When it comes to safety, efficiency and productivity in underground environments, it pays to use an engineering company that thinks outside the box.
“Tunnel vision” is the last thing that Quattro Project Engineering has when it comes to
solving underground infrastructure issues.
The team prides itself on developing better ways of doing things and in doing so has
revisited how underground services are hung and braced.
Having designed and installed tens of thousands of metres of underground pipe
work across Australia, Quattro Project Engineering has come up with a solution
that significantly reduces the time and cost associated with underground pipework
Quattro Project Engineering’s QClaw and QBrace constitute a structurally certified
pipe hanging, bracing and installation system for underground infrastructure that
is cheaper, neater, faster and safer to use.
Two rock bolts have historically been used per line of support in underground
pipework infrastructure and this new innovative system halves the drilling and
installation of rock bolts by creating a single line of support.
The QClaw’s ability to hug the pipe greatly improves the ease of pipe suspension and
it integrates seamlessly with the QBrace, which allows bracing to be fitted quickly,
consistently and effectively where required.
The QBrace itself is a lightweight, multidirectional tensile bracing arrangement
that is easy to install with no requirement for custom pipe fabrications allowing it
to be installed seamlessly with the QClaw anywhere along the reticulation system.
The lengths of each brace can be adjusted to suit site conditions while the system’s
symmetry resolves loads in any direction.
To facilitate installation of underground infrastructure, the QMEWP is the industry’s
first certified and registered AS1418.10 compliant arrangement utilising Integrated
Developed in response to a change to statutory requirements relating to working
at heights in an underground environment, the QMEWP supports single, twin or charge
up arrangements allowing all manner of underground mining activity to be completed with full compliance.
When combined with the QPHA, the pipe handling aide, underground crews can
install the pipe support system safely and efficiently with minimal material handling.
The solution is simple in is application.
Rock bolts can be marked out, pre-drilled and installed, allowing pipe runs to be dead
The pipe is transported on custom pallets, before being rigged and lifted without the
requirement for manual handling.
The pipes are then placed in the QPHA allowing them to be easily manipulated
into position before the clasp portion in the Claw is installed, with one bolt to finish off.
Quattro Project Engineering performed recent installation work involving several
kilometres of 10” pipes, inclusive of ANSI flanges, in an underground environment in
The magnitude of the installation was a huge challenge to say the least.
The QClaw/QBrace system, installed using the QMEWP and QPHA, saw Quattro Project
Engineering successfully double installation rates typically seen with smaller gauge pipe
in underground areas.
The peak installation rate achieved was 200m bored, bolted and hung in a 24-hour
The reduction in manual handling and time spent working at heights have seen
significant reductions in exposure hours, further enhancing operational safety.
This improvement in installation times allows service crews more time to focus
on other operational activities with less time and money spent on infrastructure
Quattro Project Engineering’s Managing Director, Jeremy Palmer, says the team
are constantly looking at safer and more efficient ways to do things.
“Since inception, we have always looked to improve and enhance the way things are
done,” he said.
“So much advancement is being experienced through the benefits of electrical and control
technology, however, in an underground environment, mechanical initiatives still
have a place at the table and can offer huge benefit to operators.
“As such, our people continue to analyse and question and will always be encouraged
to do so – that process drives change and innovation.
“Our product designs are developed with input from operational personnel to
ensure that they are not only technically proficient, but are workable, practical
and meet their most critical objective – to make underground mining safer and more
Quattro Project Engineering is a contract services company offering consulting
engineering, product development and sales, as well as construction and operational
support to the underground, metalliferous mining industry.
It forms part of the engineering and construction arm of the longstanding, Tier 1 mining contractor Byrnecut Group of Companies, allowing Quattro Project Engineering to draw from the vast experience and diverse expertise across the group and offer turnkey projects to clients.
The QProducts™ range have been developed from the pursuit of improved operational safety and efficiency, a changing legislative environment and the critique of
Mr Palmer says the company plans to expand its build-own-and-operate contracting
model for underground paste backfill, while continuing to offer turnkey solutions for all
“Sites are realising the significant benefis of the QClaw/QBrace system and starting to
adopt it for systems such as raw water and rising mains,” he said.
“This is another area we are focused on going forward and we are always looking
for ways to innovate our way around the challenges of underground.
“Safety is a serious issue and we want to leave a legacy behind that markedly changes
the nature of underground infrastructure, in terms of how it is designed, manufactured
“We are currently developing and trialling new products and we are constantly liaising
with our operational personnel about the issues they face and how they can be
“Being brave enough to challenge convention and try new things will always
be in our DNA.”