Carbon Fiber Monorail Beams

The Rivers Carbon Carbon Fiber Monorail beams offer a lightweight alternative to steel mining monorails.

- Download Product Brochure

Why Change

Through research, Rivers Carbon Technologies has identified key issues with current, steel I-beam based mining monorail systems:

  • Weight
  • Difficulty of installation
  • Significant risk of injury

The issues with the steel monorail beams are a result of the high density of steel, which gives each beam a weight of 35kg. By using carbon fibre instead, we have been able to produce a far lighter beam without compromising the strength. The significantly lower weight and the interlocking ends translates into faster install times. The lower weight also means that more beams can be transported at a time, meaning fewer trips to and from the surface are required.

Carbon Fibre

With the use of carbon fibre we are able to take advantage of the materials’ very high specific strength the sigstiffness to develop an ideal solution for a monorail beam. Carbon fibre exhibits excellent performance in fatigue and corrosion resistance, extending the service life of the monorail beam.

As with other products designed by Rivers Carbon we have selected materials which will perform outstandingly well for electrical conductivity and fire retardation. Owing to the manufacturing process and standards used there is low variability from product to product, eliminating problems which can be associated with steel fabrication. Improved features of carbon monorail beams include:

  • Light Weight
  • Injury Reduction
  • Strength
  • Extended service life
  • Productivity gains

Weight Reduction

Currently the steel I-beams used in the monorail system weigh at least 35kg; the new carbon fibre beam weighs 7.4kg plus 2.6kg of stainless steel ends. This represents a weight saving of over 70%. The reduction in weight will lead to increased productivity through reduced installation times and fewer trips to the surface to restock because the increased number of beams which can be transported at a time. Worker injuries from installation will be reduced with the reduction in weight.


By using carbon fibre we are able to tailor the material properties to suit the loadings required. As a result we have designed a monorail beam which, as a ready to assemble unit, weighs 10kg but can also provide a safety factor of 4 on a working load of 3T. This has been designed using finite element analysis in order to test various loading scenarios and ensure an effective design to meet the key requirements of strength and weight.

Service Life

Owing to the selection of carbon fibre for the construction of the beam, the new monorail will exhibit a longer service life from greater resistance to fatigue than steel and greater corrosion resistance. Stainless steel has been selected for the interlocking ends to compliment these properties.


“It’s easy to handle tubes on your own when previously it would take 2 of us…. It’s also easy to carry the tubes down a road way where before we would have to move them on a vehicle…. To me it is the biggest advance in coal mining in the last 20 years.”
Miner Queensland

“Our helicopter prototype spray tank weighed 95 kg in hand layup carbon fiber. Rivers Carbon redesigned the tank using autoclaved prepreg and reduced the weight to 55 kg. This extra 40 kg of payload every time the helicopter lifts off for a spray run translates into additional revenue.”
Oceania Aviation

Simulation of a Carbon Fiber monorail beam

Verification testing at The University of Auckland

0.5m sample monorail beam section