Local group out-designs dusty dumps
An engineering firm in New South Wales is testing its new dust-suppressing dump truck, which is aimed at reducing the amount of harmful and valuable material flying loose from the back of loads.
Austin Engineering is about to start testing the two prototype trucks it has created. The Muswellbrook-based company will be developing the device at a local coal mine.
The invention coincides with the release of the Environment Protection Authority’s Dust Stop Program, which is hoping to reduce the amount of air-borne coal by about 80 per cent.
One of the concerns from conservationists around mining industry projects is often over the dust kicked up and thrown around by transport. With some innovative design, it should be possible to cut some of the environmental fallout from large resource projects.
That innovation may just have come from Austin Engineering, whose executive general manager Tim Ekert says it’s all about controlling the flow.
“It's got a revolutionary floor design, it literally controls the flow of material as it dumps out of the body,” he said.
“So the material... sheers off itself and comes out in a more controlled manner which then reduces the dust during dumping.”
The floor design keeps the centre of gravity of the load in front of the rear axle for longer during the dump cycle, reducing material surge as the load leaves the truck body. It eliminates lift at the front of the truck, making the process more stable and therefore safer.
The two trucks being tested near Muswellbrook are the first in the country, but the engineers say they already have several operating internationally.
“We've got a number of these running around in mines in north America where we've built them with an operation we've got over there but these will be the first couple in a Australia,” Ekert said.
“It's always good to be able to display the benefits locally rather than be able to say we've got some operating overseas so it's a very exciting time for us.”