INRTU Researchers Improve Reliability of Mining Equipment for Russian Gold and Diamond Mining Companies

The team of the Department of Mining Machines and Electromechanical Systems at INRTU improves the reliability of excavators by controlling residual welding stresses in metal structures. Prospective research is carried out within the Priority 2030 Program.

According to Associate Professor Anatoly Makarov, INRTU have been working in the field of reliability and serviceability of mining equipment for over 50 years. On the basis of Yakutalmaz (now ALROSA), Irkutsk researchers prepared five candidate and four doctoral theses (V. Peretolchin, N. Strabykin, D. Makhno, A. Shadrin). At the moment, research is being conducted at the Aikhal and Udachninsky mining and processing plants.

As noted Vitalii Khramovskikh, Head of the Department, the team is focused on improving the reliability of quarry equipment. INRTU engineers are studying the distribution patterns of residual stresses in welded seams of metal structures caused by heating and cooling of sections and deformations.

"Under the action of internal stresses and external dynamic loads during the cold season, metal structures break down like glass. This leads to equipment downtime, time and financial losses. That is why partner companies have a need for systems and methods to determine when micro-cracks develop to the limit values, after which equipment failure will occur.

Previously, stress was measured by strain gauges, now we use computer modeling technologies, when we fully recreate the metal structure, determine the places of stress concentration and predict durability," explained Vitalii Khramovskikh.

INRTU engineers have developed and implemented a number of techniques to protect welded joints at sub-zero temperatures.

"We propose to relax the stress and reduce the amplitude of cyclic loads by preheating and treating the welded zone. In this way it is possible to reduce the value of residual stresses during cooling of steel structures. We also consider heat treatment of the weld zone at 650 °C for 2-3 minutes for each millimeter of metal thickness to be an effective method. The entire steel structure can be exposed to the effect

Our team has prepared recommendations on cold fracture reduction, use of specific materials and technology of welds. The proposals are in demand by mining companies operating in the abnormally low temperatures of the High North," Vitalii Khramovskikh announced the results of the research.

The project was further developed in Kirill Nepomnyashchikh's thesis. The graduate student is working on an algorithm for predicting the life of mining machines using tools and approaches of network science. This approach to analyzing a large amount of information from sensors will help to prevent emergency stops of equipment, to carry out maintenance and repair in time. The development of the methodology is commissioned by Polyus PJSC.