Ampcontrol and Anglo American take out Innovation Award at the 2019 Mine Electrical Safety Conference

Moranbah North Mine’s Variable Speed Drive project received the Innovation Award at the 30th annual Mining Electrical Safety Association Conference earlier this month.

The technical presentation delivered by Ampcontrol’s Chief Technology Officer Tim Wylie and Shane McDowall, Anglo American’s Principal for Technology and Automation Underground Operations, outlined the development and implementation of the game changing project at the Moranbah North site.

This was the first time a high power Variable Speed Drive (VSD) has been deployed in a hazardous zone in an Australian mine, and was used on an Armoured Face Conveyor (AFC) to provide full control of starting torques on the three drive motors.

This honour was received after three years of hard work by the Ampcontrol and Anglo American project teams, who are no strangers to leading the way when it comes to innovation.

Wylie said, “We implemented a new electrical protection element that is yet to be described in Australian mining standards. As such, the project contains several industry ‘firsts’ and the electrical system reliability directly contributed to the system setting a new Australian record for monthly production.”

“The Moranbah AFC upgrade to VSD saw Ampcontrol and Anglo operate quite differently – it was more like a partnering arrangement than the standard tender and contact. In the early stages, Ampcontrol effectively worked as the ‘owner’s engineer’ to technically review and assess the available options for the variable speed drive. Technical staff travelled to China with Anglo a number of times to evaluate suppliers and drive technology,” he said.

The delivery of the system has enabled consistent AFC performance, reduced downtime and in turn delivered improved safety and productivity on site.

“The successful delivery of the system required input from almost every aspect of Ampcontrol’s business, and is a shining example of what we are capable of when we work together as a group toward a common objective. The project is something none of us could have delivered individually, but something each of us can be proud of,” said Wylie.

Ampcontrol also exhibited at the conference where we displayed our newest product offerings including Rockstarter, our multi-function outlet starter, our latest lighting range and our underground gas detection and diesel machine monitoring solutions.

Image: Shane McDowall from Anglo American (left) and Tim Wylie from Ampcontrol (right)