Unless it has occurred very recently there has been “zero” load testing undertaken on what has been used in the past and is currently being used if sourced from alternatives to MTT.
The load testing undertaken in the late 90’s at NIOSH do not reflect the end section,species,grading and moisture content industry has been and is using.
These are all key factors to the performance of timber as a load bearing element.
It was somewhat of a “light bulb” moment when MTT realised this, and it might be easy to cast it aside and say well it is doing its job for years, so it is ok. No one knows what sort of job it is really doing as generally speaking no one is going back into the likes of the goaf to check out how a few of pieces of wood might have failed and caused a chock to be stuck. We don’t know how bad it has not worked and to the contrary we do not know how good it could work unless the whole approach to timber is tightened up.
It could be construed MTT is raising these matters for its own commercial reasons however it should be viewed as a genuine concern for the industry and lives in it.
As confident as this may sound, no one has taken timber this seriously in the industry ever as MTT does now. The knowledge of timber, testing and on-going product development is paramount in our view and we see it as a responsibility to be conveying this information to the industry.
There is no bigger irony in the industry existing at present than having the most extensive and valid safety guidelines for everyone and everywhere else in the mine and virtually nothing for what is holding the roof up in critical applications.
MTT worked closely with the University of Queensland and procured additional equipment to undertake initial loading demonstrations on the product it is current distributing.
We are in the process of fabricating a very substantial load frame to handle a 400t load cylinder and a platen which could test up to 1400mm square.
This is to be used for on going QA/QC as well as load testing on new products we have developed and are to be released to the global market once in pit trials have been concluded.
It is to be a significant facility and will also be available to the industry for research and development of other products in the interests of advancing safety and productivity as a whole.