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Low-seam longwall production record set in West Virginia

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World Coal,

The Pinnacle coal mine in West Virginia has set a new daily low-seam coal production record using a Cat automated longwall plough system, Caterpillar has reported in a press release. The mine achieved production of 35 724 short t (32 411 t) over a 24 hour period on 10 – 11 April from a 980 ft (298 m) longwall in the Virginia Pocahontas No. 3 seam. The seam has a height of just 56 in. (1.42 m).

Rebuilt system achieves coal mining record

The Cliffs Natural Resources mine near the town of Pineville operates a Cat Gleithobel GH1600 longwall plough system – the same system was also responsible for the previous record of 32 430 short t (29 423 t) set in August 2012. Since then, the longwall system has undergone a comprehensive rebuild encompassing the headgate and tailgate armoured face conveyor (AFC) drive, the headgate and tailgate special AFC pans, the stageloader drives and return end, the complete crusher and all gearboxes for the plough, AFC and stageloader.

Carter Machinery, the local Cat dealer, undertook the rebuild, which is the first such project undertaken by the company since it acquired the rights to sales and aftermarket support associated with the former Bucyrus mining products in 2013.

Pinnacle coal mine’s low-seam longwall system: one of a kind

The Pinnacle longwall is currently the only Cat automated longwall plough system in the US, according to the press release. The system has 2 x 800/400 hp. (600/300 kW) of installed power for the plough with two operating speeds of 395/197 ft/min (2/1 m/sec). The AFC has an installed power of 2 x 800 hp. (600 kW).

Each roof support in the system has a total leg cylinder capacity of 715 short t (649 t) with an operating height range of 35 – 77.5 in. (890 to 1968 mm) and is equipped with its own PMC-R electrohydraulic roof support control. Other units from the Cat Programmable Mining Control family are used for overall face automation and visualisation, as well as for drive control. The longwall is equipped with a PF4/1132 face conveyor, a PF4/1542 stageloader and a SB0815 V-belt crusher with a 300 hp. (225 kW) motor.

To set the new record the cutting depth was calibrated to cut 140 mm at a speed of 395 ft/minute (2 m/sec) when traveling towards the headgate and 250 mm traveling at 197 ft/min (1 m/sec) to the tailgate. The depths and speeds are customisable and were selected to optimise loading of the face conveyor.

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