Mining and Heavy Industries

Minprovise: How Dugless 903 handles the work of a 20-strong team


The Minprovise Dugless 903 mini loader cleans up underneath conveyor systems without the need for shutting them down. 

After more than a decade on the market, the Dugless has been carefully improved to meet the needs of the bulk handling industry.

The most recent iteration of the Dugless – Dugless 903 – comes from a good pedigree. The original Dugless 900 claimed the best practice in the occupational health and safety category at the fourth Australian Bulk Handling Awards, a year after it entered the market.

Now, 10 years on, the Dugless 903 is providing solutions to for a range of Australian industries.

Minprovise founder and managing director Graham Townsend conceptualised the Dugless 903 after seeing the need to innovate existing machines. In Townsend’s eyes, stand-on machines were too high to clean under conveyor belts, while the small wheelbase could be a safety risk.

This led to Minprovise creating the Dugless, which could be remotely controlled and cleaned while a conveyor belt remained operating.

ABHR spoke to Minprovise general manager Tony Sutton about the Dugless 903 and its innovations to stay at the forefront of bulk handling.

“The major advantage of the Dugless, of course, is that you can clean or retrieve spillage while the conveyor is still running, so no shutdown is needed for any clean up. And then it’s a spray with the hose, a quick and easy check of filters, and it’s ready for action again.”

Safely remote controlled from up to 50m away, the Dugless 903 eliminates manual handling and can clean up large volumes of spilt material in a fraction of the time.

The new generation features a 3D-printed airbox with an enhanced air intake system that delivers more uptime between air filter changes.

It also uses vortex cyclones that provide an enhanced level of particle extraction, and an air blowback system that expels the ingress of water from the machine after it’s washed.

“We could clearly see that the cyclone system pulled dust particles out much more effectively,” Sutton said.

“You can expect to be around 14 per cent more efficient every day because of fewer filter change outs. That translates into a significant amount of time and savings.”

Dust is a significant concern for any mining operation, especially in dry and windy areas, so it plays an essential factor in the life of any mining machine.

Advantages of a cyclone-style air intake system include significantly reducing the number of filter changes and improved maintenance access to filter cartridges.

Minprovise has designed the Dugless 903 so a multi-cyclone block will fit into a 56-centimetre-tall footprint.

“We’ve been able to get a multi-cyclone block into a very, very small space,” Sutton said. “Everything has to be compact. There’s nothing off the shelf that you can buy that’s able to achieve what the Dugless 903 does.”

A major stock feed conveyor in Western Australia required cleaning and servicing. The product below the system had been building over an extended period, becoming dense, more problematic and posing a serious risk to the conveyor return rollers. Premature roller failure was inevitable due to product ingression. This system needed to be cleared of the dormant iron ore below, fast and efficiently.

The spillage topped an average height of 400mm and 200m of the conveyor needed to be serviced.

Two Dugless machines, manoeuvred by operators, worked side by side for 15 hours and reclaimed an estimated 100 tonnes of iron ore that was re-instated into the site operation process.

The stock feed conveyor was able to continue to work without production shutdown.

Whether cleaning underneath conveyor systems on dry and dusty mine sites or sludgy spillage on project sites and even the odd chicken coup, Sutton said the Dugless 903 has a significant advantage of reaching places that conventional front-end loaders can’t get to, and neither can people.

The buying numbers have vindicated the success. According to Minprovise, one of the world’s largest mining companies bought nearly 20 units after being impressed by its capabilities.

For more information, see the Minprovise website

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