Industry Spotlight: Mining

While many industries use specialized equipment, there’s only one industry that uses it hundreds of feet underground, in an environment few have ever traveled to. In this underground world, having a fluid power equipment failure could be devastating to the men and women operating these massive machines. This is why having Purpose-Built hydraulic cylinders for the application, is so important.

One of the more common machines used in this underground world is a continuous miner. This machine has a large rotating steel drum equipped with tungsten carbide teeth that scrape the coal from the seam. These operate in underground work areas that have been cut into the coal bed, mining as much as five tons of coal per minute. Hydraulic cylinders are used to position the steel drum that does the cutting, as another set of hydraulic cylinders move and position the continuous miner so it can advance underground while supporting the ceiling above it.

Longwall mining is a highly productive coal mining technique. These machines consist of multiple coal sheers mounted on self-advancing hydraulic ceiling supports. Longwall mining machines are massive, about 800 feet in width and 5-10 feet tall. The massive shearers cut coal from the wall face, allowing it to fall to a conveyor belt for removal.  Longwall miners can remove areas of coal as wide as the machine, and up to 12,000 feet long.  Hydraulic cylinders are used to position the equipment, and support the ceiling of the roof, providing a reliable and safe environment for the operators of the equipment to work in. Hydraulic cylinders also operate the massive shearers in this demanding underground world, where strength and reliability is key to keeping the operation functioning efficiently.

What keeps these massive tunnels from collapsing? As mining equipment advances forward in a tunnel, roof bolting is the process that prevents the tunnels collapse. Hydraulic cylinders lift a temporary roof support in place, while holes are drilled four to twelve feet into the ceiling of a mine tunnel. Large bolts are inserted with exposed plates that support the roof from flexing, and collapsing on workers and equipment in the tunnel. Hydraulic cylinders also move the drill and bolter position under the tunnel roof to allow for more efficiency without having to move the machinery in the tunnel. Larger roof bolters, called crawlers, are track mounted, and are becoming increasingly remote controlled.

Hydraulic cylinders in the mining industry aren’t just used in typical applications; dump, lift, and hauling, with typical hydraulic cylinders. Purpose-built machines such as longwall miners, continuous miners, and roof bolters require purpose-built hydraulic cylinders to not only function, but keep the personnel working in the mine tunnels safe. To learn more about how to get Aggressive Hydraulics Purpose-Built hydraulic cylinders in your application, contact your Hydraulic Cylinder Specialists® at (866)406-4100.