Alcoa World Alumina Australia was nominated as a finalist in the 3rd Annual Australian Mining Prospect Awards for the redesign of cutting edges on Caterpillar 637 & 657 scrapers. The modified cutting edges and redesigned bolts allow the employees to replace the edges without the previous risks of strains/sprains, heavy equipment and ergonomic issues. Changing cutting edges on Caterpillar 637 and 657 scrapers has been a cumbersome and awkward job putting stresses and strains on the person fitting the edges. It typically involves the scraper being positioned with the bowl raised and supported about 600mm above the ground. An employee lies on their back beneath the bowl and, using a heavy pneumatic impact gun, loosens the nuts that hold the cutting edge to the bowl. When all the nuts are loosened the edge is supported by a crane, the nuts and bolts removed and new edges installed. The employee again lies on their back and using the impact gun tightens the retaining nuts. A mobile equipment fitter came up with a solution by working with the cutting edge supplier to design an alternative edge that removed the person from beneath the machine.The modified cutting edges, and redesigned bolts, allowed the employee to stand in front of the bowl and place the impact tool on top of the bolts.
The modified edges were fitted to a trial machine and returned to normal operation to evaluate the initiative.