Rubber-tire vehicles offer flexibility underground

BUCYRUS’S diesel rubber-tire vehicles have been designed to work in modern high-production underground coal mines with high levels of availability.
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Lou Caruana

The vehicle’s flexibility to perform multiple functions means it delivers a high return on investment, Bucyrus said.

The scope of operations for the diesel-powered equipment in an underground mine covers a wide range of applications – from general mine transportation and maintenance work to longwall installations and relocations, from cabling and piping installation to stone dusting.

There are also a number of rapid attachment system (RAS) attachments for each vehicle, to maximize flexibility in operation.

The three major application types for diesel rubber-tire vehicles in underground coal mines are load haul dump (LHD) or utility vehicles, material haulage and transportation and heavy-lift shield haulers.

During roadway development, longwall installations and relocations the diesel rubber-tire vehicles can help avoid production downtime.

Roof supports of up to 2 meters wide and up to 55 tonnes in weight can be delivered to the longwall face by a Bucyrus LHD, such as the FBL-10 and FBL-15, when used in conjunction with the Bucyrus CHT-50 or CHT-55 roof support trailer.

Final installation and positioning of the roof support can be done with an MH-40, FBL-55 or FBL-55(H) shield hauler.

The MH-40, FBL-55 and FBL-55(H) shield haulers are not task-specific in the installation of roof supports, but are flexible operation vehicles.

Their direct pin-on forks allow a high lift capacity, meaning they can be used as heavy-lift machines to transport AFC drives and shearers.

Vehicle dimensions are crucial in underground roadways, so the heavy-lift shield haulers are designed to be compact, with a minimum profile and roadway presence.

Their design has been focused on the haulage of longwall shields and heavier ancillary components of the longwall.

A removable cookie plate and fixed fork tires allow the high-capacity shield hauler to supplement underground roof support installation and relocation of transport equipment by being able to be utilized in other heavy-lift operations.

The LHD/utility vehicle can be utilized in multiple functions through the RAS.

With a CHT-50 trailer it can be used in a longwall move, transporting roof supports, while a reeler attachment allows it to install AFC chains, conveyor belts and cables. The range of buckets allows the LHD to transport and load coal, rock or road-base and clean up roadways.

Man baskets, forks and fuel pods allow the LHD to operate in utility functions.

The Bucyrus LHD/utility range has carrying capacities of 8-15t and has been designed to carry its rated load on the forks.

A crucial design feature of the Bucyrus diesel rubber-tire LHD vehicle is that its rated load reflects the maximum weight that can be lifted by that machine.

Material haulage and transportation applications are served by the FBR-15 utility vehicle, which has been designed and manufactured by Bucyrus for haulage of material from face to discharge point.

It is also capable of carrying ballast and road base for development and repair of underground roadways.

It has the capability to carry a maximum of 20,000 kilograms in the hopper end.

The hopper has a two-stage operation for loading and unloading which allows maximum use of the space available for carrying material.

The hydraulic system is designed for high-speed discharge into a suitably matched feeder/breaker unit or onto the ground and can discharge its material hopper in a maximum of 23 seconds.

Bucyrus rubber-tire diesel vehicles differ from other vehicles in the underground coal mining application market segment by being able to offer either wet bath or dry scrubber exhaust systems.

The exhaust system is monitored by the Bucyrus DCS electronic shutdown system, which prevents the machine from being operated in an unsafe condition such as low water levels or high exhaust system temperatures.

A gauge in the operator’s compartment indicates when the filter requires changing.

Exhaust systems and Bucyrus’s unique cooling system configuration of horizontal radiators are shared across the product line, along with control and shutdown systems.

This facilitates the reduction of line items required to be held on a minesite for consumables and operating parts.