Underground Belt Conveyors

Torre, Dominc C.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION Rapidly increasing capacities of equipment used to load and handle material at the face require improved haulage equipment and better methods of transporting the mined materials or "muck" to the shaft or slope and out of the mine to the processing plant on the surface. Increasingly, those transportation demands are being satisfied with underground belt conveyors. Such con¬veyors provide the most readily available, most efficient, and most reliable method of carrying materials in a continuous and rapid flow from the face loading equip¬ment to the surface plant. Almost universally, belt con¬veyors are used in coal mines and those nonmetallic and metallic mines operating in relatively flat bedded deposits. Belt conveyors are available in a wide range of capacities, mainly limited by belt width, belt speed, and weight of the material to be transported. They can be used on the level, on grades, on the surface, or under¬ground. They provide a rapid and constant flow of material, transporting the material as quickly as it is mined. Length of belt conveyors is almost unlimited. Where the haulage distance exceeds the practical capacity of a single conveyor unit, two or more conveyors can be used in series. Single conveyors more than 1.6 km (1.0 mile) long are common; multiple-unit conveyors in series operation are transporting materials over distances exceeding 16.1 km (10 miles). Depending upon mate¬rials being transported, job conditions, cost of the terrain being spanned, and alternative haulage methods avail¬able, conveyors can be conceivably economical for even greater distances. Table 1 lists maximum belt speeds recommended for most materials, relating belt speeds to belt widths. Table 2 lists capacities of typical conveyors of various widths and speeds, transporting commonly mined mate¬rials of various weights. ADVANTAGES OF CONVEYOR SYSTEMS For several years after their initial introduction, belt conveyors were available only with rigid side frames or a supporting structure of steel and concrete. That con¬struction limited underground applications, due to the cost and relative inconvenience of extending or retract¬ing the belt conveyor in the confined underground environment. However, during the last 20 years, wire-¬rope side-frame belt conveyors, as shown in Fig. 1, have become widely used in underground applications. Even wider use can be anticipated with their application to the fast movement of materials in surface mining operations. Advantages of the wire-rope side-frame belt con¬veyors were realized first in panel or section belt haulage in coal mines. Soon afterward, use of those conveyors was extended to gathering and main-line haulage. The mobility of the wire-rope side-frame conveyor is the principal reason for its success. The conveyor can be extended, retracted, dismantled, moved, and reassembled easily, even in relatively confined under¬ground spaces. The intermediate structure consists of rope support stands, wire-rope side frames, wire-rope tie-off stands, and the necessary carrying idlers and return idlers. An important and very attractive feature is the ability to suspend the conveyor from the roof in an underground mine, as shown in Fig. 2, leaving more room for improved housekeeping and allowing passage of face-service equipment, haulage vehicles, and other mining equipment. The conveyor's open construction allows quick and easy visual inspection of its com¬ponents for failures or malfunctions; it also facilitates checking and correcting conveyor-belt alignment. Other advantages contributing to the attractiveness and widespread application of wire-rope side-frame conveyors in main-line, slope, and surface installations include: lower capital costs, lower installation costs, lower maintenance costs, reduced impact on idlers and belting, reduced spillage and minimal cleanup, improved conformation to undulating terrain or mine bottoms, and the ability to span most obstacles without heavy structural support. CONVEYOR CLASSIFICATIONS Underground belt conveyors are classified normally according to their function. Generally, conveyors are classified into one of four main categories: 1) Panel or section conveyors normally receive the material to be transported directly from the face-haulage equipment. 2) Gathering conveyors are secondary haulage units that usually receive material from two or more panel conveyors. 3) Main-line conveyors transport all the material mined in the underground operations to the slope or shaft. Normally, they receive the material from two or more gathering conveyors. 4) Slope conveyors generally operate in tandem with the main-line conveyor, providing continuous Table 1. Maximum Belt Speeds Recommended for General Use Run-of-Mine Hard Ores and Belt Width, Coal and Earth, Primary Crushed mm (in.) m/s (fpm) Stone, m/s (fpm) 356(14) 1.52 (300) 1.52 (300) 406(16) 1.52 (300) 1.52 (300) 457(18) 2.03 (400) 1.78 (350) 508(20) 2.03 (400) 1.78 (350) 610(24) 2.54 (500) 2.29 (450) 660(26) 2.54 (500) 2.29 (450) 762(30) 3.05 (600) 2.79 (550) 914(36) 3.30 (650) 3.05 (600) 1067 (42) 3.56 (700) 3.05 (600) 1219 (48) 3.56 (700) 3.30 (650) 1372 (54) 3.56 (700) 3.30 (650) 1524 (60) 3.56 (700) 3.30 (650) 1676 (66) 4.06 (800) 3.81 (750) 1829 (72) 4.06 (800) 3.
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