Chute Technology a four-time finalist at the 2015 Mining Prospect Awards

Chute Design

Dust and product spillage waste water and energy while creating environmental issues

A transfer station, top left and dust issues that can be solved with Chute Technology’s innovations, top right, were amongst the finalist at the Mining Prospect Awards

2015 Mining Prospect Awards Finalist

Chute Technology has been highly successful this year, being selected four times as a finalist in the 2015 Mining Prospect Awards. Its materials handling technology that solves major dust and spillage issues was a finalist in both the environmental management category and the minerals processing category. Also a finalist in the minerals processing was the smooth flowing low-height transfer chute and the multidirectional chute.

The Prospect Awards are the largest national mining awards, and recognise industry leaders in safety, technology and innovation. This year they were held at the Sofitel in Sydney’s CBD and hosted by TV personality Rob Carlton.

“To be recognised, and four times too, for our material handling and environmental innovations was a great honour,” said Mr Tom Woods, Principal Partner, Chute Technology.

“The whole Chute Technology team works very hard to gain extra efficiency and productivity for our customers, while keeping costs to a minimum and reducing environmental impacts. I think this award is a great recognition of that hard work,” he said.

Dust and Spillage technologies

Ore and coal materials handling technologies that solve major dust and spillage problems while also boosting production are being advanced by the Chute Technology engineering group as a solution to issues increasingly confronting Australasian and international producers.

Chute Technology, which has just been named a finalist in the Hunter Manufacturing Awards, has packages that employ the best current technologies developed from proven installations in alumina, iron and other mineral ores and coal handling facilities at mines, energy plants and ports to tackle dust problems at their source rather than attempt to control dust after it has been created and dispersed into the atmosphere.

The same technologies can be applied to inlet, hood, chute, spoon, enclosure and saturation zones to address widespread spillage hazards, with their cost, downtime and safety issues, says Chute Technology Engineer Dennis Pomfret.

"Good designs such as these - either new or retrofitted - demonstrate that environmentally sensitive production need not necessarily come at a cost to output.

"In fact, these chute improvement technologies have achieved major increases in production, exceeding 50 and even 80 per cent in some cases, while solving waste and spillage problems.

"Chute Technology’s packages are unique in that we have unified the best proven technologies that address dust and spillage issues and combined them into problem-solving packages that combine:

  • integrated advanced product flow analysis
  • 3D Discrete Element Method (DEM) design processes
  • and globally proven manufacturing services.

"The packages – which apply to completely new plants and problem areas within existing plants – deploy technologies whose availability and application may have been too fragmented or unmanageable and put into the too-hard basket."

"But now the environmental safety and profit waste issues raised by dust and spillage have placed these issues high on the industry agendas worldwide,” says Dennis Pomfret, whose Chute Technology partners experience encompasses Australia, Asia, Africa and the USA.

Low Height Transfer Chutes

Chute Technology’s smooth flowing low-height transfer chutes are designed to overcome space, spillage and conveyor bulking problems common in coal mining and coal handling facilities.

The company’s low-height transfer chute is made with tough hardened steel and features a conical head developed by mining specialist designers to maintain high volume high flow rates (up to 4,000 tons an hour) when conveyors change direction either underground or on the surface.

"Frequently in underground mines you get 90 degree turns as coal conveyors emerge from one shaft and have to transfer into another within very tight spaces," says Mr Woods. "It is usually very difficult to get coal to turn that quickly without spillage and hang- up on the conveyor belts as coal is dropped from the belt above onto the one below while changing direction." The company’s transfer chutes are designed to overcome two problems inherent in this situation:

  1. The compact design can be fitted into lower overall heights than conventional designs, operating with a separation distance between belts of 1200-1500mm
  2. The chutes’ conical head is configured to provide a smooth transition through the turn for coal moving at typically 3metes per a second and dropping up to 1500mm onto a belt below.

"Drawing on our designer’s highly respected problem-solving expertise and our own hands-on experience over scores of mines, we set out to eliminate the spillages and choking that can disrupt production in mines where time truly is money. Eliminating frustration, delay and cost is vital in today’s economic climate,” said Mr Woods.

Multidirectional Chute

A multidirectional rotating underground coal chute system that can be installed in less than a single shift at a typical mine has been developed by Chute Technology in what the Australian technology and manufacturing partnership believes is a world first.

The cost-saving universal chute – which can rotate output through 160 degrees left or right – can remove completely the need to custom-manufacture individual chute types to fit the confined spaces and particular angles of individual mines.

The versatile bolt-in system – comprising a complete integrated structure from head end to conveyor outlet – features a rotating outlet beneath the head that can be angled to any position required to facilitate product flow.

In addition to radically reducing the labour required for manufacture and installation, the chute’s ability to be installed in a fraction of the time of custom chutes minimises downtime required for maintenance change-outs.

"This is a brilliantly simple breakthrough in cost and time saving at a time when the mining industry needs it most to maintain production. The benefits are obvious when you look at the basic concept, but we don’t know of anywhere else in the world where it has been done," says Mr Woods, whose experience of coal chute manufacture through family company T.W. Woods Construction extends back more than 40 years.

About Chute Technology

Chute Technology combines the local and international manufacturing experience of T.W. Woods, represented by Director Tom Woods, with the similarly broad engineering and technology experience of Engineering Consultant Dennis Pomfret of Dennis Pomfret Engineering, and Design Engineer Gary Telford of Telford Engineering Solutions, which contributes extensive project management, engineering and drafting experience.

Mr Woods says Chute Technology brings together a combination of skills that is unique in the marketplace, in that it brings three proven skill sets that are vital to solving typical mineral processing issues. These issues include reducing wear, removing bottlenecks caused by clogging, minimising damaging impacts on belts, curtailing dust, energy and water usage, and optimizing operational safety and efficiency by curbing breakdowns and cleanups.

In addition to a proven capability to design new materials handling systems, Chute Technology retrofits of existing plants. A principal aim is to eliminate reliability problems and production obstacles so as to bring handling systems up to their full potential,” says Dennis Pomfret, who holds patents on proven materials handling technologies. Value-adding services focussed on by Chute Technology include:

  • Increased tonnes per hour, more product delivered in a shorter time at lower OPEX
  • Reduced wear rates, reduced consumables, labour and downtime
  • Control of spillage, dust and clean-up, for a safer and safety compliant workplace
  • Debottlenecking of conveyor systems by applying new technology to upgrades

Telford Engineering Solutions is a recognised multi-disciplined design and management organisation which has associated site services for project management and construction supervision. Telford Engineering Solutions’s proven experience in materials handling projects across a number of industrial and resource sectors, provides innovative solutions and best practice techniques to consistently deliver three dimensional (3D) designs and drawing packages to a diverse range of engineering specifications with high levels of accuracy and clarity.

TW Woods’ services include specialised shaping, fabrication and welding technology for metals including carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium. These services are used by organizations such as Delta Energy, Incitec Pivot, water and waste water authorities, Integra Coal, Laing O’Rourke, Glencore and surface and underground mining companies.

For further information about Chute Technology Pty Ltd (ACN 605 894 675), please contact Chute Technology at, phone 1300 833 140 or visit

Media enquiries to Whyte Public Relations +61 2 9439-9329 or

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