In the past 18 months, fastening systems innovator Segnut has tested its revolutionary threaded nut technology in harsh mining and construction environments to demonstrate its safety, risk mitigation and productivity benefits.
A world-first, the Segnut is unique in that it goes on like a standard nut – in terms of the thread engagement, and using standard tools and procedures – but it comes off differently because it has been engineered not to have to rely on the nut coming back along the bolt thread.
The Segnut has a patented inner section consisting of three segments held captive by an outer retaining sleeve. When the outer sleeve is turned a few degrees in the tightening direction, the Segnut releases from the bolt and falls away.
Boral trial brings reward
A trial carried out with Boral at its quarry operations in South Australia resulted in Boral winning the Health & Safety Innovation Award at the 2019 Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Australia (CCAA) Innovation Awards last August.
Boral had switched to using Segnuts after a series of lost-time injuries sustained by personnel while changing out cutting edges on front-end loader buckets on Caterpillar 946 diggers at the quarry.
The award cited Segnut as providing “an innovative solution to remove the necessity for the use of high risk nut removal equipment and techniques, such as a hydraulic nut splitter or oxy cutting”.
Segnut’s product development director Tom Baskovich says issues with gas-axing, where there are direct hazards to personnel as well as the risk of fire, have been well publicised.
“It is also well known that the use of impact wrenches and rattle guns can cause upper arm trauma and serious hand injuries, and hearing issues due to noise,” he explained. “Segnut is much safer because it eliminates these dangerous practices and uses standard tools to remove the nuts.”
Successful trial at Infrabuild
Another successful trial occurred at the Infrabuild steel recycling facility in Laverton, Victoria where extreme heat was present.
Segnuts were used to secure the water-filled insulating jacket on a furnace running at 1300oC, with the nuts themselves exposed to temperatures as high as 450oC.
The trial measured how the Segnut performed as a fastener in such extreme conditions. After eight weeks, tests showed that the nuts’ oxide coating remained intact and the structural integrity of the nut was not compromised.
Segnuts added to inventory list at Bell Bay
Segnuts will become a regular supply item for day-to-day operations at Rio Tinto’s Bell Bay Aluminium refinery in northern Tasmania, following a recent successful trial.
Segnuts were used to secure wear plates on the paste mixers as part of the carbon anode manufacturing process, operating at temperatures in excess of 250oC.
The securing bolts must be removed from the inside of the machine, making periodic removal of the plates difficult and time-consuming. It also required maintenance personnel to work in confined spaces and make use of high risk oxy-acetylene cutting.
The elimination of these dangerous practices in the refinery is a high safety priority for Bell Bay and Segnut provided a solution that achieved this while improving productivity by significantly shortening the change-out downtime.