Developed in partnership with a Wollongong consulting design firm, Soto Mining Technologies, SWIFTA – the Safe Wheel Installation Fitting Transportation Apparatus – is designed for safe tyre changes with LHDs (Load Handling Devices). Soto designed this safe solution to facilitate solo operation or multi-personnel operation.
Suitable for wheel sizes with dimensions ranging from 1200mm to 1435mm, the initial design takes pretty much all the danger out of the process because the operator is in control at all times, according to Leussink Director, Mr Jason Leussink.
Mr Leussink explains the driver can leave the LHD vehicle and come out and operate the hydraulics panel on the SWIFTA; everyone associated with the wheel change can see the wheel perfectly without obstructions. As soon as the operator begins to move from the LHD, the LHD is disengaged with an automatic cut-off and the SWIFTA becomes the control point for the tyre change procedure.
Operators are removed from the potential ‘crush zone’, minimising operator risk and preventing their exposure to the mass of the wheel since all manual handling is eliminated. Hydraulic power is supplied via the LHD auxiliary/power take-off circuit while all hydraulic controls and hoses are shielded to protect the operator.
The SWIFTA unit allows wheels to be rotated in either direction with infinite control. Side shifting up to 200mm on either side of the centreline is possible while the wheel slide advance/retreat is up to 600mm.
The unit has a long list of safety over-ride features including the safety valve on the wheel changer as it moves from the LHD to SWIFTA. Typical capabilities of the SWIFTA tyre changer for the underground mine sector include the ability to handle a maximum wheel weight of 1000kg, 360° wheel rotation, 250mm clamp travel, 300mm raise/lower capacity, 60mm in/out travel, ±200mm side shift travel and a tare weight of 1560kg.
Launched recently at the 2013 AIMEX event, the SWIFTA technology comes with full training and all safety documentation required in the mining industry as well as spare parts and technical support.