Mining systems solutions provider Becker Mining South Africa in October last year successfully installed and commissioned its first, upgraded chairlift programmable logic controller (PLC) panel, which enhances the reliability of the Becker chairlift systems.
The PLC, which was launched at the 2018 Electra Mining Expo, is used in conjunction with Becker’s chairlift system to safely transport personnel on mines, globally.
The locally manufactured PLC panels are programmed to automatically display the chairlift system’s trip conditions and comply with all the latest requirements of the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, specifically the stringent regulations of the Mine Health and Safety Act.
“The new Becker PLC panel features a user-friendly 305 mm display that not only clearly indicates a trip condition, but also guides the user in quick and effortless fault finding,” says Becker Mining South Africa capital senior GM Tom Searle.
He adds that this is a critical safety advantage in the mining sector.
Further, the upgraded PLC panel, with expandable options, uses an intelligent pull key system to show all trip conditions.
Critical chairlift information – including emergency contact details, wired diagram drawings and a parts list – is available through the PLC panel and can be easily updated at any time, he explains.
The program on the PLC has site-specific trip condition images that automatically indicate where a fault has occurred and also includes images of the actual components.
Additionally, for user convenience, next to these images, is a guide for fault finding and immediate access to the circuit diagram drawing. The system also provides technical support contact details and, to enable customers to easily order the correct spares, a list of components used in that specific panel, with allocated part numbers.
“If users want to upgrade their system further, they have the option of connecting the chairlift panel to the control room using installed networks,” Searle points out.
This would enable the PLC to connect to a surface system, allowing it to send an SMS to designated numbers, in the event of trip conditions. “The user is also able to log in remotely to view these trip conditions and send out [technicians] to assist with breakdowns.”
Becker’s chairlift systems are designed to transport up to 900 personnel an hour, quickly, efficiently and safely in all underground applications, including difficult mining conditions.
These modular, low-maintenance chairlift systems, which encompass the latest technology and manufacturing trends, meet stringent quality and mine safety regulations.
They comprise a simple, yet robust structure, and are installed in underground sites with steep inclines up to 45° and long haulages up to 2 000 m, at drive speeds of between 1.5 m/s and 3 m/s.
In emergencies, the chairlift system can be used for transporting injured workers quickly, and safely, back to the surface.
Safety features include a rope slip sensor and a fail-safe brake system, which is spring-activated and hydraulically released on the drive wheel brake path. Secondary and primary brakes are capable of holding the entire out-of-balance load.
Other critical safety devices are the passenger override sensor and an intelligent pull key system.
Chairlift underground transport systems can be supplied with “dependable diesel-driven generator sets”, to ensure the absolute safety of miners in the event of a power outage.
Becker Mining is committed to “providing the latest product designs, impeccable manufacturing standards and cost efficiency, as well as enhanced safety and total reliability of these underground transportation systems”.
Every chairlift installation is custom-designed to suit a specific application and the drive units are selected based on the length and gradient of the installation.
Searle concludes that the company is also responsible for erecting the chairlift drive house, the mechanical and electrical installations, and all civils work.