobs. All of them require managing the drops/offcuts for the custom jobs they are doing.

“Then it becomes likely they are scrapping most of the offcuts or using high-cost AR plate for places where they could use cheaper steels.

“Kennametal Tricon only charges for the plate we use, meaning we manage all offcuts internally. Customers increase their uptime, maximise their productivity and supply more product to their customers.” 


Source: Kennametal Inc

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