A series of successful trials over the past 18 months have paved the way for wider use of Segnut's innovative fastening technology as mining and construction companies seek to improve safety and boost productivity.
The Segnut is a world-first proprietary threaded nut product that reduces the time taken to remove seized and damaged nuts on fixed and mobile equipment. It also eliminates commonly used and extremely hazardous nut removal methods such as oxy cutting (ie gas-axing), impact wrenches, angle grinders, and hydraulic nut splitters.
The Segnut is unique and has a patented inner section consisting of three segments held captive by an outer retaining sleeve. When the outer sleeve is turned a few degrees in the tightening direction, the Segnut releases from the bolt and falls away without the damaged nut having to travel back up the bolt thread.
Productivity and safety gains at Bell Bay
In a recent test at Rio Tinto's Bell Bay Aluminium refinery in northern Tasmania, Segnuts were used to secure wear plates on the paste mixers as part of the carbon anode manufacturing process. They were operated at temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C.
The securing bolts must be removed from the inside of the machine, making periodic removal of the plates difficult and time-consuming. It also required maintenance personnel to work in confined spaces and make use of high-risk oxy-acetylene cutting.
Being a smelting environment with multiple risks surrounding fumes and hot works in the same place, the elimination of these practices in the refinery was a high safety priority for Bell Bay. Segnut provided a solution that removed the need for dangerous high-energy removal methods and significantly shortened the change-out downtime, improving productivity.
The success of the Bell Bay trial has seen Segnut being added to the site's inventory management system as a regular supply item for day-to-day operations.
Affirming product integrity at Infrabuild
The Segnut's fastening ability and release mechanism were tested in the extreme conditions of Infrabuild's steel recycling facility in Laverton, Victoria.
Used to secure the water-filled insulating jacket on a furnace running at 1300 degrees C, the Segnuts were exposed to temperatures as high as 450 degrees C.
After eight weeks, tests showed that the nuts' oxide coating remained intact and that the structural integrity of the nut was not compromised.
Trials success confirms Segnut's potential
The favourable results of these and other trials have confirmed the impact that Segnut can have for wider industry, says Segnut Director, Product Development, Tom Baskovich.
"In terms of Segnut's application, our focus is in areas where items wear out regularly and must be changed over quickly, are held on by nuts and bolts, and have to be removed. This includes items such as dozers, front-end loaders, wear-liners and conveyor kits.
"The cutting edges on dozers are commonly changed over every four to eight weeks. Segnut has been successfully trialled on dozers and it is being used there in industry today. Another key area is transfer chute wear liners, which are typically held on by nuts and bolts and have to be removed regularly and efficiently".
Baskovich adds that Segnut delivers a significant productivity benefit with statistics pointing to a substantial reduction in nut removal time compared to conventional fasteners. This translates to less equipment downtime and better maintenance turn-around times.