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|In regard to the paper by J.B. Gwiazda, it makes a highly technical approach to show that the .u factor used by designers of lemniscate-guided roof supports has never really been confirmed as a maximum and assumes that convergence is vertical. Also, the paper does not appear to take into account deflection of structures, which occurs when the lemniscate and base members are fully loaded to their maximum stress level, nor the front to back line of the support in relation to differential roof to floor movements caused by strata movements under pressure. It is not unusual for differential movements to be slightly diagonal to the line of the support, particularly in faulted areas and on gradient faces. The paper also does not take into account consolidation of fines immediately above and below the support. Generally speaking, any differential movement is from face to waste and under these conditions the .u of 0.3, which appears to be an international standard, has worked in practice. However, if the face end of the support is lower than the waste end, then the µ of 0.3 can be considerably increased, giving rise to the damage mentioned in the paper. The ideal design should aim for a slightly forward bias in the lemniscate guide so that the last increment of setting is toward the face, tending to close any fissures that may have developed during the support advance cycle. The support should also be fitted with positive set valves to ensure that a high setting load density is attained to minimize bed separation. As far as powered supports are concerned, convergence is irresistible and all powered supports converge at their rated yield load. A similar principle can be applied to the differential roof to floor movements to drastically reduce the very high forces that would otherwise be applied to the lemniscate structures and pins and that, in turn, are transferred to the base arrangement and floor loading. Any differential movements are usually catered for by the 0.3 µ factor or deflection of structures in the lemniscate guide arrangement and consolidation of the floor. The floor loading, due to differential movement, is in addition to the support convergence load and requires additional bearing area to avoid possible floor penetration. Some seven years ago, Fletcher Sutcliffe Wild Ltd. (FSW) introduced a lemniscate-guided shield support where the lemniscate linkage is connected to the roof bar through two horizontally converging rams to allow differential movement to take place above a given rated figure. This is a known force and can be guarded against, whereas with rigid connections the forces, as yet, are unconfirmed. By careful design, a horizontal force in excess of 6 MN (60 tons) opposes differential movements for a total ram loading of only 2.5 MN (25 tons), or 1.25 MN (12% tons) each. This principle can considerably reduce the length and weight of the support in comparison with a rigid pin-type structure; also, the yield load rating can be increased without affecting the lemniscate forces. The graph shows the tensile and compressive forces in a lemniscate linkage of a support with and without hydrostore. These forces react into both the roof beam and base members and, as can be seen from the support height to linkage load graph, a considerable reduction in these reactions is gained by the use of the FSW patented hydrostore system. Floor loading is considerably reduced under maximum µ conditions, and by allowing the roof bar to move with the strata, some degree of improvement to strata control is achieved in line with the assumptions in the paper. In practice, these movements have only been in the region of a few millimeters, which, in turn, reflects on the improvements to strata control by the addition of positive set valves.|