Iluka Mining Resources 

The Background

1300Inflate was approached by HSE Advisor at Jacinth Ambrosia Mine, Paul Freimanis, and his team. Our team was tasked with designing and sourcing an inflatable airbag that would effectively fill the void under their Mobile Unit Plant (MUP) tracks. We developed an inflatable bladder that would prevent dirt ingress and save the company from an extensive manual handling task.
The team at 1300Inflate worked with the area below the track systems of a large MUP on site. The tracks (pictured) are only lowered to ground level approximately every six weeks and this is when the build-up of extremely briny sand/slurry occurs. Before the machinery could move, the area underneath the tracks had to be cleaned out and free of sand. The tracks were then lowered to allow work to be resumed. The concept for this solution was initiated by the shovelling team who found the task arduous. The result streamlined the operation and increased efficiency.
Iluka’s Jacinth-Ambrosia operation in South Australia is the world’s largest zircon mine. The Jacinth-Ambrosia operation encompasses mining and wet concentration activities with heavy mineral concentrate and is able to create up to approximately 1000 tonnes per hour of heavy mineral concentrate, which can in turn generate up to approximately 300kt of zircon per annum.
Zircon is the main product produced from Jacinth-Ambrosia, and is used in the manufacturing of ceramics. 


Airbag Idea under lifted track.jpg
Mining Unit Plant MUP  On location Block

The Challenges

When it comes to dry mining, the ore is usually deposited into a Mobile Unit Plant (MUP) mining unit or hopper that happens to be next to the active mining area. Front-end loaders, scrapers, trucks or dozers then feed the ore into the hopper.
The MUP moves to the next block upon completion of the mining of the first block. It was absolutely imperative for 1300Inflate to find a way to keep the undertrack clean and free of sand. To solve this, we implemented our cost-effective inflatable bladder which prevented dirt ingress. This saved the company a significant manual handling task that could have cost extra time and money.


The Solution


The brief by Iluka was simple and clear: the 1300Inflate team needed a thorough understanding of the scale of the bag that was to be constructed. The technology we chose was undoubtedly efficient and had been used by us many times before. We considered the manner in which this would be deployed as well as the effects of the natural environment on the life of the unit. The location was also a consideration as the area was directly in the sun and in a saline slurry. Airbag systems that had been previously chosen by 1300Inflate were known to be user-friendly by inexperienced operators. While these systems were robust, they weren’t appropriate for this project as they were typically used for short durations only. The final result was a hybrid that married a robust bladder with an extremely durable and UV-resistant skin that could be replaced at an affordable price when and if required. 

Voidfiller Airbag under track.jpg
Airbag inder MUPTrack  2.jpg

The Results

Our simple and elegant solution saved a lot of labour-power. Our solution also met all relevant KPIs and delivered an excellent ROI. 1300Inflate’s custom-designed solutions offer companies the opportunity to use pneumatic products to solve intensive labour issues and high costs. 
All of our customers’ requirements were met and the product was able to achieve the exact specifications it was intended to do.