Established in 1981 by the late Peter Horne, the company’s largest shareholder is now Hamilton Stephenson. Recently certified to ISO 9001:2000, the company has accredited dealers in North America, South America, Australia, and continues to pursue further globalisation opportu- nities.
All the technology is developed and manufactured in South Africa and then exported to various countries around the world and, at present, exports are contributing more than 20% to the company’s turnover.
The latest product that the company has to offer is the Levelok emergency brake. “The Levelok mine cage and skip-holding system controls rope stretch during the loading and unloading, as well as increases the life of the rope,” technical sales manager Steve Hill says.
The standard Levelok system has been developed and tested over the last 30 years and is currently being used in mines in South Africa, North America and Australia. “The system provides a simple, reliable, safe and quick means of securing a skip and cage during the loading and unloading of people and equipment,” Hill reports. Rope stretch can be a problem in mines and can even be fatal if miners slip when stepping down from a cage that is not level with the station.
It can also lead to loss of shaft time when a cage has to be re-decked due to rope stretch.
Decrease in rope life can also arise due to the elimination of high dynamic loads resulting from sudden application of loads to the rope.
The system comprises a power pack and clamps, which hold the conveyance steady during loading and unloading. It then slowly releases its grip in order for the rope stretch to be taken up smoothly.
“This system can be installed easily and timeously to any existing cage, so no significant structural modifications to the shaft steelwork need to be undertaken,” says Hill.
The company claims that the clamps can be fully applied within ten seconds of the onsetter applying the air supply. In the case of a skip system, clamps will be fully applied within two seconds of the skip arriving at the loading station.
Energy required to work the system is either from a low-powered electrical supply or the normal mine air supply. Safety measures include cage-mounted clamps, which can support twice the design mass, guaranteeing no conveyance movement during loading and unloading.
“A reduction in spillage from 23 t/m, to a mere 300 kg a month was recorded in once instance,” states Hill.
“Another advantage of this system, is that the clamps, not the rope, take all the shock, which significantly increases the life of the rope by about 25% in some cases.” Four clamps have already been delivered to the US and are currently being used as an emergency braking system for lifts in the Hutchinson Facility mine.
This abandoned mine is now being used as a document-storage facility, as well as a tourist attraction.
Levelok has also been delivered to the Red Lake mine in Canada, where it is being used in a cage- and skip-holding system.
Horne Hydraulics is currently manufacturing further systems for the Kidd Creek mine, also in Canada, where they will be used in a skip system.
Further installations of this product include more shallow mines in South Africa, such as the Palabora copper-mine, where 32-t trucks are sent down shafts using the clamp system.
It has also been supplied to the South Deep gold-mine for a cage-and-skip system; installation is currently under way.
The Levelok system is also being showcased in Las Vegas at one of the world’s largest mining exhibitions, minExpo.