Fastening systems innovator Segnut has been buoyed by results achieved during recent trials of its world-first, patented threaded nut system in the mining and construction industries.


Segnut nut system proves a winner in real world trials

Positive testing of the product at Rio Tinto’s Bell Bay Aluminium refinery in northern Tasmania and the Infrabuild steel recycling facility in Laverton, Victoria, will see wider application of the Segnut technology at both sites.

The Segnut significantly cuts the time taken to remove seized and damaged nuts reducing maintenance downtime and boosting productivity. It also eliminates the need for hazardous removal methods such as oxy cutting, hydraulic nut splitting and angle grinding, making nut removal significantly safer.

The Segnut has a patented inner section consisting of three segments held captive by an outer retaining sleeve. When the outer sleeve is turned a few degrees in the tightening direction, the Segnut releases from the bolt and falls away. This means a damaged nut can be removed without it having to travel back up the bolt thread.

At Bell Bay Aluminium, Segnuts were used to secure wear plates on the paste mixers as part of the carbon anode manufacturing process. They were operated at temperatures in excess of 250 degrees C.

The securing bolts must be removed from the inside of the machine, making periodic removal of the plates difficult and time-consuming. It also required maintenance personnel to work in confined spaces and make use of high-risk oxy acetylene cutting.

Segnut provided a solution that removed the need for dangerous high-energy removal methods and significantly shortened the change-out downtime.

“Being a smelting environment with multiple risks surrounding fumes and hot works in the same place, elimination of these practices in the refinery is a high safety priority for the Bell Bay team,” said Segnut Managing Director, David Izzard.

“Introducing Segnut has been a major step towards achieving that goal. Segnut will now be added to the site’s inventory management system and will be a regular supply item for day-to-day operations”.

An in-service trial at Infrabuild’s Laverton steel recycling facility measured the Segnut’s performance as a fastener in extreme conditions. The nuts were used to secure the water-filled insulating jacket on a furnace running at 1300 degrees C, with the nuts themselves exposed to temperatures as high as 450 degrees C.

After eight weeks, tests showed that the nuts’ oxide coating remained intact and that the structural integrity of the nut had not been compromised.

These latest trials are amongst several conducted in recent months.

Segnut Director Product Development, Tom Baskovich, said tests using the nuts on D10 Dozers at a gold mine in Western Australia delivered a 79 per cent reduction in the time taken to remove the nuts from a cutting-edge blade and also eliminated critical health and safety issues.

“The application of Segnuts on loaders at a quarry in South Australia, where a spate of serious lost time injuries had occurred, succeeded in eliminating high risk nut removal methods and brought industry recognition with a Health and Safety Innovation Award.

“Further trials have been run in an impact crusher, which is a very extreme, high impact loading environment, as well as on front-end loaders and vibratory screens with Segnut delivering safety, time and labour savings”.

Baskovich sayid the trials have helped Segnut to understand the challenges presented by harsh mining environments and enabled it to further engineer the product to solve specific problems.