Features, Repair and maintenance

“Accurate adjustments are essential”

Johnson Industries, an expert in industrial brake systems, discusses how it keeps some of the most important equipment in Australian mining operating safely and efficiently.

The mining industry is powered by large and technologically impressive machines, and making sure they’re regularly maintained is essential for safety.

But maintenance means downtime, leaving mining companies to walk the line between maximising production and keeping machines running in tip top shape.

Safe to Work sat down with Johnson Industries chief executive officer Lawrence Johnson to discuss the maintenance of industrial brakes, and what the company is doing to keep its mining industry customers safe. 

“Industrial brakes, like any other equipment, require monitoring and periodic adjustment,” Johnson said.

“The most important parameter to watch on any properly functioning industrial brake is the air-gap between pads and disc. The air-gap is usually set during commissioning, but will increase as pads wear. 

“Maintenance personnel must periodically measure this gap and adjust the pad positioning to reset it. Failure to do so will result in reduced brake torque, and hence poorer performance.”

Johnson Industries industrial brakes can be found at most of the major mine sites around Australia in applications like ball mills, semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mills, conveyor systems, wheel grippers on rail systems, and general crane applications. 

“We specialise in making custom brakes for larger industrial applications,” Johnson said. 

“Our goal is to make our brakes as reliable as possible, minimising downtime a mine may experience due to faulty brakes.” 

When it comes to maintaining these industrial brakes, quality and consistency go hand-in-hand. Failure to adequately maintain brakes can lead to incidents such as conveyor runaways, which can have catastrophic consequences for assets and worker safety. 

“Properly functioning brakes are crucial for safe equipment operation, so accurate adjustments are essential. Otherwise, damage and downtime may occur,” Johnson said.

“In some cases, inadequately trained personnel conducting these adjustments make mistakes or even neglect the equipment due to fear of making a mistake.

“To help train workers and give them the confidence to work on our brakes, we offer written manuals with clear instructions on adjustment procedures. 

“On request, we can provide maintenance lectures, on-site installation supervision, maintenance personnel training and start-up support. We can also perform inspections, adjustments, and maintenance services for our braking systems.”  

The intelligent design of Johnson Industries brakes also helps lift some of the load when it comes to maintenance. 

“Our direct-acting brakes have removable actuators to make shoe and actuator replacement easy, and our lever brakes are highly serviceable, also permitting shoe replacement without removal of the entire brake movement,” Johnson said.

“Lastly, in the case of some of our electrically actuated brakes, self-adjusting mechanisms are used to maintain the correct air-gap.

“This means the brakes can automatically adjust as the brake pads wear down. That way, machines can run for longer without losing brake torque.”

Johnson Industries has a decades-old presence in the US, as well as an expanding role in the Australian market. Brakes are often the last line of defence in the event of a mechanical fault, so their upkeep is critical. Johnson Industries is making maintenance more approachable with its premium-quality braking systems and helpful network of experts. 

This feature also appears in the Januar-February issue of Safe to Work.

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