Mobile PlantSafety

Beltor – Underground Machine Retrieval Tool

2 Mins read

Beltor! It sounds like one of the angry “house robot” from Robot Wars and in fairness, it looks like one too! Today I will delve into what this specialist machine does and how it can assist underground mining projects!

One way we mitigate risk underground is sending devices into areas that are deemed unsafe for miners to enter. Most notably, this revolves around specially designed tools for collecting material or data in unsupported open stopes. Commonplace in the industry, the tele-remote bogger is operated via a wireless control system and driven remotely by an operator, who is either elsewhere in the mining level or is a specially designed remoting hut. But what happens when this bogger gets stuck? Either through a failing of the communication system or if dirt falls onto the operating machine, burying it in situ?

The Beltor being set up in the mining drive – the rear of the buried bogger can be seen in the distance. Image: Murray Engineering

The old school method would be to try and pull the stuck bogger with another machine. This could either be another loader or a truck that is fully laden with material. What happens when this fails though and your $750k+ asset is stuck buried in your ore source? Call in the Beltor and its expert crew of operators!

The machine, whose origins lie in the coalfields, can be utilised to act as a huge ratchet strap type pulley for mobile plant.  It is placed in the required area of the buried asset and the machine then uses a large hydraulic boom to pin itself in place against the backs. The central bridle of the machine is then connected to the towing point of the buried bogger by a series of interlinked racks. These then feed through the central bridle with the bogger being slowly pulled from the troublesome stope. The forces at play and the potential for unexpected releases of energy mean there is a possible line of fire hazard. This is mitigated by a remote control for the Beltor which can be driven from an adjacent area within the mine.

Beltor Engineering’s video showcasing how the retrieval tool works

The Beltor is not necessarily a device that a mine would outright purchase, rather hire with a specialised crew when it is required. It reduces the potential for further damage to other machines and allows for an engineered solution to a very difficult and potentially hazardous situation. Although mobilisation may take a couple of days, it will quickly free up a valuable ore source again and allow for the bogger to be repaired and reused again in the future rather than the machine being abandoned & becoming a relic buried for the rest of eternity in the underground mine.

The system is available for purcahse/hire from two different engineering companies within Australia. Beltor Engineering, who produce three different sized machines for varying requirements. Further to this Murray Engineering, the heavy diesel & manufacturing arm of the Byrnecut Group, purchase the Beltor system and modify the device for teleremote integration. Murray Engineering Business Development Manager: Nathan Bradshaw should be able to help any further technical questions.

Next time you bog your bogger you now know who to call! 

If you like my content and discussions on underground mining, please follow me on LinkedIn or Facebook. I continually strive to offer new and interesting content for those exploring new technologies and ideas for underground mining – so please send me an email if you would like to get involved.

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