Evaluation of Water-Jet-Assisted Cutting Capability on Longwall Shearers
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines evaluated water-jet-assisted longwall shearers in full-scale laboratory tests and underground. Both test programs showed that use of high-pressure water did little to reduce the shearer motor energy required to maintain a given cutting rate. However, three other major benefits were achieved with the use of water-jet-assisted cutting. At a pressure of 1,800 psi, respirable dust levels were reduced about 80 pct compared with the dust levels of the conventional water spray system operating at 340 psi. Operating at higher pressures required for water-jet assist also resulted in an increase in the average size of coal cut, which translates into a decrease in product fines. Finally, although no controlled measurements of bit wear as a function of water pressure were made, mine personnel reported that the shearer bits lasted longer when water-jet-assisted cutting was used.
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