Operating Ideas - December 2017

Performance Improvements for Continuous Miners

For underground coal operators, the continuous miner is an indispensable piece of equipment. Room-and-pillar mines rely on them for production and longwalls depend on them for development. The industry has seen a steady stream of safety improvements related to the operation of these machines such as wireless remotes and proximity detection systems, and the machine itself has also seen a few changes.

The Joy continuous miner is popular in the U.S. Komatsu Mining recently claimed that nearly all of the top 20 room-and-pillar mines in the U.S. were running Joy continuous miners. Over time, the Joy 12CM, has evolved to meet the higher productivity requirements today’s underground operators expect. While many of the basic elements remain the same, these machines have been improved to withstand rigorous conditions.
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Operating Ideas - October/November 2017

Modeling Solves Coal Flow Problems

The James H. Miller Jr. plant in Alabama is one of the top 10 largest coal-fired power plants in the United States, responsible for 46% of the power generation in Alabama. The plant converted to Powder River Basin (PRB) coal about 20 years ago to gain the environmental benefits of the coal’s low sulfur properties. The downside of PRB coal is the 12,000 tons per hour (tph) that the facility needs to consume to maintain an equivalent power output.
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Operating Ideas - September 2017

Connecting the Connected Mine

How do you connect operations that cover vast stretches of land in some of the world’s most rugged and remote locations?

That’s the question many mining companies are asking today as they look to create a connected mine. They want to take advantage of greater data access, real-time analytics, autonomous systems and services such as remote monitoring, but they first need a network infrastructure that will tie all of those technologies and capabilities together.

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Operating Ideas - July-August 2017

A Better and Safer Way to Clean Coal Ash Silos

MPW Industrial Services borrowed concepts from the oil field, window-washing and confined space rescue trades to develop a better and safer way to clean coal ash silos, which receive as much as 100 million tons of material in the United States each year.
The ash is generated when coal is combusted and the resulting flue gas is captured by electrostatic precipitators or baghouses before entering smoke stacks. The ash, which has a fine particle size distribution with most less than 100 microns, is typically collected in pyramid hoppers then transferred to silos.

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Operating Ideas - June 2017

Dewatering Considerations for ExplosionProof Submersible Slurry Pumps

Explosion prevention is a primary safety concern for many industries that depend on electrically driven pumps. In the case of chemical plants, refineries and hydrocarbon processors, the risks are many and high. A deadly and destructive explosion is only waiting for a tiny spark or sufficiently hot surface to ignite. In the case of mining and oil and gas exploration, the potential fuel source for an explosion is escaping underground gas found in subsurface pockets frequently under extreme pressure. Fortunately, electrical equipment, including submersible pump motors, can be designed and manufactured to prevent them from becoming an ignition source in these hazardous environments.

The approach to safety in this case begins with the science of defining the exact nature of the hazardous area. This includes understanding and classifying the explosive material and its potential for being present within defined areas (zones) of the considered site. In the U.S. and some other countries, hazardous locations are defined in an official and comprehensive publication called the National Electric Code (NEC). This guide is produced and maintained by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). The NFPA’s mission includes producing fire safety standards that are used as official codes by governments or other local authorities with interest in safety for construction, commercial, residential and industrial sites.

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