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Autowash Pty Ltd Tel 1300 661 238 www.autowash.com.au

Drive-through vehicle washing:
Are we there yet?
There is a quiet revolution sweeping Australia. It had a couple of false starts, but thanks to a strange request from the US military in 1990 to cut its teeth on, a US company, InterClean Inc, has made automatic vehicle washes a reality on mining wash pads. And since Autowash Pty Ltd found InterClean in 2008, mining wash pads are being automated across Australia – from BHP Cannington Mine in Queensland to the Chevron’s Gorgon project in WA.
he attraction of reduced labour, wash and queue times is bringing mining companies back to the ROI trough with the news of recent successes around the world of automation. Automation has failed in the past and will continue to fail with inexperienced operators. Many firms given the job to design and construct wash pads elect to build in-house rather than source equipment from wash manufacturers. Mine sites around Australia are littered with dormant wash pads which fail within 12 months. The 5 main challenges of automation are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ability to estimate and cater for the amount of dirt and the water required to remove the dirt The need and ability to recycle the volume of water required (over 1,000 litres/min) Ability to cater for the varying types of dirt from dust to coal The varying sizes of the vehicles to be cleaned The legal requirements to achieve effective oil and water separation in the disposal process.


InterClean has overcome not only the above challenges but also the increasing sceptism against automation. InterClean has installed over 500 automatic washes around the world. InterClean recently installed the largest truck wash facility in the world – at the Khumani Mine in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. This facility washes the 30 ft high haul trucks before their regular service and maintenance. Previously, the 200 and 400-ton haul trucks carrying ore from open pit mine to the processing facility were washed by manual labour, requiring hours and sometimes even days to complete a single wash, and risking injury to the workers who could fall from scaffolds and ladders. Now the truck simply drives through the wash sprays taking between 3 and 10 minutes. InterClean systems were also used at Ground Zero, to prevent cross-contamination and track-out problems similar to those faced today by most landfills, mines and quarries. The EPA and the environmental contractors turned to InterClean to provide tyre wash systems for the site. InterClean’s approach to the 5 challenges above is through a patented combination of

Vehicle Maintenance - Washing, Servicing and Repairing


rotating nozzles (Centri-Spinner™), water volume (high)/pressure (low) ratio and recycling system. According to Autowash, InterClean’s modular antiturbulent recycling system is the only system able to cope with the large volumes of water over the life of the machine. Autowash has been providing best of breed vehicle wash systems since 2003. But it wasn’t prepared to enter the heavy vehicle sector until 2008 when they were convinced of the effectiveness of the InterClean solution and were awarded the exclusive Australian distribution. Autowash has since installed systems for Australia’s leading mining operators including BHP, Chevron and Bechtel. The light vehicle wash installed at BHP’s Cannington mine (pictured right-middle) has significantly increased the life of their Toyota Hilux fleet, particularly due to the effectiveness of the InterClean underchassis wash. As well as the drive-through truck wash and tyre/ underchassis wash models, InterClean has also worked with Akron Brass to develop a robotic water cannon (pictured below). This cannon uses artificial intelligence to assess each vehicle and wash it in the most efficient manner.

Autowash Pty Ltd Phone 1300 661 238 info@autowash.com.au www.autowash.com.au Unit 22, 35-39 Higginbotham Road, Gladesville NSW 2111 Unit 17, 50 Kremzow Road, Brendale QLD 4500.

Olli Lamminen, founded InterClean Inc in 1984, and is the world’s leading authority on cleaning mining vehicles. Olli is so excited about what’s happening in Australia that he and his wife are coming to Australia on 19 April 2011 for a monthlong roadshow to meet with mine sites throughout Australia. If you would like to meet with Olli or to attend one of his presentations, please email Autowash on info@autowash.com.au with your contact details to register you interest and they will keep you abreast of Olli’s itinerary.

Australasian Mining Review 2011: 3rd edition

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