Shearer-Mounted Scrubbers, Are They Viable And Cost-Effective?

Wirch, Steve ; Jankowski, Robert
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
The issue of dust control in underground coal mines has been extensively studied by both government and industry. This research work has resulted in many techniques which control the dust or help miners avoid it. Control techniques either prevent the dust from becoming airborne or cleanse the air before it can be inhaled. Avoidance measures minimize the exposure of miners to the airborne dust by blowing the dust away from work areas or making it unnecessary for a miner to occupy a dusty region. One of several successful dust control measures in continuous miner sections is the use of a machine mounted scrubber which cleanses the air and helps to prevent the contaminated air from reaching areas frequented by mine personnel. Research on the application of scrubbers on longwall shearers began in the 1970s and continued into the 1980s. The most successful projects showed only moderate improvement when a scrubber system was mounted on a longwall shearer, and the less successful projects actually increased worker dust levels. There are many reasons that scrubbers have not been successfully applied on longwalls. The most significant of these is that longwalls have across the face ventilation and generally have high face air flows. Scrubbers tend to work best when they are the primary cause of ventilation. Therefore, their capture efficiencies on longwalls tend to suffer because of the exposure of the drums to the primary airflow. Other reasons scrubbers have not been implemented on longwall s include the successful application of an excellent water spray system, effective cutting techniques, and dispersion of dust sources. These techniques can help control drum generated dust, increase production, and limit the relative effectiveness of a scrubber.
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