04 Feb 2019

To the untrained eye, surface mining may look like it has hardly changed in the 100 – plus years since its introduction. It’s all about using a very large bucket to shovel a very large amount of dirt and therefore doesn't involve much variation in terms of bucket design, right? After all, a gigantic steel bucket is a gigantic steel bucket, right?

No, not quite.

In reality, dragline bucket design has a significant effect on the efficiency of surface mining operations. The Hurricane 2.0™ – a bucket designed by Australian-based IP, engineering, software, and manufacturing company CQMS Razer (CR) – is a good example.
Although it weighs significantly less than most competitors’ products, the Hurricane 2.0™ bucket’s industry leading design and materials mean that it offers mining companies a range of benefits including increased payload, reduced fill times, and reduced drag energy.

Greater volume and speed of extraction is the Holy Grail in this sector, so the product represents a real breakthrough in dragline excavation. The most technically advanced dragline bucket on the market, overall it delivers a 16 per cent increase in capacity and throughput compared to conventional products.

The Hurricane 2.0™ is one of a number of similar products offered by CR. In fact, the company has a combination of dragline bucket, dragline G.E.T, and rigging, to suit every mine condition, machine size, and model. Its dragline buckets range from the small class 8050 to the 8750 class, which is the largest in the world.

Hard, durable steel

For the past 18 years CR has sourced the steel it uses to make these dragline buckets from Bisalloy, Australia’s only maker of quenched and tempered steel. To date, CR has made 218 buckets out of steel supplied by Bisalloy – at 50/60 tonnes of steel per bucket that equates to over 10,000 tonnes in total.

CR began sourcing steel from Bisalloy in 2000, when the latter won the tender for the project against competition from a number of international suppliers.

“Put simply, that initial choice came down to the quality of the steel that Bisalloy offered. We simply couldn’t go past the combination of hardness and ability to withstand heavy treatment that BISALLOY® Wear steel delivers,” said CR Operations Manager Edward Hutcheon.

“CQMS Razer is a firm supporter of Australian industry, so the fact that Bisalloy is a local company was a bonus. The quality of their products typifies the excellence this nation is capable of.”

Specifically, CR uses BISALLOY® Structural 80 steel BISALLOY® Wear 450 steel in its dragline buckets. One of Bisalloy’s original grades, BISALLOY® Structural 80 steel is a low alloy, high strength steel plate with a yield stress three times that of carbon steel. It features low carbon, excellent notch toughness and excellent weldability and formability.

BISALLOY® Wear 450 steel, on the other hand, is considered the ‘all-rounder’ of Bisalloy wear grades range. With a nominal hardness of 450 HBW, it is designed to handle wear and is therefore ideal for heavy industrial tasks like dragline excavation.

“We use these products on the floors and walls of the buckets. Our corner rails run along the corners, which join the wall to the floor, so we have castings along there. Because of the shape of the rear corner, we also have a casting there. Then we have cap rails which go along the top,” said Edward.

CR puts a lot of resources into its R&D efforts. The company frequently upgrades its products after testing at its unique scale testing facility located at its Technology Park in the Ipswich suburb of Goodna. It uses this testing along with dragline production data monitoring software and analysis to design buckets that reduce weight, increase payload and increase availability for dragline operations around the world.

Combined with BISALLOY® steel products, this attention to details has established CR as an industry leader. The Hurricane 2.0™, for instance, is recognised as the most technically advanced dragline bucket the industry has yet produced.

Shared purpose and mutual respect

Edward also nominated the strength of the personal relationships between the respective teams at CR and Bisalloy as a key to the longevity of the partnership between the two companies.

“While no relationship is all smooth sailing, shared purpose and mutual respect have made it possible for the two companies to work successfully together since 2000,” he said.

“If our enduring partnership with Bisalloy proves anything, it is that our initial faith in them was well-founded. We made the right choice when we appointed Bisalloy as our steel supplier and we look forward to many more years of co-operation between the two companies.”

In other words, after 18 years, the relationship has come of age.

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