One of India’s largest coal mines, the Bhubaneswari coal mine, is using a Wirtgen 220 SM 3.8 surface miner to mine coal effectively. Located near Talcher in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, Bhubaneswari Coal Mines Ltd. (BCML) has operated the open-cast mine since 2011.
Mining operations at Bhubaneswari run 24 hours a day to continuously feed fuel to nearby coal-fired power plants. The company mines more than 25 million metric tons (mt) of coal annually. It refrains from drilling and blasting and relies completely on soft rock cutting instead.
Bairagi Sahu, associated vice president of BCML, is highly satisfied with the seven Wirtgen machines they employ. “When it comes to performance, the Wirtgen surface miners are simply the best on the market,” Sahu said. “At our mine, we sometimes cut up to 1,800 mtph of coal with one surface miner.”
Eliminating the need for drilling and blasting results in a number of other benefits. First, it removes the need to store and handle explosives. It improves slope stability. The mine does not need to idle activities during blasting and it doesn’t need the required permits, certified blasters and the associated paperwork.
The flat surfaces created during the mining process serve as stable roadways that facilitate efficient truck haulage. This increases the transport capacity of the entire truck fleet, and the quality of the road surface even reduces wear and tear to each truck’s tires, frame, and suspension, allowing the operators to use standard trucks.
The 220 SM 3.8 has an operating weight of 58 mt and is propelled by a fuel-efficient, 708-kW diesel engine. The 2,300-l fuel tank allows the machine to operate around the clock with only one stop to refuel per day.
The 220 SM 3.8 is designed for mining all types of soft rock. Narrow holder bases on the 3.8-m drum ensure that the material flows smoothly while requiring minimal energy. In addition, the shape of the holders in combination with the arrangement of the cutting tools minimizes the amount of fines in the material, which is continuously deposited in a windrow directly behind the machine. “With this mining method, we can clearly see the quality of the coal due to the difference in color between the coal and the light-colored overburden, allowing us to mine the material cost-effectively,” BCML COO Om Prakash said, describing one of the key advantages of the method.
All of the 220 SM 3.8’s components are designed for extremely demanding open-cast mining applications. For example, additional filters in all of the machine’s circuits and a pressurized hydraulic reservoir ensure maximum purity in the hydraulic system for smooth operations. The clean oil in turn extends the service life of the downstream components, which also contributes to higher machine availability. The components’ long service life and the miner’s minimal downtime ultimately result in greater productivity and cost-effectiveness.
The 220 SM 3.8 is also designed to be easy to service and maintain. All of the maintenance and service points are easily accessible from the ground or inside. The walk-in engine compartment also makes it possible to quickly and easily inspect the engine. The machine’s air, fuel and hydraulic oil filters are also directly accessible. Ultimately, the intelligent maintenance concept also results in higher machine availability.
The new 220 SM 3.8 has succeeded in fully meeting the operator’s expectations in daily use at the Bhubaneswari coal mine: “The Wirtgen surface miner has proven itself across the board at our mine,” said Prakash, summing up Wirtgen’s latest innovation on an extremely positive note.