Mine Support Products (MSP) has officially launched a first-of-its-kind onsite dynamic testing facility in the Southern Hemisphere.This is a breakthrough that proves that the company’s products go beyond the standards required for underground support systems. Vereeniging-based MSP is a globally recognised manufacturer of products and solutions for underground mining applications, and is jointly owned by international manufacturing and engineering company DCD Group, and Robor – a world class manufacturer and supplier of welded steel tube and pipe, cold formed steel profiles and associated value added products. The revolutionary new dynamic testing facility consists of a vertical press that is able to accurately simulate underground seismic activity by testing static loads of up to 100 tons and dynamic loads of 40 tons at 3-meters-per-second. It was officially launched by MSP at a special ceremony hosted onsite by the company on 23 October 2013. MSP general manager Conrad Engelbrecht states that the press can test units up to 4,2m in length, and allows MSP to test the compliance of its support units in accordance with the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA). “This is the first time since the decommissioning of the Terratec press at the CSIR seven years ago that a company is able to test in compliance with the MHSA.” According to Engelbrecht, MSP has invested approximately R3,5-million in the dynamic testing facility, which has taken three years from concept to completion. “A major advantage of the dynamic testing facility is the fact that we can physically test all of our products in ‘real-life’ applications, as opposed to relying solely on computer software simulations.” The MSP vertical press consists of a top platen that can be adjusted for different sized samples to be tested. A bottom base housing the hydraulic cylinder extends 3,5 m underground and has a moveable middle platen. Hydraulic oil is pressurised and stored inside two large hydraulic accumulators, this allows for enough energy to be stored to produce the 6850–per-minute needed to achieve 3-metres-per-second movement of the middle platen. The oil is released into the cylinder via two 100 mm logic valves, which is the largest in Africa.
Engelbrecht adds: “When the oil is released at such high speeds and pressure, it causes the middle platen to jolt up at 3-metres-per-second, which simulates various degrees of seismic activity that may be encountered underground.”What’s more, Engelbrecht points out that the middle platen of the press moves up from the bottom at 30-mm-per-minute during the static load testing at up to 100 tons of force.”A load deformation graph is then plotted for analyses.” MSP selected Gauteng Metrology Services to design, manufacture and install the in-house hydraulic press. “The company boasts in-depth skills and expertise with regards to this type of equipment, and is also responsible for its calibration and certification,” notes Engelbrecht. Looking to the future, Engelbrecht believes that the MSP in-house dynamic testing facility will add substantial value to the company’s product and service offering. “This facility enables us to work closely with rock engineers to determine exactly what they require for their specific project. It also places MSP in the unique position of being the only company in the local market that can fully substantiate its product quality in terms of physical testing.” Engelbrecht stresses the fact that the MSP dynamic testing facility has been developed specifically for inhouse quality control and product development purposes only. “The facility will not be used for income generation, or to undertake any testing on competitor products,” he concludes.