Health and Safety CONFERENCE

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Diamond Wire Saw Mobile Unit

Matt Ramsay
Drilling Superintendent – Gas, Anglo American – Moranbah North Mine

The Problem

The rehabilitation of redundant Mine Service boreholes requires the shearing and removal of cemented 20” Steel casing at 1.5m below the ground surface.

This process previously required the entry into the excavation and the risk associated with the manual handling of a hydraulic saw device to cut the casing at required position.

During this cutting process the operators experienced several rotating blade failures that resulted in small shard of steel ejected from the saw blade and contacted the operator’s glove.

The Solution

The strategy to eliminate the hazards identified from investigation of the event; it was actioned to source an alternative device with the capacity to efficiently shear 20” cement encased steel casing, eliminating manual handling, exposure to excavation; via the functionality of remote operation.

The Diamond Wire Saw (DWS) device was identified, assessed and then progressed to primary design functional testing phase in December 2018. With positive observations of improved safety, efficiency and operational performance parameters.

During the trial and testing period, this involved collaboration and engagement of DWS OEM and test operators. The collaboration of stakeholders delivered engineering inputs combined with the collation of test operator feedback facilitated continuous improvement of the DWS device’s re-purposed application into an integrated mobile unit.

The Benefits

The field functional testing and operation of the DWS mobile unit demonstrated:

  • Elimination – of traditional rotating blade failure hazard – Guarded Diamond impregnated cable
  • Elimination – of manual handling – proximity protected – remotely controlled loader positions and retrieves DWS
  • Elimination – CMW entry into excavation – DWS utilizes self-attachment / release function
  • Elimination – of manual handling – proximity protected – remotely controlled loader secures the casing during cutting process and relocates to waste transport
  • Separation – remote operator console – remove CMW exposure to line of fire
  • Separation – remote operator console – remove CMW exposure to excavation
  • Operational effectiveness performance realized an increase of 60% on previous methodology