Heavy-duty high-tech equipment wake-up call

In response to your online news article featuring the new report on rehab statistics for lower back complaints in the extractive industry, I’d like to take this opportunity to make your readers aware that for the past 15 to 20 years, the higher end innovators of bulk materials handling equipment like Kinder & Co have been aware of the need to improve workplace and worker OHS issues.As suppliers to several industry types, including timber, salt, sugar and grain, we offer many lightweight equipment alternatives to lessen the potential of lower back pain for maintenance crews.

Kinder & Co’s K-Polymer conveyor rollers and K-Redi-Liner range are all engineered utilising modern composite polymer technology as a modern substitute to the much heavier steel constructed equivalents.

Regretfully, one of the key reasons for the slow uptake of some of these OHS friendly equipment solutions is that management overlooks the cost of OHS compliance. Instead they can be too driven by daily production targets at the expense of injuries to their human resources. What isn’t considered, and what the Konekt Market Report Volume 2 reveals, is that short-term back pain can lead to more enduring and serious physically debilitating conditions.

{{image2-a:r-w:350}}The situation then needs further financial investment to cover, with higher salary costs of replacement contract workers. The bottom line message to management is quite clear – that, to quote the article, “indirect costs associated with lower back pain [are estimated] to be $8.15 billion due to loss of earnings and productivity, with small and medium employers said to be paying higher rehabilitation costs”.

So while a product buying decision may have looked almost like a good value “quick and dirty” procurement-based solution, it really doesn’t make good strategic business sense at the end of the very long and tiring heavy-duty day.

In our experience at Kinder & Co, mining operations have been quicker to accept the OHS business reality check, whereas quarries are slower to grasp this. Yet in comparison, quarries are less likely to have the on-site expertise to deal with any form of personal injury matter, and do not have clear processes where a worker can properly seek immediate medical advice. So what might have been a small temporary injury goes unreported and will actually snowball into a bigger and more permanently incapacitating skeletal condition.

So the reason I’m writing to Quarry is to urge small to medium sized quarries to embrace new technology products and ways of doing work differently, and to make buying decisions based on broader ROI benefits other than achieving continuous production. Where other industries are embracing high performance polymers and composite materials, for some reason the quarrying and extractive industry needs to change its conservative mindset and start to understand that modern equipment is not just for the “big end” of town, but instead the independent quarry owners are the ones who would really have the most to gain from the new technology attributes.

Neil Kinder
Chief Executive Officer, Kinder & Co


Do you have issues with your primary grizzly feeder slowing down the production rate? Or allowing oversize onto the conveyor below, creating belt damage and bridging conveyor chutes and secondary crusher feed openings? There may be a cost-effective and efficient alternative to your problems.

{{image3-a:r-w:250}}One of the biggest problems with the crushing circuit at the quarry I manage has just been remediated. The old fingered grizzly feeder layout has just been modified to a punchplate design (see Figure 1), to stop oversize rock from being transferred to the secondary crushing circuit. This design allows cubical sized stone and fines to fall through the holes in the grizzly punchplate prior to the primary crusher. The slabby and oversize rock travels across the screen apertures and into the jaw crusher for further reduction.

I have had many costly issues with oversize rock either bridging the conveyor chutes, conveyor exchanges or the secondary crushers themselves. This problem not only exacerbates the costs of maintenance, it also reflects badly on production outcomes.

Another problem with the finger-type arrangement is the slabby rock gets stuck between the fingers on the grizzly and reduces the ability of the feeder to operate at its optimum, therefore reducing production rates.
This remedial method is not new to me, as I have designed and implemented these changes to the last three operations that I have managed. All have shown significant all-round improvements. This system has been endorsed and engineered by the OEM Terex/Jaques, which has been open-minded in its support of these modifications.

Bob Ware
Manager, Shepton Quarry
Central Highlands Regional Council
Emerald, Queensland

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