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Mine product news: Synthetic mine hoist rope passes critical coiling test



Lightweight, high performance synthetic ropes have become the standard in many industrial applications where the weight of wire rope, but not exclusively, is a drawback. Underground mine hoisting — deep operations in particular — will benefit substantially from the use of synthetic ropes to reduce energy consumption and infrastructure costs while increasing capacity.

A complete multifaceted technical feasibility study is in progress to prove their applicability within a global mine hoisting system.

The first step of the technical feasibility study was to design and proceed with a coiling test that would determine the ability of synthetic rope to spool on and off a multi-layered drum under load, to simulate underground mine hoisting. 

On Dec. 6 and 7, 2011, coiling tests were conducted on three synthetic rope constructions and resulted in an absolute success. The ropes had  one-inch (25-mm) nominal diameters. Two candidates were made of Teijin Twaron fiber. The third candidate was manufactured with Teijin Technora fiber. All candidates were designed and manufactured by Whitehill. The synthetic ropes selected for the test were coiled under 20,000-pound (9090 kg) tension on a 60 inch (1,524 mm) diameter drum with parallel grooves and 180 degree crossovers. The ropes coiled to five layers without instability in the wraps.

The successful synthetic rope coiling test will lead to further, more extensive research and development. Non-destructive testing (NDT), modes of deterioration, failure analysis, and high speed coiling are some of the issues to be addressed for successful underground mine hoisting applications and compliance with industry regulations. It is anticipated that this next phase will require substantial financial support and approximately three to five years of concentrated development.

The project team thanks Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., Goldex Div., the Deep Mining Research Consortium (Agnico-Eagle, Barrick Gold, City of Greater Sudbury, DEC, Goldcorp, Rio Tinto, Vale,  Xstrata, CANMET, FedNor, NOHFC), IamGold Corporation, Westwood Div., McIvor Engineering and Maintenance Services Inc., Natural Resources Canada – CANMET, Teijin Aramid, Vale and Whitehill Manufacturing for technical, financial and moral support.

For further information, please contact Mark Huntley at mbh@whitehillmfg.com.