Gathering Arm Loaders

McCellan, Bruce D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION The gathering arm loader was patented by Joseph Joy in 1916. This unique machine motion became the standard of the industry and is used on underground loaders and continuous miners throughout the world. Figs. 1 and 2 show two types of gathering arm loaders. The gathering arm loader is a crawler-mounted ma¬chine primarily used for loading coal in a conventional mining system. Other uses also have been found for this machine in noncoal mines and other industries. MECHANICAL ASSEMBLIES The front or loading end of the machine, commonly called the head, consists of a tapered structural frame, hinged at the rear to the chassis and riding the ground at the front. Two bevel-gear cases are mounted in the head. They are connected by a timing shaft, which also acts as a conveyor drive shaft on most models. An eccentric disk attached to each gear case drives the gathering arms. The rear of the arms are attached to a swivel assembly. The motion derived from this arrange¬ment gathers loose material from the ground directly in front of the machine and loads it into the conveyor. Power for this drive is provided by two electric motors mounted under the gathering head. A speed reducer attached to each motor provides a gathering arm speed of approximately 5.2 rad/s (50 rpm). A torque limiting clutch is provided on each reducer to guard the system against sudden impact loading and continual overloading of the motors. The conveyor consists of an open box section through which a universal-type chain carries the ma¬terial to the rear of the machine, where it is discharged into the haulage vehicle. The chain is driven by a sprocket located on the timing shaft between the two gathering-head bevel-gear cases. On some large loader designs, primarily for noncoal applications, the chain is driven by a separate gear motor at the discharge end of the conveyor. However, the system driven by the timing shaft is used most widely. The conveyor frame is hinged just to the rear of the gathering head. It can be raised or lowered by hydraulic cylinders to the desired discharge height. The conveyor frame also is designed to pivot 0.79 rad (45°) either side of the center, just to the rear of the chassis. This feature increases the maneuverability of the ma¬chine and makes it possible to discharge material into the haulage system when in tight quarters such as when turning a crosscut. This function also is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder. The chassis of the loader consists of two crawler frames and cross members, holding the frames in position. The frames are either welded or cast as¬semblies. Replaceable wear runners are provided on the frames to take the wear generated by the crawler chain. An adjustable take-up idler keeps the crawler chain in proper adjustment for maximum life. The drive system for the crawler chains varies with the manufacturer, but it generally is one of two basic designs. One system provides a traction motor for each side of the machine, coupled to a speed reducer. A spur and bevel-gear train transfers power to the sprocket, which drives the crawler chain. Directional control is achieved by disk-type clutches. The other system also uses a motor for each crawler, coupled to a speed reducer. A roller chain drives the sprocket, which in
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