Simplification of Powered Roof Supports

Underground » Mining Technology and Production

Published: August 09Project Number: C16020

Get ReportAuthor: Peter Lugg | CRCMining

The nature of the coal reserves will largely define the capacity and format of future powered roof support structures.  The productivity of future longwall mine installations will depend on the level of automation and reliability of the electro hydraulic components and systems.   This discussion paper explores the issues and constraints associated with longwall powered roof support electro hydraulic systems to challenge operators to develop procurement specifications that reflect future needs.

Many industries are looking to automation to improve safety and productivity of their equipment.  This paper looks at the trends for system design in industries outside underground mining.  It then examines the constraints imposed on the longwall application by the working environment and operating requirements.  A high level functional specification for a future longwall system is presented.

Future longwalls will continue to be powered by high pressure water emulsion hydraulics.  The historical trend in support capacity continues resulting in the use of higher pressures and greater cylinder diameters.  Increasing productivity demands are driving the requirement for higher fluid flow rates.  Safety standards for all mining personnel are improving.  

This paper looks at the introduction of intelligent hydraulic valves to allow simplification of the fluid power hydraulic elements and to meet requirements for improved safety and increased automation.  The longwall mining industry is encouraged to consider the issues addressed in the paper and to develop a unified approach to the specification of longwall hydraulic and control systems.  

To assess the potential benefit in pursuing the philosophies introduced in the paper, a case study is carried out.  The case study examines an existing Bowen Basin roof support and compares it with a hypothetical support of similar functionality designed using some of the developed philosophies. The case study compares hose and valve counts, and stored energy between the existing and hypothetical supports.


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