The machine-mounted deflector is designed to improve bolter-operator safety by reducing accidents where small pieces of rock – often from roof-skin failures – fall between the driller canopy and the beam of the automated temporary roof support.
When steel plates are deployed hydraulically from a stowed position parallel to the roof, holes in the new deflector plates will allow only enough room for the bolt to pass through.
The installed plates are about two inches from the roof so that straps, roof mats or oversized bearing plates can be used.
According to the MSHA and the company, the locations of the holes on the deflector also ensure that bolt spacing is consistent, and that operators need not mark the bolt locations – a significant safety aid because the user need not come out from under his canopy.
The current designs of the product work most efficiently on L-style ATRS systems, the agency said, which feature a leveling link and articulating beams, as well as in areas where mining height exceeds five feet.