As an organisation that looks to the future, SOTO Consulting Engineers have committed to evolving the reputation of mining as a hazardous industry by upgrading mine operations to a new level of safety and efficiency. SOTO’s newly innovated Safe Wheel Installation Fitting Transport Appliance (SWIFTA) has been developed in consultation with coal mine operators to facilitate safer, easily controlled and reliable handling of the pneumatic and solid tyre wheels currently used on mobile equipment within underground mines.
The SWIFTA was designed and manufactured specifically to reduce the risks to personnel involved in the manual handling of large heavy solid-filled tyres during fitting and removal from underground mining equipment such as shuttle cars or load haul dumpers. Conditions such as limited room, poor visibility and shared working space with heavy mobile equipment such as load haul dumpers (LHD) also incur potential hazards for mine operators. These risks are substantially minimised by the SWIFTA’s safety-enhancing functionality.
With most solid wheel and tyre combinations weighing up to one thousand kilograms, common methods of manual solid wheel handling and fitting do not adequately meet safety requirements. SOTO’s new apparatus revolutionises the wheel fitting process for underground mining, and most importantly, for the safety of mine operators themselves.
Operating in combination with conventional mine LHD vehicles, with ease of attachment via the QDS (Quick Detach System), the SWIFTA readily interfaces with the LHD auxiliary hydraulic system. Operators are allowed excellent control and have a direct line of sight of the wheel as the functions used to handle a solid-filled tyre and wheel are manipulated by hydraulic control valves mounted on the operator’s console on the side of the SWIFTA. The unit is designed to engage the wheel so that it can be held in position while wheel nuts are removed or installed with six directional movements available, plus wheel rotation in each direction. This enables fitting a wheel onto or removing it from a mine vehicle to be safely accomplished.
With no manual handling of a solid tyred wheel required, risk of injury to operators is impressively eradicated with the introduction of the SWIFTA.
Above: The SWIFTA’s impressive range of movement drastically improves safety and efficiency when handling solid filled tyres.
SOTO Consulting Engineers were mindful that the design of the SWIFTA be compliant with Australian Standards, applicable NSW Mines Department Guidelines and be engineer certified at RPEQ level, allowing its use in Queensland. The protection for the design of the SWIFTA is Patent Pending and applies to Australia as well as the United States of America.
The SWIFTA represents SOTO Consulting Engineers’ commitment to innovation and collaboration in enhancing the safety for mine operators with the additional benefit of improving productivity and efficiency in underground mining processes. Proudly designed by SOTO Consulting Engineers and manufactured and distributed by Leussink Engineering, the SWIFTA is one of the most ground-breaking engineering innovations to emerge from the Illawarra coal district in recent years.
To see the full SWIFTA video and product specifications go to http://sotogroup.com.au/swifta/.
To find out how the SWIFTA can improve safety and efficiency in your operation, get in touch using the contact form, or call 02 4298 8888.