Shuttle Cars

Breithaupt, Richard L.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION A shuttle car is a self-propelled rubber-tired haul¬age vehicle designed specifically for underground min¬ing, primarily in coal mines (see Figs. 1 and 2). The drive mechanism is located on the sides of the vehicle, and the load is carried in the center. A chain-and-flight conveyor distributes the load when the car is being loaded by a loading machine or continuous miner and also discharges the load onto a conveyor belt or into a mine car. As the name implies, the shuttle car shuttles back and forth between the working face and the un¬loading point and is not required to turn around. Shuttle cars have served as primary haulage in this country since 1940 and still perform this function in most coal mines today. TYPES OF SHUTTLE CARS Shuttle cars may be battery-powered, diesel-powered, or cable-reel electric powered. Battery-powered cars were used between 1940 and 1950, but are almost out of existence today because of their limited power. Diesel cars have been used in coal mines, but are used mostly in noncoal mines where rules and regulations are not as stringent. Also, objections by organized labor have limited the use of diesel-powered shuttle cars in coal mines. Today, the largest number of shuttle cars are cable-reel cars. Electric power is fed through a cable stored on a cable reel that may have a capacity from 152 to 244 m (500 to 800 ft), depending upon the size of the cable and the cable reel (see Table 1). This, of course, limits the travel of a shuttle car. However, time studies have shown that for the most efficient haulage cycle, the length of haulage should not exceed 91 m (300 ft). As haulage distance increases, the waiting time for the loader or miner becomes longer, and haul¬age efficiency suffers. Cable-reel cars are manufactured in standard hand and opposite standard hand models. A standard car has the operator's control on the left front side and the opposite standard car has the opera¬tor's controls on the right front. Generally a loader or miner operates with two shuttle cars, one of each type. This allows the trailing cable to lie on either side of the entry and prevents the cables from fouling each other. Shuttle cars are designed to operate with either dc or ac power. Cars using dc power are designed for 250-v supply and ac cars are designed for either 440, 550, or 950 v, three-phase voltage. Most coal mines that are relatively level can use dc cars where dynamic brak¬ing is not required. For mines having steep grades (in excess of 15%) ac cars are used because ac traction motors have inherent dynamic braking and are safer when tramming downgrade. A recent innovation in shuttle car design in the last five years has been the introduction of an ac/dc car. This design utilizes ac input power through the cable, and the power is rectified on the car to 250-v do for traction motors. The pump motor and conveyor motor are powered by ac voltage. The main advantage of this design is efficiency-a much smaller cable may be used and the smooth operating characteristics of the dc traction motor is obtained. This prevents shock loading on the traction drive train, which is an undesirable feature of ac traction motors. SHUTTLE CAR FEATURES Elevating Discharge Today, all shuttle cars are equipped with an elevating front conveyor that allows the shuttle car to discharge into a mine car or belt feeder without the use of ramps. Hydraulic Power System Today, all shuttle cars are equipped with an hy¬draulic power system. An hydraulic pump is driven by an electric motor which provides hydraulic power for steering, elevating the front conveyor, and powering the
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