Open Cut

Quarter Scale Synthetic Rope Testing For Dragline Applications

Open Cut » Maintenance & Equipment

Published: January 15Project Number: C22022

Get ReportAuthor: Nick D'Arcy-Evans, Olaf Rutgrink | AMOG

This report presents the findings of an ACARP research study that continues the investigation, from ACARP project C20026, into the potential of synthetic ropes to provide productivity and safety improvements to mining dragline excavators.


This study focused on testing a scaled synthetic rope to see if it could withstand the load duties and harsh mine environment associated with a dragline application.


High performance synthetic fibre ropes have many properties that could be valuable to the mining industry, including favourable; mass/strength ratio, elasticity, ease of repair, corrosion resistance, increased fatigue life, and the potential for increase bucket payloads.  Using scale testing of Dynex synthetic fibre ropes, AMOG has been able to determine the expected life and wear characteristics of synthetic fibre ropes as the drag and hoist rope of a dragline excavator.


The testing was progressed through the design and construction of a testing rig, to conducting quarter scale tests of synthetic fibre rope under conditions and loads representative of the dragline hoist and drag ropes. The final stage of this study looked at options for further synthetic rope developments in addition to gauging interest in the industry for full scale field trials on electric rope shovels.


The key conclusions from this research are listed below:

(i) Current off-the-shelf High Modulus PolyEthylene (HMPE) synthetic ropes without jacketing do not provide sufficient abrasion resistance to be used during the worst case condition that a drag rope is subjected. Contact with abrasion material will dramatically decrease the ropes operational life as compared to a straight bending application.

(ii) The tested synthetic hoist rope surpassed the current average wire hoist rope, achieved 1.3 times

the current hoist steel wire rope life.

(iii) Excessive creep due to overheating of the ropes from sheave contact and high ambient temperatures is a limiting factor in the adoption of synthetic rope in hoist rope mine applications. The severity of the temperature on the rope creep could be combated by using alternate synthetic fibres or hybrid synthetic-steel rope, jacket solutions and/or sheave cooling mechanisms. Further testing would need to be conducted to determine the feasibility of such methods.

(iv) Splices and splice buried tails should be configured to ensure they do not pass onto sheaves as  

incorrect groove sizing can cause the rope to overheat and suffer premature failure.

Based on the findings of this research AMOG has identified the following key recommendations for further research and testing:

(i) Conduct workshops to develop a field testing methodology for synthetic ropes on electric rope shovels.

(ii) Develop a specification for using synthetic ropes on an electric rope shovel and include the machinery modifications that would be required to permit the current wire ropes to be replaced with synthetic ropes.

(iii)Conduct further scale testing using the testing rig developed during this research. These tests are recommended to cover a broader range of abrasion conditions with jacketed ropes in addition to investigating solutions to problems uncovered during this research. These scale tests should include:

● Scale steel wire rope tests to provide direct comparison to the  synthetic rope test  results achieved to date as well as providing for calibration of the test rig.

● Modification of the test rig to incorporate an intermediate sheave(s) to better represent the bend requirements of an electric shovel hoist rope. Electric shovel hoist rope tests should then be conducted on both scale synthetic fibre ropes and equivalent scale wire ropes to provide direct comparison between the two rope materials.

(iv) Investigate viable options to mitigate the rope creep effects due to high temperature. Potential

options are:

● Alternate synthetic fibre materials or hybrid synthetic-wire ropes that are more resilient to creep.

● Alternate sheave materials or sheave coatings to reduce the frictional effect.

● Rope jacketing to reduce frictional effects and minimise heat retention.

● Water cooling solution on section of rope passing over the sheaves to keep rope below temperature operating limits.

(v) Develop synthetic rope discard criteria for mining applications. The ability to accurately predict the remaining life and predicted failure location is extremely important for ropes used in mining applications. Through developing a thorough synthetic rope discard criteria, mining inspection and maintenance crew will be able to conduct accurate assessments of rope replacement requirements.

(vi) Conduct field trials on an electric shovel prior to any trials on a dragline. This would minimise any lost production Ume and provide lower risk. The field trials should be preceded by the scale hoist rope tests.



Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C26059Proof Of Concept Of The Electronic Spark Test Apparatus On Existing Known Power Supplies

This project continued a long running research program into an elect...

C26070Industrialisation Of Proof Of Concept Wall-Flow DOC + Filter System

The need to protect workers from diesel particulate matter (DPM) had...

C25001Ventilation And Gas Management - Underground Coal Mines

This planning guideline has been prepared to assist mine operators t...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26034Coking Properties Deterioration In Small Samples

Accurate evaluation of coking coal parameters at the exploration sta...

C23029Alternative And Sustainable Explosive Formulations To Eliminate Nitrogen Oxide Emissions

This technical report describes the technology of a novel mining exp...

C25005Site Based Trials Of Alternative Explosive Formulations To Eliminate Nitrogen Oxide Emissions

This report documents the outcomes of Phase 3 of this project and b...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C26009Improved Precision Of Determining Coal In Urban Dust

Dust samples collected in coastal locations using High Volume Air Sa...

C26015Novel Characterisation Of Coal Petrography For Improving The Dewatering Of Fine Coals Using Chemicals

This project aimed to develop alternatives to existing mechanical de...

C26014Low Cost Online Measurement Of Particle Size And Density For Diagnostics Across The Fine Coal Circuit

This project has developed a novel prototype optical system for prof...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26045Mineralogy Effects On The 3D Porosity Evolution Of Coke And Coke Reactivity

CRI/CSR CO2 combustion data are key metrics of coke quality and perf...

C25049Fusibility Of Coal Blends And Minerals In Coking

The CSIRO optical reflected light imaging CGA (Coal Grain Analysis) ...

C25045Stage Two - Assessment Of In Situ High-Temperature Strength Of Cokes

Stage I of this project established a reliable and repeatable proces...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

C27008Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids

The connection of a ventilation air methane (VAM) abatement plant di...

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook