WEARITE research study with UQMP
Examining the application of polymer bushings in mining equipment
At ZEMEK, we don't just offer solutions we create them. To ensure we stay on the cutting edge of mining equipment and technology, we collaborate with world-class leaders and academics to design and develop mining equipment.
We're currently collaborating with UQ Materials Performance (UQMP) a professional engineering consultancy and research business based at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. UQMP's expertise centres around materials and metallurgical engineering, failure analysis, durability and degradation of metals and polymers.
In our study with UQMP, we're examining the benefits and application of WEARITE polymer bushings in mining machinery. In this post, we'll explain more about WEARITE technology and the research project.
What is WEARITE?
WEARITE is a thermo polymer product with advanced mechanical and chemical properties. Used widely as an alternative to steel, brass and bronze, WEARITE can run without lubrication for up to 18 months. Its light weight makes for easy handling, while low surface friction minimises wear on mining components. WEARITE is used for a range of polymer mining parts, including Excavator H Link and dog bones bushing, shovel dipper door bushing, and shovel equaliser bushing.
In over 40 years of supplying and repairing mining equipment, lubrication failure is the most common problem we see with bronze, brass and steel bushings. That's why, at ZEMEK, we prefer polymer bushings made from our proprietary product, WEARITE.
In field trials conducted on the H Links of Hitachi 5600 & Hitachi 3600 excavators, we found that WEARITE polymer bushings outperformed steel bushings by 4-6 times. Similar results were found when we tested polymer bushings on the H Links and dog bones of various other brands of excavators.
While improving the lifecycle performance of these joints alone can lead to significant cost savings, we want to go one step further. Our goal is to complete the front end of an excavator by using advanced polymer bushings in the stick and bucket lugs. This would prevent unscheduled stoppage if lubrication lines were destroyed in operation (a common and costly occurrence) and, in turn, save mines millions of dollars each year.
Every hour a machine is not operational, mines lose at least $10,000. Not to mention the additional costs of standing down trucks and other services. WEARITE polymer bushings can operate until at least the next scheduled maintenance day without any lubrication or damage to bores, pins or other components.
Our primary aim is to help customers increase efficiency and reduce downtime by educating them on the benefits of our advanced polymer bushings. From our own in-house testing, we know that WEARITE bushings are superior to traditional steel. However, we also know that progressive products are best received when backed by research. That's why we've enlisted UQMP to help prove the benefits of ZEMEK's polymer bushings.
Over the course of the 12-month project, UQMP will help us determine any possible limitations to our polymer bushings by collating scientific data on where they work most effectively, where they don't, and why. This information will help us continually refine our polymer mining products and offer proven, industry-first solutions to our valued customers. Stay tuned for the results of the study!