Longwall mini-build optimises production, reliability and safety

Having executed over 100 longwall modifications and upgrades, Hastings Deering was able to run over 1200 individual tests in a safe environment with the goal of significantly improving production, ramping up outcomes and increasing ongoing reliability.

Hastings Deering has taken its compatibility testing to the next level by assembling a complete section of a longwall in its Mackay workshop that ensures major equipment modifications and upgrades are fully integrated before the equipment returns to site. To achieve this, a longwall was configured in the workshop to enable testing of the integrated system under operation. The setup combined a Caterpillar EL3000 Evo Shearer, armoured face conveyor, front and rear maingates and tailgates along with four roof support shields.

Steering the project, Hastings Deering Underground Coal, Mining Large & Expanded Products Manager Jason Clery said the mini-build allowed for proof testing to be conducted in a safe environment enabling a more efficient and quicker re-commissioning of the equipment once underground working the next coal panel.

“Once installed underground, a longwall is 350m long,” Mr Clery said. “Our workshops are 100m long and 32m wide, so we were able to build a 75m longwall mini-build to conduct the commissioning in the workshop. In fact, we can assemble up to 40 roof supports in our facility.

“The logistics were incredible with a steady stream of trucks being required to transport the equipment components to our facility and back to site.

“Over the course of the overhaul, various components made their way through our gearbox overhaul centre, electrical and electronics workshops, electro-hydraulic valve-shop, shearer overhaul centre, fabrication workshop and finally to the general fitting and assembly bay.”

Mr Clery said in addition to the equipment overhaul, there were over 100 modifications made.

“There were approximately 1200 tests conducted; everything from initial function testing of major components and post-repair testing of individual components to major component and full system commissioning,” he said.

“At the end of the day it is all about reducing and mitigating risk. If we can do all this testing above ground in a workshop before the unit goes back to work, we can more closely monitor and evaluate the modifications with our longwall technical resources and  ne tune adjustments as necessary.

“The bene t to our customer is confidence their equipment upgrades and modifications are fully integrated into the system ahead of its return to work to ramp up for production in its next underground panel.”

Hastings Deering will be showcasing at Austmine 2019.

Image: Hastings Deering recently assembled and configured a section of an underground longwall to enable operational testing of the integrated system.

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