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|INTRODUCTION Boom-type miners mechanize the cutting and loading of a solid face of rock having a compressive strength as high as 124 MPa (18,000 psi). These machines differ from continuous miners in that they can cut much harder rock for any given cutter-motor power. In addi¬tion, a boom miner is more flexible, selectively cutting any cross-sectional configuration from circular to square arched faces, 1.57-rad (90°) turns, and mixed faces. The basic operational concept of these machines, utilizing a rotary cutterhead mounted on a slewing boom, gained importance in Europe during the 1960s, where, due to their specialized use in roadway development in coal mines, they were called roadheaders. Along with continuous miners, boom miners share the ability to fully mechanize the cutting and loading of rock, while eliminating the need for explosives and the shattering and overbreaking of roof and rib rock that is normal with conventional mining methods. The machines are crawler-mounted and most have a gathering-arm load¬ing system that, moves the cut rock onto an internal chain conveyor, subsequently discharging the rock into a transport device such as a shuttle car or a bridge conveyor. Light- to medium-weight boom miners are cutting softer rocks and minerals successfully, including coal, shale, rock salt, potash, phosphate, weak sandstones (e.g., those associated with uranium ore), and other softer ores such as iron. Heavy third-generation ma¬chines have extended rock cutting to much harder ores such as borate, oil shale, and almost all rock associated with coal seams, except for the harder sandstones and limestones. The mention herein of specific manufacturers, brand names, or models is made by way of example only and does not constitute endorsement by the author or The Pennsylvania State University. All costs cited herein are in 1977 US dollars. TYPES OF BOOM MINERS All boom miners utilize drag bits fixed on a rotary cutterhead that is powered by an electric motor mounted in the slewing and elevating cutter boom. The cutter¬head is either a ripping or a milling type, and the machines have evolved through three generations (Boldt, 1977). As shown in Fig. 1, only one boom miner cur¬rently produced can use both ripping and milling cutter¬heads on one machine. Table 1 lists boom-miner models built in large num¬bers and/or successfully used or marketed in North America. Table I excludes machines of which only a few have been produced and none sold in North America, such as those manufactured by Demag, Eick¬hoff, Paurat, and Thyssen-Rheinstahl. The only Ameri¬can boom miners are the F-16 and Super ROC¬MINER"', manufactured by AEC, Inc., State College, PA. Machine Generations Three generations of boom miners can be distin¬guished according to their times of introduction, their rock-cutting abilities, and their weight classifications. Fig. 2 illustrates typical best-practice production rates possible from boom miners for selected cutter-motor power sizes (other power figures can be interpolated). Productivity is related directly to the energy applied to the cutterhead and indirectly to machine weight; higher|