|Summary / Abstract
Ever since miners were faced with the task of moving ore, some form of scraper has been in use. At first, men and beasts of burden supplied the power to move the scraper, and later, machines were developed for this purpose. In the early 1900s, a few mining properties used small pneumatic single-drum winches to pull loaded scrapers to a raise or ore pocket, and the empty scraper then was dragged back to the muck pile by a miner, as shown in Fig. 1.
Just prior to 1920, an improvement was introduced, using two single-drum hoists. As illustrated by Fig. 2, the second hoist was used to return the empty scraper to the muck pile. However, this arrangement still re¬quired two men, one operating each hoist. The next developmental step was to eliminate the second man by locating the hoists side-by-side and using one man to control both hoists. As illustrated by Fig. 3, this involved the use of a tail rope over a sheave to pull the scraper back.
The greatest progress in development and the great¬est increase in the use of slusher haulers occurred between 1920 and 1930. In 1921, the Sullivan Machinery Co. designed and built the first two-drum scraper oper¬ating on the principle illustrated by Fig. 4. It was powered by a 4.5-kW (6-hp) Turbinair(r) motor and would pull a 450-kg (1000-1b) load at 0.61 m/s (120 fpm). In 1922, this unit was shipped to the Verona Mining Co. of Caspian, MI, and it experienced immediate success in the Lake Superior iron ore district. Since the two-drum slusher was much less expensive and more efficient than hand mucking, the Lake Superior mines were saved from financial disaster when iron-ore prices fell 25% between 1923 and 1925. Immediately there¬after, a demand developed for slushers that would oper¬ate with electric power, which was considerably cheaper than compressed-air power. In 1923, the Sullivan Machinery Co. responded with the first electric-powered double-drum hoist.
During subsequent years, design improvements in¬cluded separate tail-drum gearing to increase the tail¬drum speed, as welt as a number of safety features such as rope guides. One result of these improvements and their utilization by the Michigan iron mines was an in¬crease of 100% in the tons of ore per miner per day in those mines between 1924 and 1929.
Since the two-drum slusher was capable only of straight-line mucking, it was not a practical machine for use in open stopes. In 1929, the Sullivan Machinery Co. introduced the first three-drum slusher. As illustrated by Fig. 5, two tail drums and one hauling drum were provided. A tail sheave could be placed at each side of the stope, and the ore then could be loaded and hauled to a central point from the entire width of the stope.
During the 1930s, progressively larger slushers were demanded. By 1940, two- and three-drum units were available with motor power as high as 45 kW (60 hp), and slusher power continued to increase after 1940. Be¬tween 1951 and 1952, Joy Manufacturing Co. designed a 112-kW (150-hp) two-drum Blusher for the Climax Molydenum Co. Although there has been no demand for a slusher more powerful than this, 150- to 225-kW (200- to 300-hp) slushers are quite feasible at the pres¬ent time.
During the last 30 years, many slusher improvements have been made to the operating life, operational safety, and ease of operation and maintenance. Increased tail-drum speeds have decreased overall scraping times. Rope guards, totally enclosed drums, and operator shields have reduced the hazards of injury due to wire¬rope breakage. Improvements in lubrication have made the slushers relatively maintenance-free, with long operating lives. The introduction of spring-actuated drag brakes prevented uncontrolled unreeling of dis¬engaged drums, allowing the development of practical remote-control slusher operation. Remote control now
is available in a choice of all-air, all-electric, or air¬electric slushers.
Quite simply, slushers are used to load and transport material (ore), generally over a short distance of from