Komatsu Australia's team - Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) project (Super Pit) has recently won a continuous improvement award for developing a much safer & faster pin-lock system for bucket changeout on 4 PC8000 excavators used at the mine.
The award, the 2009 Barrick Site CI Award, was made by Russell Cole, General Manager of KCGM.
According to Garry Giles, Komatsu Australia's Project Manager at KCGM, the previous pin-lock system required service technicians to manually position the bucket pins which weigh up to 500 kg while they were inserted and removed.
"This was a definite safety hazard, as service personnel were in the vicinity of the WA250PT-3 tool carriers we use for the changeouts.
"Weighing 400-500 kg a piece, each of the locking pins are 280-300 mm across and 750 mm long so they are difficult to handle," said Garry.
"The new system eliminates any need for manual handling; instead we use our Komatsu WA250PT-3s with a pin pushing attachment to insert the pins."
Before the introduction of the one-piece locking device, changing over an 80 tonne bucket on a PC8000 normally took 12-16 hours.
"With the new system, we now have this time down to seven or eight hours," he said.
"Our new pin lock system is a unique one-piece locking device that retains itself, and automatically aligns the pin into the bucket, reducing the risk of any injuries to personnel during installation of the bucket.
"In addition, the time taken to fit the bucket pins has been greatly reduced.
"As well as developing this one-piece locking system, we've changed the location of the pin-locks, giving much easier access for the IT loaders," said Garry.
The PC8000 buckets are changed over once a year, with the removed bucket being refurbished by Komatsu Australia's team at KCGM.
The design and manufacture process was completed in-house at KCGM by the Komatsu Australia team, with technical support and approval from Komatsu Mining Group (KMG), said Garry.
"This pin lock device can be used on other Komatsu mining excavators, from the PC8000 down to the PC3000, plus it can also be adapted to use on other pins, such as bucket and boom top pins on the PC8000 and other machines.
"The introduction of this locking device will greatly improve safety and machine downtime."