“ Improved Tooth Life by Hard Facing”
by BMA Coal Pty Ltd.
Certain digging conditions at a range of different mine sites can cause normal shovel teeth to wear out rapidly, requiring shovel teeth replacement to be conducted on a weekly basis. By experimenting with alternative methods of hard facing the shovel teeth with tungsten carbide hardfacing, proved to significantly increase the life of the shovel teeth.
The primary benefit of the project over the time of the trial has been revealed in the extension of the shovel teeth life from an average 7 day tooth life, to a 90 day tooth life. The calculated financial benefit of this project is expected to be in the vicinity of $931,000 plus per annum.
Unquantifiable benefits of this project include the reduction in potential injuries related to the manually intensive task of changing teeth and the replication possibilities on other pieces of equipment using ground engaging tools.
The potential to significantly improve tooth life was realized. The application of hardfacing with tungsten carbide had both time-saving and financial qualities in increasing shovel teeth life. The manufacturer, Mr.Bob Little of Hardfacing Australia offered BMA Coal extensive trials on various patterns of hardfacing and the hardfacing of shovel teeth was fully implemented and quantified in August 2005.
In terms of other improvements that could be developed as a result of this initiative, BMA Coal is now exploring the possibility of applying the tungsten carbide hardfacing to other ground engaging tools including the other shovels. These may include blades on bull dozers and graders. The results of this project have been so remarkable that the team is eager to trial it in other areas in an attempt to produce similar results and success.