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1ST ASIAN MINING CONGRESS

16-18 January, 2006, Kolkata, India


The Mining Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India (MGMI), Centenary

NEW AGE DIESEL EQUIPMENT FOR THE GLOBAL


UNDERGROUND COAL MINING INDUSTRY
Tony Scott*

ABSTRACT
Although not currently used in the Indian Underground Coal Mining Industry at the coal face, Diesel
powered equipment is a crucial tool in successful Coal Mining operations in most other highly productive
mining regions of the World. Until recently the diesel engine technology available for use in Underground
coal mines, globally, has been far behind that of that commonly utilized in road transport vehicles.
Diesel engine and exhaust treatment system technology have remained static for the past two or three
decades. That has now changed. This is due to the introduction of the smaller, more efficient and
powerful, yet cleaner burning diesel engines and the associated Original Equipment Manufacturer’s
(OEM’s) exhaust conditioners. Diesel equipment manufacturers are able to offer diesel powered vehicles
for underground use which provide significant improvement in mine atmosphere (when compared to
older technologies). They are able to perform a more extensive range of duties and through use of fail
safe monitoring and control systems are safe for use in the ‘Hazardous Zones’ of coal mines, degree 1,2
and 3. DBT are committed to the continued development of Diesel equipment for the global coal mining
industry which is aligned to the Tiering methodology and to the introduction of this technology into
countries which have a necessity to increase productivity to feed their growth, whilst ensuring mine
safety.

INTRODUCTION The fact is that some of the highest producing, most


Not everyone here today will recognize the productive and profitable mines in the world are totally
importance of Diesel powered equipment to their Mining dependant upon the services provided by their diesel
operation. My grandmother used to say “you cannot miss equipment.
what you never had”, this would certainly apply to today’s In a recent meeting which took place in Australia
India based attendees in relation to the benefits of diesel between the Queensland Government Deputy Chief
powered coal mining equipment. I should explain. The Inspector of Mines - David Mackie and the Indian
point being made is - how can you comprehend the Government Diesel Committee, David stated that
benefits and attributes of a tool that you have not used, Australian mines “would be unable to function without
the answer is - to learn from the experiences of others diesel equipment”. This is of course perception, in fact
and to be enlighten to the benefits that others have been the mines would be able to function, however, they would
able to achieve using this tool. The intent of this paper is not be able to produce the ‘best practice’ tonnages, the
to provide you with an appreciation of some of the diesel tonnes per man rate, or at an acceptable profitability. My
powered tools which are available to you in your efforts to paper today is designed to highlight to this audience the
maximize your growth potential. benefits of New Age Diesel Equipment and to further
explain the reasons behind David’s comment.

* Business Unit Manager, DBT Australia – Development and Diesel Products


636 New Age Diesel Equipment for the Global Underground Coal Mining Industry

DIESEL EQUIPMENT USED IN


UNDERGROUND MINING IN OTHER
COUNTRIES
There are a vast number of Diesel machines used in
Underground coal mines. There are a total of 1,200
approved and monitored diesel powered machines in
Australia, 903 in New South Wales and 250 in
Queensland. This equipment performs every imaginable
task from the surface to the coal face, in fact, it’s
capabilities are limited only by our imaginations. Every
day someone somewhere in the world dreams up another
valuable use for the diesel machines. In a recent visit to
India we identified the potential for diesel equipment in
drill and blast panels, a function for which they are not
widely used in underground coal mining. Common uses
include:

Man transportation, both from the surface


underground via inclined entries and also within the coal
mine in shaft mines such as Grasstree, which was visited
by the Indian Government Diesel Committee.
Heavy lifts and transportation, using jib cranes
Roadway repair vehicles, such as graders, trench (fixed or pivoting), Longwall face equipment relocation
diggers and roof trimming devices, toothed buckets for (shearers, roof supports, AFC pans, pump stations,
roadway dinting. conveyor drives, chain reels, heavy electrical supply
equipment and the relocation at speed of roof supports
Material transportation, via rapid attachable/
from one longwall to the next.
detachable systems for spade and flat fronted buckets,
forks, operator platforms, cable AFC chain and rolls of
belt conveyor all transported and installed using
hydraulically powered reeling devices, handling of fuel/oil
Pods, material Pods used to restock Continuous Miners
with consumable items. Purpose built trailers are also used
for tasks such as pipe installation, conveyor belt structure
handling and installation and general purpose trailers.
Tony Scott 637

Supply power to electrical plant, mobile generators introduction of fully mechanized pillar panels, something
which provide electrical power for training Continuous that may take a considerable time to achieve in a quantity
Miner and Roadheading machines in and around the mine. that will greatly effect productivity.

The second is in the few longwall panels which exist


for handling the heavy equipment. This would allow the
longwalls to be relocated more quickly and safely and
hence bring them back into production sooner, resulting
in increased overall production.

The third area for utilization has only recent come to


light and is in fact probably the greatest short term
Coal and loose material haulage, by means of the opportunity for radical improvement. That is in the existing
RamCar. An articulated vehicle which consist of a ram development, but especially the pillar extraction sections,
eject style hopper equipped to carry load up to 20 tonnes which are utilizing drill and blast systems. The flexibility
and 18 cubic meters capacity. These machines can of using the diesel powered LHD with increased bucket
transport any material, for example, Roadway repair capacity, speed and ability to travel within the sections
material, stone and reject materials and are the coal without the constraint of the trailing cable, will result in
haulage of choice in the newer mines in Australia. They potentially huge increases in production without the need
are also very widely used in the USA in the medium to to increase the number of employees. In our recent
high seams of Mid West and West regions. One of the inspections we have noted that the drill blast sections the
main advantages of all diesel powered equipment is that longest portion of the process is the loading out of the
it is not constrained by a trailing cable and in pillar mining coal onto the conveyor or into the tubs. If as we witnessed
applications is able to wheel around pillars in pillar the other portions of the process - roof bolting, face drilling
extraction panels, greatly increasing efficiency of the and blasting take half the time of that to load the coal, any
section and allowing a greater number effaces to be mined reduction in the time taken to load the coal will have a
simultaneously. direct cost free effect. Let me explain.

If the roof bolting, face drilling and blasting take 30


minutes to complete and the loading of the coal takes 60
minutes to complete, then if we can reduce the time taken
to load the coal to 30 minutes also we can achieve a
benefit of potentially doubling the coal produced from the
section, with the same number of operators.

DIESEL EQUIPMENT POTENTIAL BENEFITS The additional advantage is that you can also
IN INDIAN UNDERGROUND MINING introduce additional faces into the sequence as a result
of the Diesel machines not having a trailing cable and
There are three main areas for utilization and
wheeling routes can be matched to optimize the wheeling
improvement of the current system approach, which stand
distances, hence a higher production still can be achieved
out following our investigations of recent months.
from one conveyor or tub loading point.
The first is in fully mechanized pillar extraction panels
working in conjunction with Continuous Miners in place HEALTH AND SAFETY
change applications. As described above, these new The health and safety of the operators and the safety
panels can be designed to suit the suite of equipment of the mines themselves are the most important factors
including the Diesel powered RamCar. Although this is in the mines operation. People are not disposable and
an exiting opportunity, it does depend upon the continued must be protected. Where ever possible their tasks must
638 New Age Diesel Equipment for the Global Underground Coal Mining Industry

be made easier and they must be comfortable whilst


operating or maintaining the machines, if we are to expect
them to achieve their highest performance. To this end
DBT have provided for each of these requirements in the
design of our equipment.

Emissions - A great deal of focus has been put on


achieving the cleanest possible quality of air emitted in
the exhaust of our Diesel machines. Our Diesel power
package approved and tested in Australia for use in
Australia, China, UK, Russia and soon to include India is
significantly cleaner than the emissions resulting from
previous older technology. In a survey carried out by one
of our customers in NSW Australia, over a period of six
months of general mine air body analysis, the DBT system
was proven to be far cleaner than the system employed
by all other machines at the mine.

Condition Monitoring and Protection -


Incorporated into the equipment is an Intrinsically safe
(I.S.) electronic safety monitoring system, which provides
machine shutdown and protection against - over
temperatures, operation in greater than >1.25% of CH4
During the testing of our system at TestSafe
(Methane), sensor fault/failure, engine oil pressure,
Londonderry the emissions were monitored and the
exhaust outlet temperature, engine coolant temperature,
smoke measured by the Bosch meter during the testing,
Exhaust coolant temperature, heat exchanger gas
which requires the engine to be operated at full power full
temperature, Flame trap temperature, engine coolant
speed, was zero. This level of cleanliness is due to two
temperature and exhaust coolant temperature. It also give
main factors, one is the improved efficiency and controlled
warning of >1% CH4, low battery charge, 12 volt charging
burn of the Mechanical Unit Injected Caterpillar 3126
failure. The system is fail safe and provides instant
engine and the second is the use of the DBT specialized
actuation, this is not the case with the alternative air on
exhaust conditioning system, as detailed in the illustration
oil systems.
below.
Tony Scott 639

Locking devices are provided which are used to fix


Operator Safety during the operation and the machine at the articulation point and the loading arms
maintenance of the machines - The in the air, to provide a safe environment for the
equipment operator cabin is designed to maintenance person when working in these areas.
accommodate the ‘standard Australian man’ as detailed
in the relevant Australian Standard. This is generally
accepted as being suitable for other countries also,
particularly the Asian region where we would expect the
majority of operators to be smaller than those in Australia.
The cabin and all control and gauges are positioned for
ease of operation. The cabin door is larger than those of
other machines to make ingress and exit safer. The seat
is cushioned and spring loaded with a weight adjustment
CONCLUSION
allowing operators of different frame proportions to make
adjustment to suit themselves. In my opinion the re-introduction of diesel powered
equipment into the Indian underground coal mining
industry is vital if it is to achieve the progressive increases
in productivity and the safe and efficient operation of your
coal mines. India’s current growth is 6.9%, the population
(of which 50% are under 25 years of age) is forecast to
increase from 1.03 billion to 1.2 billion in 5 years, It is
currently the 10th largest economy in the world and is
forecast to rise to 3rd largest within 5 years. This growth
and the increased fuel to feed the growth will not be
achievable without the ability to utilize the very best tools
available. At a seminar in Sydney Australia on 22nd
November Neville Roach stated that “India does not have
The operator is protected by a canopy which offers the internal capacity to grow to it’s potential and must look
Falling Object Protection (FOPs) and Roll Over Protection externally for assistance” Companies such as DBT
(ROPS) and is fully approved to the Australian standard. Australia are a resource, which is available to you, we
For ease of maintenance, all maintenance points are are committed to the continued development of Diesel
accessible whilst the operator is standing on the floor. equipment for the global coal mining industry and to the
introduction of this technology into the growth nations
which have a necessity to increase productivity whilst
ensuring mine safety.