Developing the King Pin Ball Tool

A consultative design process to increase site safety

In early 2022, we were approached by BHP Mount Arthur coal mine, to design and develop a tool to make the process of changing bearings safer and to reduce the risk of undertaking the task. 

Earlier this year, a workplace review commenced on the process of changing out the Liebherr T284 Haul Truck King Pin bearing. This was initiated as the employees’ fingers are placed inside an area of potential hazard of uncontrolled movement due to current process of changing bearings. An effective and reliable solution was needed to reduce the diesel fitter’s exposure to the potential risk, and fast!

Maintaining safety is paramount for mines across Australia  

Site safety at Mount Arthur coal mine, an operation of New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC), is incredibly important to keep all employees and contractors safe.  

The open-cut energy coal mine is located five kilometres south of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley and maintains their own fleet of haul trucks.  

This mine is vital to the local economy, employing around 2.000 people, who live in the region. As this is a booming industry for locals, ensuring the safety of employees in a rural location is a number one priority. 

A unique solution, delivered quickly

Shortly after speaking with the team at Mount Arthur, we got the ball rolling instantly. For us, innovation begins with the whole team, not just one person. 

Part of our collaborative discussions ensured that our solution would be in line with our client’s requirements. As innovative and bespoke solutions are at the heart of how we operate, we are constantly thinking outside the box to approach a problem. This innovative design process is key to Morgan Engineering and one of our key values of thinking outside the box.

We were able to identify that our team needed to move quickly. We immediately built a team who had the expertise to build ideas and conduct market research keeping in mind that on-site safety was our number one priority. 

Introducing the King Pin Ball Tool design process

The King Pin Ball tool is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment used to make maintenance activities safer, designed and developed by the Morgan Engineering team in partnership with BHP. 

Its primary function is to hold the ball alignment during the placement of bronze bearings and O-rings in place to prevent any movement that would result in the potential crushing of fingers.

Our team were able design the concept, manufacture and test this concept on site within two weeks. 

This turnaround is a massive achievement within our industry, and goes to show that our fast solutions can save people from serious injuries, while providing companies with safer solutions. 

Once we had established our recommended solution, we rapidly moved to the development of 3D concept models for the Mount Arthur team to review. As soon as these designs were approved, our manufacturing process began.

The manufacturing for the tool was completed within one week and was tested onsite with a site fitter, by using the tool in application it was designed for – after some additional modifications to ensure correct alignment of the ball joint during maintenance the tool was delivered to the customer and used straight away.

Shortly after we assembled the King Pin Ball onsite, we received positive customer feedback with the comment that BHP were absolutely blown away our work. We were able to create an innovative concept, carry out the design and manufacturing process and test onsite in such an extremely fast and efficient time frame.

Overall, our team was able to exceed the expectations of BHP and deliver a solution in record timing. This project further showcases the value we bring to the mining industry in NSW, with the creation of the King Pin Ball tool.

The creation of the King Pin Ball tool showed that the innovative Morgan Engineering design process can be implemented in any unique application to design any tool that fits that application utilising a customer centric consultative process that ensures the tool is fit for purpose and accepted by the people actually using the tool.

Delivering solutions nationally

Jeremy Brett, General Manager at Morgan Engineering is constantly impressed by the expertise and solution-drive focus of the team. 

“The King Pin Ball Project with BHP really highlighted how efficiently our team can deliver a process that is not only innovative, but reliable and safe. It also confirms our mission to not only meet but exceed our customers’ expectations.”   

BHP values the safety of their teams and the communities, as their working environments potentially expose the workforce and the communities to risks. Their objective is to identify those risks and implement controls to prevent or mitigate the potential impacts.   

Matthew Kinross, BHP representative knew that working with us would get a solution. 

“We chose to partner with Morgan Engineering with the development of the King Pin Ball tool after the successful re-tapping of threads on truck 915 and the experience working with Morgan on developing an innovative safe working jig for that job,” he said.

The King Pin Ball was the missing piece to provide a fast and safe, solution for BHP and has now opened the market for us. BHP have now recommended that the King Pin Ball be used across their sites, nationwide. 

We are determined to always deliver fast and quality solutions to all our clients. As this project demonstrates, the King Pin Ball is the first step in providing safer solutions across our country. 

If you're in the mining industry and you think our innovative tool would be an asset to your mine site...

Get in touch today.

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