Plastics are employed for a variety of applications in the mining industry, primarily for bulk material handling and transport.
Material such as UHMW, nylon, and HDPE are excellent for liners in rail cars and trucks, as well as sheaves, gears and other wear-resistant parts, which must operate in harsh environments while moving and aggregating bulk materials in continuous operation.
Plastics are ideal for mining equipment due to their wear-resistance, impact-resistance, and thermal mitigation properties.
In addition, their resistance to corrosion and water allow them to perform better than metal components in sifting, cutting, cleaning, and transport.
Australian Mining Review spoke to McNeall Plastics, a wholly Australian-owned and operated plastics manufacturing and engineering business with nearly 50 years of experience across industrial plastics.
More about McNeall Plastics
The company manufactures custom cast components. The Austlon® cast nylon products are Australian-made, manufactured in-house at its NSW headquarters.
According to sales engineer Damon Taheri, the cast nylon components are the preferred industrial plastic, and can be found in almost every industry: from mining and materials handling, through to construction, transportation, infrastructure and more.
“Here at McNeall Plastics we provide a complete and integrated plastics engineering service: from design through to custom cast components machining, and more,” he said.
“Our extensive industry experience, integrated approach and commitment to innovation ensure we maintain superior standards of service and Australian manufacturing while continuing to be agile and responsive to our customers.”
McNeall Plastics and Mining
Damon said McNeall Plastics has extensive experience across the mining industry.
“Not only do we have ample experience and knowledge of the mining sector in Australia, but we also export our products to mines across the globe: from Russia, to USA, Canada and more,” he said.
“In our work with the mining sector, we are able to replace components which are traditionally made of brass or bronze, with Austlon®.”
Damon said the benefits of replacing components traditionally made of metals with Austlon®, are numerous and include:
- Cost savings over the long-term as Austlon® lasts longer than other alternatives
- Contribution to a reduction in an organisation’s labour costs with regards to replacement
- Reduced maintenance costs due to its longevity and quality
- A higher degree of ease and safety as it is a lighter weight material
Some of the components McNeall Plastics engineer for the mining industry include, but are not limited to:
- Bale arm bushes
- Equaliser bushes
- Wear pads
- Wear plates
- Polyurethane buffers
- Sheaths for drilling machines
- Sliding blocks
McNeall’s clients have included giants such as BlueScope Steel, BHP, YanCoal, and Glencore.
A Bit About Austlon®
AustLon® is a high grade engineering plastic manufactured exclusively by McNeall Plastics.
It is a monomer cast nylon produced by a unique process known as activated anionic adiabatic polymerisation.
This method of nylon production results in a highly crystalline engineering plastic, which means it is tougher and more wear-resistant.
“Austlon® provides mining organisations with components that will outperform and outlast any other alternative materials,” Damon said.
“It has consistently proven itself to be the preferred material where issues stemming from abrasive wear, impact strength, bearing strength, noise, weight and corrosion have been difficult to resolve.
“In addition, AustLon® provides superior performance — with and without lubrication — in a range of applications, in particular as a bearing material.
“It is lightweight, offers extremely good wear and abrasion resistance, high mechanical strength and high modulus of elasticity when compared to other industrial plastics.”
Other advantages of AustLon® include:
- High impact resistance
- Excellent noise reduction and vibration dampening
- Resistance to brittleness and UV deterioration
- Low friction due to high lubricity
- Exceptional machinability
- Suitable for the food industry
- Flexibility of design
- Resistance to chemicals and corrosion
“Plus, AustLon® is Australian-made, with 100% of production done in-house at our NSW headquarters,” Damon said. “With AustLon®, mining organisations don’t need to worry about any potential disruption or delay to supply, or be concerned about a lack of quality.
“When mining organisations choose AustLon® and McNeall Plastics, they can be confident they are selecting an engineering plastics partner that outsmarts and outperforms the rest.”
One and OnlyMcNeall is unique: it’s the ONLY company in Australia which has the capability and capacity to pour large and complex nylon products up to a size of 3000mm x 3000mm.
Managing Director Josh Budd elaborates: “Unrestrained by size or design constraints, our experienced and knowledgeable engineers can work with mining organisations to design, engineer and manufacture custom cast parts, according to business needs.”
Josh said there were numerous benefits of choosing McNeall Plastics for custom casting.
“With custom casting the design possibilities are limitless. Our experienced engineers work with our customers to conceptualise and deliver according to their business needs,” he said.
“This service, combined with our state-of-the-art machining capabilities, means we can provide all component solutions, including CNC milling, turning and component assembly.
“As we are an Australian-owned business that designs and manufactures in house, we can guarantee reliable supply and a quick turnaround time, as well as timely and responsive service.
“And with two headquarters in Australia, companies can be sure they will receive their order, on time, every time.
“And last but not least, our team’s dedication to customer satisfaction and superior customer service is supported by our comprehensive end-to-end quality assurance for every single component we produce.”
There is no doubt that there are a multitude of benefits in choosing to buy Australian-made products.
“As our manufacturing is done in-house, our customers don’t have to worry about any potential disruption or delay to supply,” Josh said.
“And when it comes to our components, everything we produce is done to Australian Standards, both from a safety, quality and environmental perspective, which means better value for money for our customers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, and its resultant disruption to supply chains has seen an increase in the demand for Australian-made products.
“With us, customers can be assured they can continue to operate at a ‘business as usual’ capacity, as our in-house manufacturing ensures reliable supply and quick turnaround times.
“In particular, with mining we have seen an increase in the number of mining companies seeking replication of OEM parts they have been unable to source due to supply chain issues. “Not only have we resolved the supply issue, but in most of these cases we have also improved the design to an extent that the mining companies are now opting to remove the OEM part numbers from their machine drawings, replacing them with MNP Austlon® part numbers.”
Josh said that alongside the benefits of buying Australian-made products, are the service benefits of working with an Australian-owned business.
“Not only do our customers benefit from home-grown expertise and industry knowledge, but here at McNeall Plastics, we have a long-term vested interest in knowing how to best serve our customers,” he said.
“We’re here from start to finish. From concept to delivery, and beyond. We’re here for the long-term relationship, not just a quick sale.”
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