High-Energy Impact Hammers

Hawkes, Ivor
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION High energy breaking is an alternative to using ex¬plosives in underground secondary breaking operations. It also is a means of upgrading conventional hand-held breakers, manual sledge-hammer breaking, and scaling bar operations. Major areas of application are in sec¬ondary breaking over grizzlies and at drawpoints. Other applications include breaking down ripping lips in longwall seam mining, scaling in stopes and rooms, general demolition work, and roadway maintenance. There is considerable interest in high-energy impact breakers for use in primary ore breaking, but, as of 1977, all such applications have been only experimental (duToit, 1973; Joughin, 1976; Wayment and Grantmyre, 1976). EQUIPMENT Essentially, a high-energy impact hammer is a boom¬mounted pneumatically or hydraulically actuated breaker. The machine basically consists of a piston that oscillates in a housing and impacts the end of a tool or moil thrust against the rock. The force applied to the rock primarily depends upon the impact energy of the piston-the higher the impact or blow energy, the greater the force and, thus, the greater the rock break¬age. Among drill and breaker designers, a common expression for blow energy is "force of blow." Hand-held breakers are limited to blow energies of about 140 J (100 ft-lb), because the operator is unable to handle heavier machines efficiently or to absorb the recoil energy resulting from higher blow energies. How¬ever, these restrictions do not apply to boom mounted breakers; machines with blow energies on the order of 4000 J (3000 ft-lb) and higher are available commer¬cially for underground use. There is considerable evi¬dence to show that increasing the blow energy also in¬creases the efficiency of the breaking operation; i.e., more rock is broken per unit of energy expended (Grantmyre and Hawkes, 1975). Thus, there is a trend to higher blow-energy machines, particularly where high¬strength rocks are to be broken. In relation to rock breaking, the blow rate of boom¬mounted impact breakers is not as important as it is for rock drills. This is because the breaker must be moved over the work surface between blows. The blow rate is governed eventually by the power supply, and typical blow rates range between 200 and 600 blows per minute. As a general rule, light blow-energy machines have higher blow rates than heavier machines. Table 1 lists most of the boom-mounted impact breakers that were available commercially during 1977, and it gives details of the blow energies and machine weights. Restrictions are placed on the blow energy by the machine weight and size, and by the strength of the boom. Typically, boom-mounted impact hammers have a blow-energy to mass ratio of about 1.5, with lower values for lighter machines and higher values for heavier machines. In addition to supporting the hammer weight, the boom also has to absorb the recoil energy of the blow, which can be on the order of 1400 J (1000 ft-lb) for large hammers operating in a horizontal mode. Interesting exceptions to the general run of impactors are the Joy HEFTI hydraulic hammers. In these machines, the piston impacts onto a fluid cushion that is positioned between the piston and the impact tool. This approach allows very high piston velocities, over 30 m/s (100 fps), to be used without the risk of break¬ing the piston or impact tool. Steel on steel impacts must be limited to impact velocities of about 10 m/s (35 fps) due to the high impact stresses generated; thus, increased blow energies can be achieved only by increas¬ing the piston size. The Joy 514 HEFTI®, listed in Table 1, has a blow energy of 27 100 J (20,000 ft-lb), but, as of 1977, the machine has been used underground only on an experimental basis. Using a fluid cushion between the piston and the impact tool allows the use of light pistons, reducing the overall machine weight. The recoil energy, which must be absorbed by the boom for a given blow energy, is directly proportional to the piston to machine mass ratio, and operating with light pistons provides an addi¬tional benefit in reducing the requisite boom size. Both pneumatic and hydraulic hammers are avail¬able commercially. Although hydraulic hammers are a relatively recent development, they already outnumber the pneumatic machines in use. There are many reasons
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