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Minerals and the era of the great tunnels

Everything comes together

What do you associate the word anchor with? If with the mounting and bonding then you are on the right track. An anchor is probably the most commonly used fastener in building structures. With the anchor, it is possible to achieve stable and robust fastenings for a wide variety of applications. Two types of anchors can be distinguished:

mechanical anchors, whose history began in 1934 thanks to the Rawlplug company and today these anchors are widely used in construction, for example
pasted which were first used in the construction of the Olympic Stadium in Munich 51 years ago, and which cope very well with vibrations and pull-outs, hence they are often used in tunnel construction or in the mining industry.

We’ll focus more on those. Chemical screw anchors, as these will be of particular interest to us, work by adhesion. Adhesion is nothing but a surface bonding between two substances. It consists in the adhesion of layers of bodies to each other as a result of intermolecular interactions and the formation of non-permanent chemical bonds in the combined layer.

This surface attraction is the action between the mixture and the wall. The adhesive charge itself consists of a mastic and a catalyst, which is a certain hardener.All of these processes, before they are put into use, need to be properly tested. Aging tests, heat tests, sample hardening are the daily bread of the anchor industry. It all sounds complicated, but in practice it’s a simple matter.

Minerals and the era of the great tunnels

Anchors are an indispensable element in the construction of tunnels, both road, railway or canal. The mining industry is also keen to use these soil stabilisation solutions to improve safety when sinking shafts, excavating new cross-cuts or rehabilitating shafts in the mining industry. The world at that time is rushing forward hard. The growth of transportation and the desire to get everywhere and fast has caused a boom in tunnel construction.

This is especially true in Europe, where a large number of tunnels and viaducts have been built recently (Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland). A good example of this is the metro, which every major city in the world has. Many modern metropolises are expanding them, and smaller cities want to catch up with the giants and have their own underground public transport system. The mining industry has been doing just as well recently. Especially the extraction of minerals and natural resources of the earth. All of this is brought together by DSI Underground, a company that is an expert in mining and tunnelling.

DSI Underground

had an opportunity to visit DSI Underground Chemicals sp. z o. o. in Mikołów, which is a division of the international DSI UNDERGROUND GROUP, our customer. The company’s origins date back to 1865, when Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG was founded in Karlsruhe, Germany. The first DSI companies were founded in the 1970s using the know-how of Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG, and by 2000 the DSI network already comprised more than 50 companies. The company has recently become part of international concern – Sandvik. What is the scope of our client?

DSI Underground is passionate about advances in underground technologies. He helps his clients work faster, smarter, safer and more sustainably. As the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of rock anchors and chemical materials for mining, it offers reliable solutions to enhance safety and productivity.

More than tens of thousands of anchoring adhesive loads leave the DSI Underground Chemicals facility daily. The machines are capable of producing as much as 21 meters of load per minute. Where does Pol-Eko-Aparatura stand in all this? Nowhere else but in the lab.

Busy dryer

Drying ovens are devices which need no special introduction among our customers. We had the opportunity to explore some of their detailed applications in user research. What does he use the drying oven of our production DSI Underground, with which they equipped their laboratory? The SLW 53 drying oven at DSI does not complain about a lack of work as it carries out very many processes in it. Among other things, it is used for aging tests of the polyester resin material, which is a key component of the chemical anchor. For example, the material is held at temperatures up to 70°C to test when it reaches the useless stage.

Other tests performed on the unit are moisture tests, in this case, lime flours. To illustrate the process – 100g of the product is poured into a suitable container and dried at 120°C for 5 days, after which the remaining grams are checked. The most frequent tests are long-term tests at 40°C. We are pleased that a big advantage for the customer is that the dryer reaches the set temperature quickly and is very intuitive. An advantage of the device is also a modern controller enabling e. g. event log, which in the case of long-lasting tests gives the user certainty that information about when and at what time some accidents occurred will be recorded.

Temperature matters

As you can see from the customer testing, the temperature is key. The question is, why? The answer is simple. DSI Underground supplies its products to customers all over the world. These include (in addition to tunnel-building companies) Russian nickel mines, Spanish potash mines, gold mines in Peru, and mines in the Arctic Circle.

Due to the different temperature conditions at customers’ premises, the product has to be adapted. Any adhesive load for anchoring has a different gel time depending on what temperature it will be working in. Logically this will happen slower in the Arctic Circle due to the cold temperatures. Mines, where temperatures of 40°C are a daily occurrence, have different needs.

Therefore, all product tests are carried out by the company at the right temperature for each location, which is made possible by the device we manufacture.

DSI Schaum Chemie spółka z o.o.

In addition to DSI Underground Chemicals, Mikołów is also home to DSI Schaum Chemie, which is currently a leader in the production of polyurethane resin systems used in mining, tunneling, and underground construction. The company also manufactures organic-mineral, phenolic and urea systems. 

Chemical resins are used to strengthen and consolidate rock mass, as well as to seal rock.

DSI Shaum Chemie has in its laboratory thermostatic devices manufactured by Pol-Eko-Aparatura. Among other things, they use a laboratory incubator for temperature tests or aging tests. All types of reagents that require a lower temperature are stored in the laboratory refrigerator. The lab also uses an ultra low-temperature freezer for aging tests, frost resistance tests, and strength tests.

We are pleased to have among our satisfied customers an international company whose products affect our daily lives. Maybe not directly, but probably no one can imagine life without the possibility of movement – road above all, and without using the benefits of the earth in the form of mineral resources.

Magdalena Figura- Łyżwa

Magdalena Figura- Łyżwa

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