The Kubota was recommended to GMS by Wimpie Nel owner of WJ Nel Designs, which is the design engineering firm for this project on the mine. “I made a thorough study of these machines and looked at several leading brands,” says Nel. “The Kubota stood out in terms of its speed, power and efficiency and its incredible sales record since its recent launch in South Africa and worldwide in the last few years is testament to its excellent performance.”
He adds that he designed the sinking stage of this shaft sinking project and is fully aware of the numerous challenges that arise at this stage. “These involve mostly en masse clearing and I know that the Kubota will fulfil the task according to my requirements and spec,” Nel says.
Nel says that the zero tail and boom-swing makes it an ideal machine for underground. “Kubota’s zero boom-swing allows the mini excavator to operate without having to move, while the zero tail-swing always keeps the tail of the mini excavator within track-width when swivelling. These features enable operation in tight and confined spaces,” he says.
Another one of the great advantages of the U-30 mini-excavator is its power to weight/size ratio adding to its effectiveness underground. “I have constructed a special spreader beam frame that ensures that the Kubota U-30 will always travel down the shaft 100% horizontal, without the slings in any way damaging any part of the unit.”
Kubota’s distributors Smith Power Equipment’s Sunee Heyns says that , where possible, they are always prepared to make customised changes to the spec of their machines. “In this case we engineered and supplied a bigger bucket for this machine which was done by our supplier Mario Meano Engineering and we also fitted the unit with rubber tracks.”
In addition Ruco Engineering, under Nel’s guidance, enhanced the cab safety of the machine to comply with the mine’s safety regulations.
“I see great potential for the Kubota mini-excavators and I look forward to working with Smith in designing modifications for a host of different applications,” Nel concluded.
This article was featured in the Crown.co.za website.
This article was feature in the HireSA – July 2015.