The new product development (NPD) team at the Bridon Technology Centre (BTC), which is based in Doncaster, UK, has developed and produced the Bristar hybrid core rope solution which in the future may enable Bridon to create longer, stronger and lighter ropes in response to the mining industry’s requirements.
The oil and gas and underground mining industries are trending to deep and ultra-deep depths, typically greater than 2,000m. Providing steel ropes for deeper waters and deep mining shafts is a complex exercise, as the longer the rope, the heavier it gets – limiting the depth to which a conventional steel rope can be utilised. Using fibre ropes as a substitute for steel ropes is an attractive solution but a number of challenges still remain with regards to robustness, handling in service and established discard criteria.
Bridon said that developing the hybrid solution offers the advantage of combining the robustness of steel and weight saving properties of fibre. As modern fibres are as strong as steel but significantly lighter and more flexible, replacing some of the rope’s steel components with fibre makes perfect sense.
Following comprehensive internal testing, a trial 42mm triangular six-strand rope with a hybrid fibre core has now been successfully manufactured and installed at a gold mine in South Africa.
Lee Bailey, Bridon’s regional sales manager in Africa, whose clients in the mining sector regularly experience difficulties in reaching deeper depths, said: “No one else in the industry has been able to replicate this. Hybrid ropes are a real plus for our mining customers as they offer so many advantages over traditional steel ropes.
“In a conventional fibre core rope, the fibre centre is there only to support the outer strand of the rope and offers no additional strength. Utilising a Bristar hybrid core contributes additional breaking load to the rope and therefore reduces the overall stresses in the steel wires whilst the rope is in service. The major benefits of a Bristar hybrid core over a conventional fibre core rope include: even load distribution, equalised strand gaps and controlled strand positioning, improved diameter stability and reduced elongation which ultimately equates to increased service life.
“Our hybrid rope is set to revolutionise the industry. There are so many benefits to the new hybrid core and our customers will in the future have the option to increase payloads at their mines and thus increase productivity, or maintain existing payloads and achieve significantly higher working lives on their ropes.”