From haul trucks to excavators, dozers and drilling rigs – mobile machines are a major contributor to noise. Complying with workplace noise requirements can be challenging, especially on a mine site where equipment generates excessive noise.
Within the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, coal mining operations have strict noise limits due to proximity to residential communities. Managing the impact of workplace noise is essential for environmental compliance, and the social licence to operate. To maintain safety and wellbeing – and a strong relationship with local residents – an effective noise management solution is required.
A traditional “one-type-fits-all” noise control solution on haul trucks can cost up to $200,000 and add four tonnes of extra equipment. This can cause both accessibility issues and maintenance challenges that can ultimately impact vehicle performance and payload. Visual obstruction and confined space within the engine bay, also makes it tough for maintenance staff to access the engine bay and keep it clean and free from oil. As a result, the vehicle has high potential to overheat leading to increased risk of fire. In this instance, it was clear there was a need for a light-weight, cost-effective muffler design that could reduce noise whilst improving safety for mine site workers and maintenance teams.
The team at Hushpak Engineering, part of the Advitech Group, specialise in noise control for the mining, manufacturing and construction industries. After identifying a gap in the market, the team partnered with world-renowned expects in muffler analytics to design a product that reduced noise emissions without increasing back pressure – an issue which would commonly lead to increased fuel consumption and diesel exhaust emissions.
Realising the shortfalls of many traditional mufflers, Hushpak designed a muffler system for a range of mobile machine engines that achieved a superior level of noise attenuation. In addition to ease of installation, this muffler had minimal impact on engine back pressure.
To comply with noise limits, Hushpak installed a custom-designed muffler to a CAT 793D haul truck. Installation of the muffler package achieved the target noise level immediately and without adjustment, allowing the truck to go into operation in the shortest possible time. The new muffler reduced the noise level of the machine by up to 6 dB(A), which is equivalent to halving the perceived noise level.
The new design added significantly less weight to the vehicle, increasing payload and decreasing wear and tear. Guardrails and a muffler cover were also installed to improve both safety and ease of access during maintenance. The team have since equipped a number of different mobile machines with similar muffler designs and continue to meet or exceed the level of noise reduction required.
For the machine operator, the result is lower occupational noise levels and reduced risk of fire. For mine owners and operators, it means their team can operate for longer due to compliances to specified noise limits. When it comes to the environment and the community, there’s less fuel consumption, noise and emissions. The custom-designed muffler has improved safety whilst also making a positive impact on operational efficiency, maintenance and serviceability in the Hunter Valley region and beyond. Due to the success of the design, the mufflers can now be installed on mobile machines at mine sites across Australia.
For more information on how Hushpak can improve safety and reduce noise on your site, visit advitechgroup.com.au/about/Hushpak or call 02 4964 4000.