Bluefield Coal Show preview

RETURNING to southern Appalachia once again in 2011 is the popular Bluefield Coal Show, one of the largest regularly held coal-focused events in the industry, which this year will be held from September 14-16.
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Eddie Obeid

Donna Schmidt

Sponsored by the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, the biennial show, hosted at the Brushfork Armory-Civic Center, will welcome back hundreds of regular exhibitors while also greeting many new companies on the show floor.

Historically, the southern West Virginia show has attracted both vendors and guests from across the US as well as many international locations, and the 2011 event is proving to be just as exciting. With attendance consistently exceeding 6500 for each Bluefield show, both the exhibition and technical session portions promise to offer something for everyone.

The Bluefield Coal Show is on from 10am to 6pm on September 14 and 15, and 9am to 2pm September 16.

Check out some of the industry companies who will be on hand at the show.

L-3 Communications

L-3 Communications is one of the companies headed to southern West Virginia for the Bluefield Coal Show.

Just one year after initial installation of an Accolade wireless mine communications and tracking system, workers at a mine in West Virginia are benefiting from their early adoption of that system.

When ventilation equipment went off-line at their mine, the task of notifying workers below ground took just minutes. The central dispatcher was also able to use the system’s operations console to monitor miners’ progress as they exited the mine.

Had the ventilation failure led to a more serious incident, the system would have enabled post-accident communication between underground and surface personnel, as well as tracking of the location of all persons underground, thereby accelerating rescue efforts.

Developed by L-3 Communications, the Accolade system is approved by the US Mine Safety and Health Administration and allows communication between miners underground (peer-to-peer), as well as between below- and above-ground personnel. The system also provides a real-time situational awareness capability and can be tailored to mines of all sizes.

Accolade operates at 900MHz, ensuring the best propagation distance for communications through mine entries, around corners and down crosscuts. To aid in post-accident communications between underground and surface personnel, the Accolade system is designed to have multiple levels of survivability, ensuring that the network and its components remain active and reliable in the event of a mine disaster. It was designed to meet the requirements of the 2006 MINER Act and was developed under a contract awarded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

Following successful prototype testing in 2009, the system transitioned to a full-scale production version, with initial installations starting that same year.


Grindex Pumps offers a complete line of highly efficient and reliable submersible pumps designed for heavy-duty drainage and sludge applications ranging from 0.6 to 140 horsepower.

Solids handling capabilities range up to 3.2 inches and capacities reach up to 750 feet and 5100 gallons per minute. MSHA-permissible pumps are also available in dewatering and sludge styles.

On construction sites, in mines and various industrial applications, Grindex submersible pumps are constantly put to the test in some of the most demanding applications imaginable.

Air cooling valves permit pumps to run dry without damage, and with smart motor protection, Grindex Pumps will not run backwards, will not single phase and will not overheat.

On Site Gas Systems

Connecticut-based On Site Gas Systems, a leader in providing solutions for underground inerting of the sealed areas in coal mines, is exhibiting this year at the Bluefield show.

With the company’s membrane and PSA technology, it can provide high volume, high purity nitrogen for any inerting application. A complete line of above ground and underground systems is being used every day around the world, making mines safer.

On Site Gas is pleased to offer an optional package that offers a mine the ability to monitor the performance of its nitrogen generators from anywhere in the world.

This enhancement allows both the mine and On Site Gas Systems to monitor the real-time performance of nitrogen generators, assist with start-up and quickly troubleshoot and resolve any problems.

On Site Gas can go beyond monitoring the nitrogen generator and also remotely control many functions of the equipment, including starting and stopping the nitrogen generator as well as controlling flow and purity.

These options will be available on new systems, and can also be retrofitted to most systems already in the field.


Following its $US8.8 billion acquisition of Bucyrus International — completed in early July — Caterpillar, through its newly extended Caterpillar Global Mining Division, will again be exhibiting at the Bluefield Coal Show.

The acquisition sees Bucyrus products coming under the Caterpillar brand name. As a result, the exhibit will bear the Caterpillar name.

The acquisition enabled Caterpillar, which was already the world’s largest manufacturer of earthmoving equipment, to become the only manufacturer offering a complete mining equipment package for both surface mining and underground mining.

The surface mining equipment range now includes walking draglines, electric rope shovels, hydraulic shovels, rotary and hydraulic track drills, and highwall mining systems as well as the traditional Cat surface mining equipment, including mining trucks, wheel loaders, wheel dozers, bulldozers and motor graders.

Underground equipment includes products for room and pillar as well as longwall mining. Complete belt system solutions also are available from Caterpillar.

In addition, Caterpillar offers the Cat MineStar system, a comprehensive mine operations and equipment management system. The system is configurable and scalable to enable mine managers to define the size and scope that best serve the needs of the mine.

Mining personnel will be on hand during the Bluefield Coal Show to discuss the company’s expanded product line as well as service and support options.