The mining industry, known for its harsh and unforgiving environments, demands reliable, high quality equipment to ensure safety and efficiency. Longwall mining, which accounts for around 50% of total underground production, has had the largest continual impact upon underground coal operations in the U.S. over the last two decades.
Longwall mining is an underground mining operation in which a large panel or block of coal spanning up to 1,500 feet across distances of two to three miles is extracted. Longwall mines are characterized by low ceilings and tight spaces in which workers must operate heavy duty machinery. Hydraulic-powered roof supports, also called shields, protect the working area of the mine by extending as the shearer cuts back and forth along the coal face. Once it is cut by the shearer, coal falls onto a large chain conveyor and is removed from the mine. The movable hydraulic shields in longwall mines advance with the shearer throughout the mining process, enabling increased productivity as well as improved safety of miners.
Safety is imperative in the mining industry, particularly when it comes to the dangers of roof falls and lack of clean air in underground coal mines. It is vital for the equipment used in mining to be thoroughly tested to meet internationally approved MSHA standards and provide consistently reliable performance to ensure safety of operations and individuals in extreme environments.
Mining has always been a dangerous industry, so product selection is critical
Parker's new GlobalCore 187 Hose is a 1,000 psi (7MPa) constant working pressure hose specifically engineered for the mining industry. The innovative design of 187 Hose, which can be used as a high-pressure return line or used to address an application where other hoses may be excessive, requires a lower force-to-flex and exceeds the ISO 18752 performance specification (AC and AS). The first of its kind in on the market, the 187 Hose is unmatched in performance and capability. For instance, the 187 Hose is designed for one-half of SAE and ISO 18752 bend radius specifications, which saves overall hose assembly length, facilitates easier routing in the restrictive areas of underground mines, and decreases the number of bent tube fittings necessary. The tighter bend radius capability also means longer hose life in applications where machinery movement causes hoses to bend sharply.
The hoses included in the GlobalCore family are constant working pressure hoses, which contradicts traditional hydraulic hoses where the pressure decreases as the inside diameter increases. For instance, if the maximum pressure requirement for your application is 1,000 psi, you could utilize one hose family operating with a constant working pressure of 1,000 psi across all diameters for your hydraulic system. Converting from various product lines to a singular hose family that provides constant working pressure across sizes means a simplified selection process as well as reduced inventories, maintenance costs, and downtime.
At Parker Hannifin’s Hose Products Division, we understand the concerns facing our mining customers. We know that safety is your number one priority. The risk of serious injury resulting from the uncontrolled release of high pressure hydraulic fluids is an ongoing concern. Hydraulic fluid injection injuries are caused by a release of pressurized hydraulic fluid penetrating the skin. A pinhole-sized leak can travel at the same velocity as a bullet — 600 feet per second. According to research, more than 10% of mine safety incidents in the United States involve fluid power systems, with one percent resulting in serious injury or death. This being said, Parker has designed and engineered hoses to withstand the harsh environments of the mining industry to protect lives. The 187 Hose has three different cover options (standard, ToughCover, and SuperTough cover) to increase the service life and personnel safety. Parker also offers a wide range of hose sleeves, wraps, hose shields and a hose whip restraint system designed to protect operators, equipment, and the environment from the hazards of hydraulic hose malfunctions. To further protect against potential fire hazards, Parker’s Firesleeve is a flame resistant sheath that protects the hose from extreme temperature conditions.
In addition to the 187 Hose, Parker has an entire range of MSHA approved hoses, fittings, and equipment designed and engineered to service the needs of the mining industry. With a thicker, more durable outer cover to prevent impact damage from debris, Coalmaster hoses are ideal for tough underground conditions. Paired with the SteckO fitting system, Parker’s Coalmaster products provide increased performance and reliability in highly abrasive environments.
The right technology increases business efficiency and profitability
Longwall mining has shown a significant increase in production and today accounts for the largest amount of tonnage mined among underground methods. Because of this shift, improved crimping equipment that can withstand the harsh environment and keep up with increased production is essential, however, it must be cost-efficient. Parker's Parkrimp family of crimping machines enable any user to make factory-quality hose assemblies quickly, easily and cost-effectively. The Parkrimp-style crimpers are designed to crimp fittings to the proper diameter every time. These crimpers are simple to operate and they're built to provide years of dependable service. Designed to produce accurate crimps from the first time it's used, Parkrimp crimpers require no calibration and continuously produce proper crimps, time after time. Parker's family of Parkrimp models can crimp straight or bent-stem fittings from ¼" to 2" in diameter and cover needs ranging from high-volume productivity to portable, on-site assembly.
In order for crews to efficiently operate in the cramped conditions of underground mines, equipment must be easy to use, install, and change out. Adding a global asset tagging and identification system to your mining operations would provide a fast, accurate and convenient hose assembly replacement regardless of where or when the original assembly was made. Parker estimates that the addition of an asset tag, such as Parker’s PTS label, can save a customer at least 15 minutes of downtime (simply stated as the time spent waiting in a store, or as the additional time spent in first removing an assembly before proceeding with the repair). If the average cost of labor and machine downtime is calculated at the low end of $60 per hour, PTS can save the customer $15 in direct productivity losses. For customers with multiple, untimely failures per month, this can add up to considerable savings. Many customers have documented downtime of two to three hours or more due to hydraulic hose failure, and at labor and loss productivity rates of up to $500 per hour or more. In such circumstances, PTS can be invaluable in helping to ensure maximum machine or vehicle uptime.
Article contributed by Kyri McDonough, marketing services manager at Hose Products Division, Parker Hannifin.
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