The mixing solution – Q-mix – was designed to meet the requirements of an “ideal fluid mixing system” identified by a survey conducted by Quaker. The survey found a fluid mixing system should be:
- Simple – Able to be understood and maintained by onsite personnel.
- Accurate – Mixed fluid within a tight concentration range.
- Reliable – Consistently mixed in tight range and did not break down.
- Robust – Suitable for mining conditions.
- Low capital cost – Affordable hardware and software.
- Low mixed fluid cost – Affordable total fluid cost.
According to Quaker Australasia general manager Harold Kraus, Q-mix is simple, using standard components that do not require a specialist technician.
“It is reliable, with concentration measured continually and control room interfaced. The system is alarmed, and has 48 hours of mixed fluid always available. It is also robust and allows safe mixing of low concentration fluid, which minimises total fluid cost,” he said.
Kraus said the majority of longwall fluid failures occur due to incorrect fluid concentration, but this can be avoided if three fundamental issues are addressed correctly: type of fluid, make up of water quality, and the type of fluid/water mixing system.
“Correct fluid management will extend the life of a longwall and minimise the risk of fluid failure.
“Operating a longwall below the fluids design concentration can potentially cause corrosion, erosion, fluid separation, blockages, and bacteria infections, which can stop the longwalls operation and significantly damage the longwall. In severe cases, fluid failure can end the economic life of a longwall.”