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New Life for Old

 

Replacing time-expired mining equipment like-for-like with a new machine is sometimes not an option, especially when capital budgets are tight. Carefully undertaken, rebuilds can offer a viable alternative, producing as-new plants for lower investment.

Aging equipment carries a cost to any operation, as maintenance bills creep up steadily and machine availability declines. The question for any maintenance manager is, when to decide that enough is enough, and begin to look at replacement options.

In boom times, the obvious response is to buy new, although even that strategy may come unstuck if the equipment manufacturer already has a full order book and a long lead time for delivery. When markets are down and the funding needed for a new machine is scarce, then spending less to obtain a rebuilt unit becomes increasingly attractive. Of course, there is also the bazaar scenario, in that the manufacturer may be more amenable to haggle over the price of a new truck, loader, scraper or whatever in order to keep the production line running. And, conversely, the unavailability of new machines in short order when that line is working to capacity may lead the operator to investigate rebuilding just to get fleet capacity back up to where it is needed.

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Open-pit Mining Conference Offers Solutions for Operators

 

Presentations discuss the latest developments related to truck-shovel mining

The bi-annual Haulage & Loading conference kicks off May 7, 2017, at the Wigwam Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. The event, which features a continuing education program and a small exhibit, caters to professionals involved in surface mining operations with an emphasis on truck-shovel mining methods. Over the course of three days, the technical program offers five tracks: Improving Operations, Haulage Strategies, Fleet Management, Safety & Training and Loading Techniques. In each of the sessions, presenters from the mines and the service side of the business, offer ideas on how to operate open-pit mines more safely and efficiently.

The Wigwam Resort offers a rustic, affordable atmosphere to learn and meet with peers. The full conference registration includes access to all of the presentations and the exhibit area, along with breakfast each morning and two lunches.

In addition to the technical program, Haulage & Loading also offers several opportunities for delegates to mingle with peers. On Sunday morning, before the event begins, E&MJ and Coal Age sponsor a golf outing. In the evening, delegates will enjoy a pleasant desert evening at a casual poolside soiree. What follows is a preview of what conference delegates can expect to see and hear at Haulage & Loading 2017.

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Coal Prep Tech Companies Use Slump to Innovate, Research

 

Coal processing equipment companies say they are stoked to see the uptick in the market and an end to the feds’ role in the War on Coal. It is unfortunate for them that Coal Prep, an annual trade show, was mothballed. That, they say, shouldn’t stop plant managers from learning about the latest innovations reported here and on their websites. Many have used the slump to test and hone their products, and release their latest findings and offerings. A summary of a handful follows, and can be found in Suppliers News and the Products sections of this edition of Coal Age.

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Delivering Wet Fuel to the Fire

Saturated coal does not have to dampen plant efficiency

The Scherer coal plant, operated by Southern Co., had spent many years suffering from issues with transfer system efficiency due to wet coal. Wet coal has forced the coal plant’s bulk handling systems to reduce, or “derate,” capacity on conveyors for more than 15 years.

Power plant operations have become accustomed to derated operation under certain conditions and have begun to accept it as normal. A redesign and retrofit of critical bulk-handling systems, taking wet coal into account by leveraging cutting-edge 3-D laser scanning and modeling technology, increased transfer system efficiency and throughput.

After the Scherer retrofit, the redesigned chute-work systems so effectively conveyed wet coal that the plant was unprepared for the first time wet material arrived at the pulverizers. The increased throughput in the redesigned transfer systems exposed other weaknesses in the handling system downstream. A thorough analysis of these bottlenecks provided the ability for the Scherer team to budget for rework where necessary. Working in close coordination with the Scherer team, Acensium was able to assess client goals based on their priorities and deliver a retrofit that fulfilled the set goal beyond stated expectations.

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Jennmar Solves the Pumpable Resin Riddle

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New automated resin injection system should improve safety for operators in weak ground conditions

The ground control specialists at Jennmar have made a major breakthrough. For the last two years, they have been working on a system that will allow an operator to pump resin into thehole from his cabin before he spins the bolt, eliminating the use of traditional resin cartridges. The benefits for the system would be twofold: the bolting machine operator remains in a safe position when the machine is likely in the riskiest location and the automation function will only further enhance productivity.

Similar to others in the mining industry, Jennmar saw activity decrease substantially in the first half of last year. They opted to use that time to advance some of the projects they had on the drawing board and to reinforce sound ground control principles to an industry fraught with turnover. “We have been working with both the mines and the regulatory agencies as far as roof control training programs,” said Dr. John Stankus, president, Keystone Mining Service, the engineering affiliate of Jennmar. “On top of that, our ground control engineering group has been incredibly busy since the election. Idled mines are reopening and that requires rehab activity with steel supports.” Jennmar makes various steel supports at its Virginia facility, and one of the more popular products is its impact-resistant steel sets for supporting roof fall cavities.

As far as new products and equipment, Jennmar has developed a self-drilling, injectable hollow-bar bolt for yielding ground. The hollow-bar system was designed to work with an automated pumpable resin system (J-Lok P). This ground control technique combines drilling and grouting as a single operation, ensuring that resin is placed over the full length of the borehole. It is ideal for ground conditions where boreholes collapse.

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Using Operational Experience to Better Engineer Projects

DRA Taggart is looking to expand globally while maintaining its leadership position in North America

 Those who witnessed that last major build- out of U.S. coal preparation plants will likely remember that Taggart Global was the engineering firm that led the charge with much of the engineering, design and construction work. In July 2013, Taggart Global, which was having financial difficulties, was acquired by Forge Group, an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firm based in Perth, Australia, for $43 million plus an additional $25 million of potential earn-out payments. Forge’s parent company went into administration. One year later, DRA Group Holdings Pty Ltd., a global multidisciplinary engineering group that originated in South Africa and specializes in mining, minerals processing and infrastructure services, stepped forward and rescued what remained of Taggart Global.

The Taggart acquisition added extensive experience in coal preparation and diverse mineral and aggregate handling systems in North America, Africa, Australia and China to DRA’s mix. At the time, DRA had offices and operations in nine African countries, Australia, Canada, China and India. The Taggart business was rebranded DRA Taggart and consolidated into DRA’s operations in the Americas.

The business climate, especially as it relates to coal mining and processing, forced a lot of companies to readjust their strategies, and DRA Taggart was no different.

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