Carrying an important load

ACCORDING to Virginia-based personnel transport supplier Damascus, input from customers and industry trends are the primary inspiration for car design.
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Damasus' 15-passenger MAC-10.

Donna Schmidt

Published in the August 2007 American Longwall Magazine

One size does not fit all mines, said company representative Walt Stewart. Because of that, the company provides carriers for two and up to as many as 15 passengers.

One of the models, designed specifically for belt entries, is the MAC-2D, a two-passenger unit that measures only 48 inches in width. The 15-passenger MAC-10, however, is the line’s workhorse and most requested model, he said.

"Its carrying capacity, price, and dependability make it a popular choice. Fifteen workers is pretty much a whole section crew in one trip." He added the model was designed as an upgrade from the MAC-8D, the line's highlight for more than 10 years due to its reliability.

Safety and comfort were two more industry requests, according to Stewart. Feedback led them to incorporate soft-ride onto its A-frame five-point front suspension. Its rubber mounting resists shock to the vehicle and extends its lifespan.

Wet failsafe spring-applied brakes, a feature that previously appeared on the unit's rear hubs, are installed on the front and rear, which has phased out Damascus' use of disc brakes. "Four-wheel enclosed wet disc brakes are [now] standard on all MAC-Diesels."

Design changes to put the carriers in step with the ever-changing conditions of underground operations have also been incorporated, the company said. Its customers can get a diesel mantrip with an Isuzu or Deutz engine that is 31-65hp. Hydrostatic drives, a tubular frame design and an overall adjustment in heights - bringing profiles as low as 35 inches - are included in their line as well.

Stewart said that the recent changes to federal regulations in the industry have had an impact on the mining equipment industry, but Stewart is confident of a turnaround once all mines have caught up with the new requirements.

"Equipment sales have softened in 2007 from 2006, but sales are still acceptable," he said. "The moderation in coal prices and the money going toward compliance issues are going to keep equipment sales soft for a while."