US-BASED Getman Corporation has entered an agreement with Australian mine vehicle manufacturer PJ Berriman & Co to trial and promote the PJB Nipper in North America.
PJB launched a “metalliferous mine” version of the Nipper last year. The company, based at Tomago, near Newcastle in New South Wales, expects to introduce its explosion-protected coal mining version of the Nipper next month, along with utility versions of the vehicle for coal and hard-rock mines.
Getman is a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialised underground mining equipment, including scalers, scissor-lifts and charge-up vehicles. According to PJB boss Phil Berriman, Getman Corp president Dana Getman recently visited Australia and was impressed by the design of the Nipper.
“Both companies believe that in tough times all mines need to examine their costs, and ensure they are getting the lowest possible cost of ownership for each piece of equipment employed,” said Berriman. “Light run-about vehicles presently represent an unacceptable cost to most mines.
“For many years mining companies in Australia and the USA have tried using modified commercial 4WD vehicles in underground mines. They are cheap enough to buy, but the cost of maintenance is unacceptable. Brakes, suspension, damage and body corrosion are the big problems.”
The Nipper features a corrosion-resistant, stainless steel monocoque body, energy absorbing, polyurethane bumper bars, a 4WD system featuring axles with planetary reduction, and totally enclosed, oil-immersed brakes on all four wheels. A fully automatic, 4-5 speed transmission provides engine braking ability and excellent performance up steep grades, while a fail-to-safety totally enclosed park/emergency brake provides an additional safety measure.
Berriman said the Nipper’s coil spring suspension system was designed with the worst mine road conditions in mind. It featured leading and trailing arms at the front and rear, and pannard rods for control and heavy-duty shocks.