The system, which includes a roll holder mounted to a bolter’s temporary roof support system, replaces 13 panels of steel wire mesh with one 75-pound synthetic mesh roll. The panels of steel mesh, which would be used to cover a cut of 35 feet including ribs and roof, would typically weigh more than 850lb.
“Our goal was to reduce the incidence of injuries caused when miners have to lift steel wire panels to the roof while standing in awkward positions,” Fletcher western US sales manager Bill Kendall said.
“In addition to lower exposure to those types of injuries, the need for two persons to lift and place panels against the roof for bolting is also reduced.”
Special articulating arms and roof pads on the bolter are replaced by rounded versions that permit the mesh to be placed without snags. The 35ft-long tensioned mesh roll, which measures nearly the width of the entry, can then be lifted to the roof.
“The roll is loaded onto the machine before the bolter enters the cut,” Kendall explained.
“Workers pull the mesh over the TRS and clamp it in place. Once the bolter is in the cut and the TRS is raised near the roof, side tubes are extended, which tensions the mesh in both directions. The TRS is raised to the roof, and the end of the mesh is bolted in place.”
After slightly lowering the TRS from the roof, the bolter can be trammed forward to the next row.
Fletcher says the system has enough drag as the unit advances to maintain the needed tension in both directions without any additional handling.
The new mechanism can be retrofitted onto most Fletcher bolters for use in seams as low as 72in.