Recently, ACT patented its twin-pull design and the company is hopeful of winning an initial order from a UK longwall mine which currently uses Scorpion handling equipment.
Managing director of ACT, Peter Howard, said while the bulk of the UK and Australian mines use centre-pull configurations for cable-handling, roughly 30% of mines still wanted twin-pull, particularly in thin seam operations.
However thinner seams caused cable and hose damage from the side, and twin-pull had the advantage of offering full side protection. The main problem with twin-pulls in the past has been the length of time to change the cable, typcially between 30-36 hours, Howard said.
“We are not prepared to rush into the market with a ‘me-too’ twin-pull that is no different, just to say we have one on the market,” Howard said.
ACT’s new patented design attempts to address this problem by replacing the metal pins with clickable plastic connectors. This should make cable changeout considerably faster and though no system has yet been fitted, Howard predicts a reduction in time to around 6-10 hours for changeouts.
Longwall mines in the UK have expressed interest in a Scorpion system incorporating twin-pull and ACT hopes to supply its first twin-pull cable handler later this year.
Howard said the prototype had been machined and once modifications have been made, the company expects to be making the production tool within two months from its factory in Nottinghamshire, UK.