Lemniscate-guided powered roof supports adapted for proper operation with the roof on longwall faces - by J.B. Gwiazda Technical Papers, MINING ENGINEERING, Vol. 37, No. 8 August 1985, pp. 1064-1068

Budirsky, S.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
J.B. Gwiazda's article deals with an interesting problem that has not been studied thoroughly up to now. Gwiazda has proposed a technical solution that eliminates horizontal load imposed by the supports on the roof. That load is due to a discrepancy between the trajectories of the canopy and the overlying strata. It is true that the improved lemniscate guidance system proposed by Gwiazda could eliminate the horizontal load but, on the other hand, it would represent a higher cost of the supports, and it would complicate the already complicated mechanism of powered supports. That is why we must be convinced that the proposed improvement is actually needed. From that point of view, the following questions should be elucidated. As shown in Fig. 1, the point O travels along the curve a, which produces horizontal load on the roof in the direction of the coal face. As stated by Gwiazda, "such a high load is capable of destroying the roof above the support, causing rock debris to be scattered around the face." The results of our measurements carried out in coal mines of the Czechoslovak part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin show that the convergence in the modern type of powered supports does not exceed several millimeters (not more than 10) per hour. Similar conclusions were drawn from field measurements performed in the Polish part of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (see S. Romanowicz and H. Szopka in Proceedings, Scientific and Technical Symposium Simmex '85, Katowice, Poland, pp. 73 -83). The small vertical closure of the supports also induces a small horizontal displacement of the canopy. In addition to this, the transmission of forces between the roof and the canopy is influenced by the layer of debris on it, i.e., the canopy slides without imposing a greater horizontal load on the roof. This was deduced from field measurements of Voest-Alpine F 4/4600 powered supports equipped with rams instead of the common front lemniscate links (denoted as 1 in Fig. 5). In these supports, the pressurizing of the space of piston rod (la in Fig. 5) causes the rams to close, which induces horizontal load on the roof in a direction toward the coal face. After the setting of a support unit, the pressure in the piston rod space was found to drop, frequently to zero, because the small horizontal sliding between the canopy and the debris or inside the debris caused the horizontal reaction from the roof to fall to zero, although the debris were pressurized by vertical setting load. As a consequence, there was no horizontal load imposed by the canopy on the roof. A rise of the horizontal load was recorded only after the passage of the shearer and during lowering of the adjacent units. Thorough information on the results of the afore- mentioned field measurement is given in the paper, "Analysis of the performance of shield powered supports installed in a thick seam," published in Mechanizacja i automatyzacja gornictwa, 1982, No. 12, pp. 38-46. An English translation of the paper is available from the author. We have deduced from our observations that horizontal load imposed by the canopy on the roof in the direction toward the coal face is useful for roof control because it limits the displacement of the immediate roof toward the gob particularly during the rise working. We came to the conclusion that horizontal load on the roof toward the coal face should be induced on purpose. Could Mr. Gwiazda prove with the results of field measurements his contrary opinion? Has the small horizontal displacement of the canopy toward the face actually had an adverse effect on the roof? As shown in Fig. 2, during the setting of a support unit, the canopy imposes a horizontal load on the roof in the direction of the gob. In this case, I share Gwiazda's opinion that the horizontal load could have an adverse effect on the roof. Nevertheless, two important circumstances were neglected - the horizontal compliance of the supports and the interaction of adjacent units. The question of the compliance was analyzed precisely by I. Krumnacker in Gluckauf -Forschungshefle, 1984, NO. 5, pp. 219-223. He found that due to the clearance between the hinge pins and the eyes of the sheild and due to the elasticity of the steel structure,
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