The Curtin University WA School of Mines (WASM) will provide mining companies with a “one-stop shop” for wear management solutions, thanks to a new partnership with the Central Institute of Technology (CIT).
The new collaboration will build on the CIT engineering department’s extensive and well equipped wear testing facilities at its Northbridge campus and WASM’s expertise in research and development in the mining sector.
CIT managing director Neil Fernandes said the collaboration will be informal at first, with CIT’s wear testing laboratory and equipment to provide the raw data which will be used by WASM to develop solutions for mining companies, including advanced materials characterisation and development and research services.
Fernandes said that CIT’s wear testing laboratory was the only facility of its type in the Southern hemisphere.
“The facility was originally set up through a generous bequest by a major mining company who wanted to support research, development and training in this specialised and critical area of wear management, he said.
CIT’s wear testing lab has a range of equipment for carrying out various testing procedures to international standards and other industry accepted wear tests, including development of custom wear testing solutions.
“The great advantage of these tests for mining operators is that they can identify the wear characteristics of particular wear materials, for instance, those used in excavator shovels, ore trucks, crushers and other materials handling equipment,” Fernandes said.
“By identifying a material with greater wear properties, mining companies can save considerable amounts of money by not having to replace this equipment as often.
“When you consider that every hour of a shut-down to replace wear liners of a crusher on a mine site can cost up to $100,000 per hour in production, it is a major saving in a sector characterised by high production costs and overheads,”
WASM director Professor Steve Hall said the collaboration was natural for the two organisations, which shared a keen interest in developing a better understanding by industry of the science involved in wear properties of materials and how it can be applied in a practical sense.
“Both organisations have very good programs in engineering with pathways from the VET sector to university. This partnership with Central helps consolidate that link, but also uses the combined skills and expertise to offer the mining industry an important service,” Hall said.
“And in the process of providing this service we can offer opportunities for students and researchers to apply their knowledge, strengthen skills and broaden their understanding of this critical operational area to provide added value to the mining industry.”
The collaboration will be led by WASM’s associate professor Vladimir Golovanevskiy and will capitalise on his long involvement with Central’s wear testing laboratory and extensive experience in wear management.