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It has been 10 years since Osborn added equipment from Canadian hydraulic breaker specialist BTI to its underground offering. Demand for the robust range has increased steadily ever since, says Casper Booyse, product sales manager for Osborn’s BTI equipment.

Bulk materials handling equipment manufacturer Osborn first started handling sales and marketing in sub-Saharan Africa for its sister company Breaker Technology Limited (BTI) – which is also a member of the Astec Industries Group of companies – in 2002. Since then, Osborn has achieved substantial growth of BTI’s business in the region. In addition to hydraulic breakers, BTI’s underground equipment range also includes underground utility vehicles, mobile rock breakers, stationary and portable rock breaker systems and mobile scalers.

Booyse says BTI equipment is highly sought-after, primarily because it is well suited to even the most arduous underground operating conditions, including South Africa’s gold mines. “Recent finite element analysis undertaken by BTI has further enhanced its features and performance. The simple construction of the rock breakers ensures reliability and low maintenance. Simplicity of design is, in fact, a key element of the BTI breaker system,” Booyse notes. “The breaker’s control valve also features a simple design to minimise cavitation, thereby reducing hydraulic component wear and increasing the efficiency and lifespan,” he adds.

Another noteworthy feature of the breaker system is its power-to-weight ratio. “This offers significant benefits to customers, since larger, more powerful hammers can be mounted on smaller excavators or boom systems, resulting in reduced overall cost to the end user.”

Standard features on all models include a nitrogen cushion chamber designed to absorb piston recoil and recycle the energy to increase the output energy on the next blow, dual retainer pins to ensure positive tool alignment and easy tool replacement; short tie rods that utilise protected threads to yield long life and high reliability, and a protected lubrication point.

Booyse says that mobile and fixed hydraulic rock breakers are increasingly being used for reducing oversize material underground, rather than secondary blasting, which was once the norm. “The use of hydraulic rock breakers is a growing trend, as more mines recognise the advantages, both in terms of efficiency, safety and increased production,” he comments. “BTI’s rock breaker systems minimise disruptive, costly and unsafe blasting, providing an efficient, safer alternative. Rock breakers provide for selective breaking, as opposed to the indiscriminate nature of blasting. This can allow for improved material grades to be mined, which brings higher sales revenue.”

Sidebar: What and where

  • The BTI BX and BXR range of rock breakers comprise 14 models, from 550 joules to 21 500 joules energy class, with most also available in box-style configurations.
  • BTI’s TM series of mobile rock breakers is a heavy duty, low profile vehicle specifically designed for breaking oversize materials in underground applications.
The BTI scalers and rock breakers are employed underground once blasting has been completed. Scaling is the removal of insecure material from the back, sidewalls and face. Making the drift or tunnel safe for the next operation is the main purpose of scaling.

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