Demand leads to the development of new underground ambulance

25th March 2011 By: Idéle Esterhuizen

Underground mechanised mining solutions provider GHH Mining Machines (GHH MM) has added the MV-U40D-AMB underground ambulance to its range.

The ambulance was developed over three years by supplier of underground mining equipment UV Botswana, in response to industry demand for such a product.

With more stringent health and safety regulations and the increased efforts to provide effective underground rescue and care to mine personnel, the MV-U40D-AMB ambulance will be a valuable addition to a mine fleet, says GHH MM business development manager Robin Pearce.

He says that after having consulted various companies that specialise in the manufacturing of ambulances, UV Botswana believes that the MV-U40D-AMB is the first vehicle of its kind.

“The design engineers studied various emergency situations that could take place underground and UV Botswana realised that the vehicle needed to provide all the benefits of a normal road-bound ambulance, as well as being able to get to injured personnel underground. Once patients are stabilised, the vehicle will return to the surface,” Pearce says.

GHH MM states that application-specific features of the MV-U40D-AMB ambulance include an enclosed rear load frame for the protection of medical staff and patients, interior lighting, filtered air intake for the patient cabin, onboard oxygen and medical equipment.

Further, a hydraulic winch is mounted to the front of the vehicle to assist in rescue operations, while the rear canopy slides open to facilitate access to patients.

Pearce tells Mining Weekly that patients, who require hospitalisation, are brought to the surface and transferred to a conventional ambulance or helicopter for further transportation.

Powered by a normally-aspirated Deutz engine, the ambulance features a transmission and constant four-wheel drive from Clark Powershift Transmission.

Pearce says that the ambulance is the latest addition to UV Botswana’s range of cassette-based utility vehicles that include effluent, fuel and lube, and commode vehicles.

He believes the ambulance will be well received by industry.

Dump Truck
A welcome addition to GHH MM’s range, is the MK-A30.1 underground dump truck, which was designed by underground mining equipment supplier GHH Fahrzeuge.

The first MK-A30.1 was showcased at the Electra Mining Expo, in South Africa, last year.

“One of the most important innovations of the MK-A30.1 is its bidirectional operating platform, meaning that the vehicle never has to reverse. This feature is a significant advantage in the narrow confines underground,” says Pearce.

Another feature of the MK-A30.1 is its trunnion bearing, which allows oscillation between the front and rear frames, producing excellent ground contact especially in poorer conditions, the company reports.

He says this helps to reduce stresses on the frame caused by bad footwall conditions.

Powered by a Deutz V12 air-cooled engine and weighing 27 500 kg, the MK-A30.1 has a 30 t payload.

“The engine has low maintenance costs and, because of the trunnion bearing, the transmission and the pumps are accessible, making service and maintenance extremely user-friendly,” Pearce explains.

He says the Deutz V12 engine’s design allows for the refurbishment of separate portions of the engine, which is not necessarily possible with water-cooled engines.

Other optional features include air conditioning, cabin heating and exhaust gas throttle brakes for vehicles with big bare air coded Deutz engines.

Pearce believes that the high European demand for the MK-A30.1 serves as proof that demand will also be strong in South Africa.

“We have learnt from our experiences in Europe and have showcased this great product in Southern Africa with confidence,” he says.