Reducing respirable dusts and fines through shearer drum design in coal mines

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 1059, 2002

O.Z. Hekimoglu, B. Tiryaki and M. Ayhan

Coal shearers are one of the major sources of dust and fines in underground coal mines. Despite considerable research investigations, no comprehensive in situ investigations coupled with extensive laboratory studies on the effects of drum design on generation of dust and fines have been found. It may be for this reason that many major shearer drum manufacturers persistently employ a certain drum-lacing pattern on current coal shearers, which is believed to cause excessive dust and fines in coal mines. This paper shows how respirable dust and fines are minimized under near-identical conditions when the drum lacing pattern was changed from a triple-tracking to a single tracking arrangement. A series of laboratory trials simulating in full scale the practical cutting action of tools was followed by extensive long-term underground trials during production operations in OAL (Cayirhan) Lignite mine in Turkey. The results are presented and discussed, and recommendations for proper drum-lacing in terms of respirable dust and fines are made.
Keywords: Underground mining, Shearer drums, Dust, Fines, Coal mines, Tunnelling