Reducing the racket: Longwalls

ROTATION of operators, video cameras and water-cooled motors are some of the promising noise controls on offer to reduce noise exposure of shear operators and other miners working around the longwall mining system, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
Reducing the racket: Longwalls Reducing the racket: Longwalls Reducing the racket: Longwalls Reducing the racket: Longwalls Reducing the racket: Longwalls


Angie Tomlinson

Noise controls identified by MSHA which offer potential for noise reduction by having demonstrated effectiveness but lack evaluation or documentation for longwalls include:

Barriers where appropriate

Appropriately selected, correctly installed, and properly maintained acoustical materials

Rotation of head and tail shear operators with each other, shear operators with shieldman, stageloader operator with shieldman

Video cameras to monitor the cutting and other functions to limit miner exposure

Enclosure of motors, gears, pumps where demonstrated to be a significant noise source and can be done without damage to the equipment

Damping of enclosures and panels where demonstrated to be a significant noise source

Water-cooled motors instead of air-cooled motors where practical and when the motors are a significant source of noise exposure

Isolated cutting bits on the longwall drum, for example the application of vibration isolation materials between the bits/block and the drum

Sand-filled cutting heads

MSHA also considers the following engineering noise controls to be technologically achievable in reducing the noise exposure of miners working around the longwall:

Automated shear

Automated jacks

Automated stageloader

Memory cut

Proper maintenance such as use of proper chain tensioning and flight spacing

Positioning of the miner to minimize the exposure to noise such as keeping stageloader operator away from crusher, motors and gears, head drive, belt tail, head drum shear operator staying a minimum of three meters (10 feet) outby the drum head

Reduced run-time for face and stageloader conveyors when empty

In a case-be-case rationale remote operation may be feasible

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