Draglines are some of the biggest machines on earth. Weighting up to 13,000 tons these massive machines are a key part of the strip mining process. Capable of removing extreme amounts of overburden in just minutes, draglines are gigantic pieces of equipment in a league of their own. Maintaining these colossal machines requires knowledge, safety and expertise of a high caliber as well.
Experts of the trade
A complete solution for dragline maintenance requires expertise not only in quality parts manufacturing and engineering and design; but in the field. Removing, installing, replacing or retrofitting components and assemblies on machines in the field is as much of an art as the initial design of a component. Similar to the mindfulness of metallurgy and finite element analysis in design; innovative onsite repairs and installs require a thoughtful plan and preparation. On site field operations require experienced tradesman prepared with safety at the forefront of the job and extensive knowledge of mechanical operations.
L&H’s team of field service technicians work on massive machines every day; whether it’s field welding and machining or a major repair or install. Years of experience in repairing OEM design failures has tooled L&H with the ability to design not only longer lasting components but pioneering in-field modifications and repairs that keep machines running longer.
New ideas in dragline repairs
L&H’s field service crew recently completed a boom foot replacement on an 8750 dragline with an innovative fix for a frequent problem on these machines. Historically, these machines were vulnerable to consistent cracking and failures in the boom feet, which were designed as a cast piece. Constant repairs were needed resulting in continuous downtime of the machine. To save significant downtime and extend life of the boom foot; L&H engineered a forged design. Utilizing a forged design, rather than the industry standard of a cast design produces better material properties resulting in stronger strength.
Additionally, L&H incorporated design changes to the component aside from the material differences. Cracking in the OEM design often originated from “holes” in the cast component and would spread over time; L&H removed these holes and integrated a single “eye” in the forged part. The physical design differences paired with the material upgrade provided a high quality component that would extend life in the field.
Innovations in the field
Removing the existing component from the machine and replacing it with the new design required thoughtful planning and preparation. The dragline’s boom would need to be lowered and then rolled forward to replace the boom foot; however L&H’s field team decided that if the boom was simply supported they could remove the pins from the original boom foot and then replace the new component. By eliminating the need to roll the boom forward and then realigning it would save multiple shifts and increase safety.
Jerrod Driskill, project coordinator overseeing the explained why L&H excels in the field, “Having a plan and thinking through all possible scenarios is key to success in the field. Extensive planning and preparation ensures there are no surprises on a project. With years of experience on a variety of equipment L&H has become well versed across multiple situations and circumstances.”
The outage finished 3 days ahead of schedule and without any safety incidents. The new innovative boom foot design will provide longer lasting component life with less downtime in repairs.