Investing in a ‘proper’ wash-bay water cannon can save money and time on vehicle upkeep and maintenance for an opencast operation, says fire protection supplier DoseTech MD Mike Feldon.
He notes that operations often use standard fire protection ‘monitors’ or water cannons, which are not fit for purpose, and will fail within six to 12 months, depending on how often they are used.
DoseTech is a distributor of firefighting equipment manufacturer Akron Severe Duty’s water cannon models, which are designed specifically for continuous use in harsh, dusty environments.
Mine vehicle wash bays are used to clean heavy-duty mining trucks prior to the vehicles entering the workshops for lubrication and minor repairs, preventive maintenance or major service repairs.
The vehicle’s time in the workshop can result in significant production and, consequently, financial losses.
Although some measure of lost productivity is expected and accepted during service periods, “what is not acceptable is the wash bay or water cannon not performing correctly, resulting in the washing time being increased. Every 15 minutes wasted costs the mine”, he adds.
Feldon explains that the Akron Severe Duty water cannon models consist of three moving parts – a horizontal 360˚ panning movement, a vertical +90˚ and -45˚ up and down movement enabled by a tiller bar with multiple position angle options, as well as an end-of-line nozzle, available in either solid stream or adjustable fog and stream, depending on operational requirements.
The models also include a heavy-cast body, complete with internal-pressure and turbulence-reducing vanes. The cannons do not use ball bearings, but a sealed bearing, which, Feldon notes, is easy to install and use.
The cannons also have a five-year warrantee.
In addition to a manual option, Akron water cannons offer a “more sophisticated” remote-controlled water cannon system, which includes programmable predetermined wash patterns, particularly for truck and train tankers.
Feldon states that, if mine project engineers consider vehicle maintenance delays, they will find that investment in a proper wash-bay water cannon solution will have an “extremely short payback” timeframe.
He adds that an opencast operation can maximise profitability by incorporating processing at the wash-bay area, thereby recovering minerals from the vehicles, which are often coated with mineral dust.
Using the cannon and water-recovery equipment will collectively result in an additional “rapid” payback.
Meanwhile, the company has ensured that its sales and administration teams can work remotely during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“This ensures that the company can continue to address customer enquiries, send quotations and offer technical support,” he concludes.