2013 Session Archives

Session 1: New Developments & Technologies for Longwall Installations

Monday, May 20, 2013
9:00am – 11:30am

Grosvenor Longwall Project–Design for Benchmark Safety and Productivity

By Dieter Haage, Anglo American Coal Australia

Anglo American has as a strategic objective to double the value of its metallurgical coal business in 10 years. Delivering this objective will require four new underground mines with five longwalls in the Bowen basin in eastern Australia. Given the significant investment that this greenfield expansion represents, the rationale to design the longwall equipment to achieve benchmark safety and productivity performance will assure favorable returns to the shareholders and offer excellent technical challenges to the engineers and managers accountable to deliver the performance objectives.

Prior to embarking on the journey to benchmark design, Anglo American made a few strategic decisions, all believed to underpin the objectives and goals set. Key decisions include the establishment of an alliance partnership with one supplier to design, supply and support the entire expansion program. A further commitment was the principle of total system supply by this one supplier, from tip of the pick of the Longwall to the discharge end of the drift conveyor.

A partnership approach to understanding and overcoming the constraints to achieving the desired safety and productivity outcomes allowed for an expanded input to the challenges by subject matter experts, and as a result of the reviews, a design has been prepared that looks to achieve the objectives set at the commencement of the design process.

This paper explains the approach followed and the outcome achieved in support of benchmark safety and productivity for the Grosvenor longwall mine.

Longwall mining in Mexico: Micare Mine VII

By Joel de Luna, General Manager, Micare Mine VII

Minera Del Norte’s new Micare Mine VII began longwall operations in November 2012. The mine is located near the town of Nava in the State of Coahuila, Mexico, about 35km southwest of Piedras Negras on the Mexico-U.S. border near Eagle Pass, Texas. The mine is budgeted to produce approximately 4 million metric tons of thermal coal annually using two longwall faces over the course of its projected 8-year life. Minera Del Norte’s presentation will include aspects of Mine VII’s longwall ventilation system which is a bleederless design. Summary details of Mine VII geology, mine access, mine layout, development and longwall mining equipment, methane drainage system, gate road design, gate road roof control, run-of-mine coal product quality, and mine production schedule will also be discussed.

Fluid Power Generation & Transport Systems for Longwalls

By Tom Hutchinson,manager of new products, Swanson Industries

Fluid power generation and transport systems are vital aspects of longwall mining. This presentation will include a review of traditional and monorail mounted pumps. The presentation will offer hardware recommendations, including placement strategies. Maintenance needs will be also be discussed. In-mine examples will be presented, addressing the best and worst conditions for each application.

Update on New Ground Support Systems for Longwall Gate Roads

By Dakota Faulkner, Research and Development Engineer. Travis Sub, Research and Development Engineer, Keystone Mining Services, Jennmar Corp.

New ground control products increase the efficiency and most importantly the safety of longwall mining operations. To date, Jennmar has developed many patented products for longwall entry ground control. In this presentation, four of the most recently developed systems will be detailed: the fully-grouted cable bolt (FGCB) which is a new system to fully encapsulate a cable bolt and/or inject the roof strata; INSTaL tensionable cable bolt with new modifications that allow for fast installation and increased installed tension for both primary and supplemental support for longwall applications; standing support technologies including the J-Crib pumpable crib system, rapid installation props, J-Sand props; and the yieldable Omni 150 water props, which are being used for tailgate, bleeder, and recovery area support; and an array of non-metallic cuttable bolts and plates specifically designed for the extreme environments of longwall gate roads. These systems allow the operator the ability to control a wide range of roof conditions for longwall support.

Session 2: Safety & Health

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
2:00pm – 4:30pm

Measurement Before Management: Best Practices for Assessing Safety Culture

By Dr. Lori Guasta, director of organizational behavior and emerging markets, Safety Solutions International

This presentation will discuss how to assess a company’s safety culture and develop and implement a culture enhancement plan. Emphasis will be given to the importance of measuring or assessing culture before attempting to manage it. Working collaboratively with clients to construct customized surveys that are most relevant to company and site-specific programs will be highlighted. Characteristics of positive safety culture will also be presented as a framework to guide assessments in an attempt to combine academic knowledge and best practice from industry. A theme in this presentation relates to the blending of art and science: the science of managing safety and the art of leading the most valuable resource in any occupational culture--people. The use of both industry experts and academics will be presented as an effective way to meet this assessment goal.

A Review of Dust Control Techniques for Longwalls

By Joe Defibaugh, engineer, dust and ventilation, JoyGlobal

Dust control in longwall mining is an important factor in optimizing production. This presentation will provide an overview of current longwall dust control techniques and the limitations of these techniques to reduce respirable dust levels at the operator’s position. Better ways to control respirable dust levels in the future will also be reviewed plus the presentation will also discuss the impact of future regulations for dust control in longwall mines and new technologies for dust control going forward to improve the productivity of longwall mining.

Rock Dusting on Longwalls

By Marcia Harris, NIOSH (OMSHR)

Mine explosions do not occur often, but when they do, equipment, production, and most importantly, lives are lost. The current knowledge on what can initiate an explosion, how an explosion can propagate through an entry, and how to prevent an explosion will be presented. Also, the role of rock dust, how it inerts the coal dust in a propagating explosion, and the most desirable rock dust properties will be discussed. The 30 CFR 75.2 definition will be reviewed and key components discussed.

Suggestions for determining the coal dust production in longwall tailgate areas will be given and discussed. Simple inexpensive methods include trays and more complex approaches can involve dust sampling pumps. Rock dusting practices to effectively inert the coal dust production during the longwall mining process will be presented.

Control of Explosive Zones and Oxygen Penetration in Longwall Gobs through Nitrogen Injection

By Dr. Jürgen F. Brune, Colorado School of Mines

Longwall coal mining sections may develop spontaneous combustion or explosive mixtures of methane-air in the gob. Both phenomena are related to the depth to which oxygen from the active mining entries can penetrate into the gob. If the longwall panel is operated as a bleederless or sealed gob, progressive sealing along the gate roads as the longwall face retreats limits the flow of fresh air into the gob and thus deprives potentially explosive atmospheres or sponcom of oxygen. In a project sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), researchers at the Colorado School of Mines have used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to simulate the flow of methane, oxygen and nitrogen in longwall gobs. Modeling indicates that targeted injection of nitrogen through the seals along the gate roads inby the face can be used to control the size and location of methane-air mixtures as well as the oxygen concentration within the gob and minimize or eliminate the hazards of spontaneous combustion and methane explosions within the gob.

Completing the Development of Longwall Foam Dust Suppression

By Dr. Paul A. Kittle, Aquafoam, Inc.

Foam dust suppression has been widely used for many years, but installation on underground mining machinery, especially longwall shearers, has not advanced. The anticipated coal dust rules will likely require utilization of all existing technology, and, likely, some additional dust suppression performance not currently available. All of the technical elements needed for a longwall shearer foam dust suppression installation are known and available, but require a substantial final implementation effort from the mining machine manufacturers, the coal mining community, and the technology suppliers. No single entity can produce the final accomplishment alone. What is known, what is needed, what are the roadblocks, will be presented.

Session 3: Proximity Detection

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
9:00am -11:00am

Personal Proximity Detection for Underground Coal Mining Equipment

By Michael B. McMillion, senior mechanical engineer, coal operations support, CONSOL Energy

While MSHA continues to develop regulations governing the implementation of proximity detection, the mining industry has been very proactive in applying this technology ahead of definitive ruling. Multiple proximity detection systems are accumulating operating time and experience in underground coal mines with approved permissible systems installed on various equipment. In addition to the proximity suppliers, coal operators are gaining experience in managing the application of these systems. For the testing carried out in mines, the coal companies have been developing specifications for operation with these systems, funding the purchase of hardware, making equipment available for installation, and providing manpower for training and oversight. The proximity system suppliers continue to invest capital in correcting deficiencies which are identified in these tests and continuously improving their systems in regards to functionality and reliability. Further, they are investing in production capability and manpower for support to meet expanding application.

CONSOL started testing on a place-change continuous miner with proximity detection in March 2011 which continues today. Even though contact incidents with remote-controlled continuous miners provided the driving force for developing the technology, it is clear from statistics and operational analysis that other mobile equipment presents a risk of man-machine contact. In response to this, CONSOL implemented a test of proximity detection in a miner section on two shuttle cars, a loader and a scoop. This test started in August 2011 and it also continues today. The presentation will cover some of the experiences in managing the implementation of these systems with more detail regarding the start-up. CONSOL continues to install proximity detection on additional equipment in preparation to expand operation. Beyond mobile equipment, CONSOL realized the risk of contact incidents with longwall roof supports as well. At the same time CONSOL was gearing up to test proximity detection on continuous miners, Longwall Shield manufacturers were contacted and encouraged to develop proximity detection wherein CONSOL offered to provide locations for testing. Caterpillar has developed a proximity detection system which is integrated into the PMC-R roof support control system and is eventually planned for installation on four new sets of shields for CONSOL. The presentation will describe the proximity related hardware and expected operation on the face.

Proximity Detection in a Mine Wide Applications for Underground Coal

By Mike Berube, president and COO, Strata Worldwide

The mining industry has seen an ever increasing availability of safety electronics over the last 10 years. The recent availability of products to detect the proximity of personnel and active equipment to one another has in particular been a major milestone in the prevention of serious injury and deaths in the mining industry. Experience has shown for proximity detection in an underground coal mining application to be effective, however, it is necessary the proximity detection system provide automated command and control of the equipment. This tight integration of systems is not without its challenges. This is especially true in situations when multiple pieces of equipment are in the same vicinity or when machine operators must be positioned on or adjacent to the equipment. System designers strive to minimize occurrences of nuisance alarms and equipment stoppages due to conditions which may be interpreted as safety conditions when, in fact, they are part of typical activity.

Strata, over the past five years, has supplied more than 1,000 proximity detection and collision avoidance systems that have provided static or highly dynamic safety zones on multiple types of equipment operating within close vicinity. The use of variable zones is used in conjunction with direct control over equipment functions. Strata will describe lessons learned, through the use of case studies, with regard to the effects of various zone configurations on personnel safety, production, and system acceptance.

This presentation will educate the audience on how proximity detection can be an extremely effective safety technology, while striking a balance with production demands. The critical element is the understanding of human behavior and distinguishing required human-machine interactions from those that put personnel at risk. Current technology allows the deployment of sophisticated systems providing highly dynamic safety zones and automated control capabilities, but it is the human factor that ultimately constrains what is practical and effective underground.

Intelligent Proximity Detection Technology for Underground Coal Mines

By Joseph DuCarme, mechanical engineer, NIOSH

Severe injuries and fatalities occur every year when a miner is struck or pinned by mobile mining equipment such as continuous mining machines, shuttle cars and scoops. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) estimates that since 1984, 73 fatalities of this type have occurred that may have been prevented through the use of proximity detection technology. During 2013, MSHA plans to finalize a regulation that would require the use of proximity detection systems on continuous mining machines and to publish a proposed regulation related to proximity detection systems for underground coal haulage equipment.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has been a leader in the development and testing of proximity detection technology since its introduction to the industry. Most recently, NIOSH researchers have developed the Intelligent Proximity Detection System, which is designed to provide intelligent protection by disabling only potentially hazardous machine motions. This system is built using off-the-shelf proximity detection hardware along with software developed by NIOSH researchers.

Signals from multiple magnetic field generators are measured by a wearable device on the miner’s belt. Based on the measured strength of these signals, a model of each of the magnetic shells is created and the position of the miner is determined as the intersection of these shells. The positions of all miners in the area are continuously tracked and compared to pre-defined safety zones around the machine. When a miner intrudes into one of these zones, the machine functions associated with that zone are disabled, but safe machine functions are allowed to continue. Laboratory evaluations have quantified the accuracy and robustness of the system with respect to environmental variables including the presence of metallic objects and coal near the mining machine as well as with respect to operational variables such as the posture of the miner.

In addition, human-subject testing has been used to investigate the incorporation of a visual warning system mounted on the mining machine as well as the impact of proximity detection on the ability of experienced continuous mining machine operators to perform simple machine operation tasks. The results of this research indicate that the Intelligent Proximity Detection System is capable of maintaining an accuracy near 1 foot with regard to the environmental and operational variables tested, that the incorporation of a visual warning system significantly improves the ability of people to identify when and why a proximity detection event has occurred, and finally that the Intelligent Proximity Detection System has significantly less impact on an experienced operator's ability to perform mining tasks. These results will be presented along with an overview of all NIOSH research in proximity detection.

Matrix Technology and Experience in Proximity Detection

By Aric Pryor, Matrix Design Group President

This presentation will address the design, testing, and production deployment of proximity detection systems in U.S. underground coal mines. The presentation will cover the M3-1000 ‘generation one’ technology, and in-mine experience with the system in production use. Feedback from miner operators, mine maintenance personnel, and Matrix field technicians will also be discussed. The new IntelliZone ‘generation two’ technology will also be reviewed, with comparisons to the M3-1000 system, and discussion of enhancements for mobile haulage and surface use. Installation, maintenance, and operational ‘best practices’ will also be reviewed.

Keynote Luncheon & Longwall USA Top Performers Awards

Wednesday, June 12, 2013, Noon-1:30 p.m.



Coal Age will recognize the three top performing U.S. longwall mines

Market Uncertainty: Demand for Coal Grows Everywhere, but the U.S.


By Seth Schwartz, Energy Venture Analysis

Session 4: Face Automation

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
2:00pm -4:00pm

Partnering to Develop a Productive Automated Longwall System

By Mike Calderone, manager, controls and automation systems, JoyGlobal, and Scott Langley, COO, White Oak Resources

Partnering and open communication between the longwall operator and supplier is the vital starting point to develop a successful longwall system. That communication includes understanding the operator’s goals through regular peer reviews from system architecture to component level design. Understanding customer needs and supplier capabilities in longwall mining is a key differentiator that offers new opportunities to focus on zero harm while driving productivity and consistent system reliability. This presentation will review the partnering that took place between a longwall operator and a supplier to develop a world-class longwall system incorporating the benefits of the latest automation technologies.

Application of Shearer Automation in Australia

By Stephen Douglas, projects manager with automation responsibilities, Eickhoff

The coal industry in Australia has recently experienced a significant drop in coal prices and the slump within the global market has seen a reduction in the demand for coal, resulting in significant cost cutting exercises. In addition, Australia has a shortage in skilled labor with the current workforce described as aging, with large numbers of employees to retire. These factors impose significant pressure to the industry for the near future. Although there are many areas of consideration required in addressing these uncertainties, one which has started to have a significant impact to longwall production in Australia is automation. Not only does automation provide a safe method to produce longwall coal, but it has already been demonstrated to provide consistency in production. Some of these areas relate to cutting cycles, dilution control, controlling methane levels during production, and improving the availability of key longwall equipment.

This presentation will take a closer look to the driving factors of Australia longwall automation. When comparing to other industries, it is clear that longwall automation is still evolving. In Australia, pressure is applied to the OEM in providing the technologies and solutions with some of these relating to state based automation, radar collision avoidance between the shearer and shields, inter‐action between the shearer and other longwall components and online video streaming. Certain fundamentals are required to successfully implement these technologies, and even more importantly the continuous utilization of these technologies AFTER implementation and this will be outlined by providing more specific details of the journey in getting there.

The purpose of this presentation is to stimulate the imagination of the audience by referring to experiences encountered from an OEM perspective on the journey to apply automation and outline the successes as well as challenges encountered to date. It is the small ideas and the intermediate steps which will take longwall automation to the next level, and an inside view could result into more action globally.

The key equipment in the longwall system when referring to automation is the shearer loader, due to its high level of mobility required during production cycles, and reference in particular will be made to the shearer and its integration with other longwall equipment during automated operations.

The future of longwall mining will significantly be impacted by automation, but more application is required to provide perspective in achieving positive outcomes. This can be achieved if there are more longwalls automated and the application of automation increased.

Longwall Extraction of Thin Seams at Poland’s Bogdanka Mine Using VFD Technology

By Zbigniew Stopa, vice president, Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka S.A., and Dr. Michael Myszkowski, manager, sales support-longwall AFC’s & Plows, Cat Global Mining

The hard coal located in seams lower than 6 ft at the Bogdanka mine in Poland amount to 80% of all recoverable reserves. For that reason Bogdanka decided to implement plow technology as the solution for clean and economically reliable extraction of thin seams. The first plow system commissioned in the 2010 was based upon conventional two speed motors. In 2012, Bogdanka started the second plow face, but this time based upon Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) developed by Cat especially for Bogdanka. On this second system both the face conveyor and the plow are powered with VFDs. The authors will provide an overview of the VFD technology used at Bogdanka and discuss comparative operational experiences between the conventional and VFD-powered systems.

Automated Longwall Systems: The Pniówek Experience

By Reinhard Neuper,vice president of product development, Kopex Machinery S.A.

This presentation discusses the basic functionality of the automated longwall systems offered by the Kopex Group. Based on the experience at the Pniówek mine’s Wall C1, which is about 1.45-m thick, at the depth of 1,000 m. The discussion will cover the control system options of electrical equipment, AFCs, powered roof supports with electrohydraulic control system and SCADA. The KSW-460NE1 shearer offers web mapping as an internal function of the control system for the shearers and the capability of direct control from the overriding control system.

Session 5: Reliability & Performance

Thursday, June 13, 2013
9:00am -11:30am

Asset Reliability at the San Juan Mine

By: Michael J. Fidel, manager maintenance, San Juan Coal Co.

High asset reliability is paramount to any capital intensive business. Successful reliability programs limit risk, increase runtime and reduce cost. Reliability initiatives are not maintenance centric, but a collaborative effort from all line functions within the business. San Juan Coal has embedded such an initiative in its mine and will share its journey with the implementation of this program; which will include insights into organization, equipment maintenance strategy, work planning, work execution, data analysis and process improvement.

Challenges for Successful Ground Fault Protection of VFD’s used in Underground Coal Mining

By Bobby Houston, Pat Lemmon, and James K. Martin, Intermountain Electronics

This presentation will discuss the issues that one will have to consider when installing variable frequency drives (VFDs) in coal mining applications. One issue for consideration involves the performance of the ground fault protection devices when applied with a VFD operating at various speeds. As VFDs have become more commonplace in longwall applications, considering some equipment is evaluated for approval as “permissible” equipment, the rigors of testing the real world application will require a documented successful test result. The requirements one must meet for acceptability of a VFD application as “permissible” has merit and should be considered regardless of whether the installation requires an approval for permissibility.

Smart Services in Support of Benchmark Longwall Production

By Dieter Haage, Anglo American Coal-Australia

Historically much of the interaction between mining OEMs and mining operators has been transactional in nature. However, the path to world class performance requires a more synergistic partnership between entities. Smart Services allows for, rather demands, a common strategic focus, combined ownership on problems and mutually developed solutions. Anglo American is currently engaged in a smart service partnership with JoyGlobal related to longwall operations at Moranbah North. This presentation is intended to show how the partnership with JoyGlobal has performed and what benefits Anglo American has realized.

The concept of Smart Services for the purpose of this presentation is the combination of technology, services and common focus to deliver bottom line Anglo American results: maximization of availability, utilization and performance of Moranbah’s longwall system. Smart Services leverages major advancements in onboard and off board technologies and robust communication systems to produce data centric recommendations and analyses, from reactive root cause exercises to maintenance prognostics and operational best practices. Beyond the people and the technology the processes implemented by JoyGlobal and Anglo American that facilitate continuous improvement and provide a longer term frame work for result sustainability.

Several examples are provided that show how both organizations have partnered in solving complex technical issues and in improving longwall performance therefore providing a win-win scenario for both Anglo American and JoyGlobal.

Faster Roadway Development: Slow Cutting for Higher Productivity and Safety

By Kirby Owen,product support manager mechanical cutting, Sandvik Mining and Thomas Vallant,manager sales support mechanical cutting,Sandvik Mining

More than 20 years ago, Sandvik introduced the Bolter Miner to the coal mining industry, with the first machine at Australia’s Tahmoor Colliery. The Bolter Miner concept quickly spread to other coal mining countries. Over time, with input from many longwall mines interested in improving advance rates, the machines continued to evolve.

The latest addition to Sandvik’s Bolter Miner family is the MB610. With improved safety features and ergonomics, the MB610 was designed to increase productivity. In addition to flexible roof-bolting techniques, this bolter miner will demonstrate an improved life span for components. It is capable of cutting through hard intrusions as well. Its unique slow cutting speed provides high cutting forces, resulting in an increased cutting rate and reduced dust creation. Two of these machines are currently proving their worth at CONSOL Energy’s Bailey complex. With the first machine, the development teams at the Bailey mine have advanced a total of 17,700 meters (58,000 ft), with an average shift advance of 36.7 meters (120 ft) during 2012.

Impact of Corrosion on Mining Equipment

By J.V. Pellegrino, Jr., RJ Lee Group, USA

Corrosion has impacted the mining industry worldwide by its adverse impact on the environment and on expensive mining equipment, increasing maintenance costs and lowering production. Mine operators claim the equipment failures are related to design or material selection/quality, placing a large burden on the manufacturers. Water used in the mine is a primary contributor to corrosion. The water must be treated before use in the mine and again before it is released from the mine and enters local watersheds. Treatment methods include the use of multimedia filters, Ultraviolet light, water softeners, activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis (RO) filters.

A laboratory investigation conducted to determine the effect of RO-filtered water on carbon steel piping and case histories that demonstrate the impact of corrosion on various longwall components (chain splice links and AFC conveyor pans) will be presented.