Posted on February 10, 2017 in News

In 2011 SOTO Consulting Engineers set out to use their 20 years of experience in mechanical engineering and heavy industry, to improve safety in the underground mine environment. Working closely with the mining industry, underground towing was identified as an area where significant safety improvements could be delivered through a better engineered shuttle car towing system.
Weighing between 8 and 30 tonnes each, shuttle cars are the work horses of the underground mining system, transferring coal from the development face to transport conveyors. Shuttle cars need to be towed to the coal face and previous systems did not provide the stability or rigidity to deliver the ease of manoeuvrability required to allow one man operation.
Based on these limitations, and insights from industry, the SOTO Tow Hitch was born. The full articulation QDS Type Tow Hitch features pinned and rotational elements to maximise articulation while maintain a solid link between the towing vehicle and load. The rigid connection increases control and minimises risk of an accident caused by uncontrolled movement while allowing a single operator to shunt, tow and recover loads.

SOTO Tow Hitch used in underground mining

This SOTO Tow Hitch has been performing in some of the most severe underground coal mining conditions in Australia. The unit in the photo is one of the earliest in service and is undergoing a minor overhaul before being put back to work.

Today, many NSW and Queensland coal operators are using a SOTO Tow Hitch daily. The units are proven to be up to the daily rigours of mining operations, and versatile aids which deliver safer and more efficient operation than other hauling methods when towing heavy underground equipment.
Since the introduction of the units almost six years ago, SOTO has continued to upgrade the appliance making it even safer when attaching to equipment and in transport when not towing. The latest version of the Tow Hitch is shown in the photos below. This safer Tow Hitch design has removed much of the risk involved in towing equipment in coal mines and improving the method of operation for underground workers.

Late model SOTO Tow Hitch

SOTO having continually improved the Tow Hitch since its release, with this upgraded model further improving safety when attaching and when in transport.

Click on the image below to view video of the SOTO Tow Hitch in use towing a shuttle car and here for the full specifications.

To enquire about a Tow Hitch for your operation, call SOTO Consulting Engineers on (02)4298-8888.