Bucyrus has exchanged contracts with Poland’s largest coking coal mining company to supply the country’s first automated plow system.
The plow system will operate at the company’s Zofiüwka mine and will be shipped at the end of 2008.
The GH 800 automated plow system has a cutting power of 2 x 400 kW.
The plow will operate on a face length of 255 meters, with roof supports controlled by the programmable mining control family.
The face is equipped with the PF 4 plow line pan. The GH 800 has a maximum plow speed of 3 m/s and a maximum cutting depth of 180 mm.
According to the company, the plow features incremental plowing combined with high horsepower and plow speed.
The company recognised a potential market for the automated plow in Poland, which abandoned plowing due to the then non automated systems in the mid 1990s. Many high-quality reserves in medium and thin seams remained unexploited as they could not be economically mined with a shearer.
The company continued to develop plow automation technology and further developed incremental plowing, a technology that ensures that the plow cuts to an exactly defined depth, regardless of coal hardness, seam structure and faults.
The automated plow system will cut only coal in medium and thin seams.
Another feature is horizon control, which allows exact control of the plow angle, ensuring that the plow does not dig or climb unless required by the seam geology.
The plow systems also allow the mining of seams with an inclination of up to 60°.
Remote operation means that no operators are required at the face, resulting in the highest safety standards and maximum productivity in medium and low coal.
The company will not only supply the mining system, but full life-cycle service and support. Intensive training is conducted before the system is put into operation.
In a first development phase, the company is investing in its Polish subsidiary to establish a service center offering a range of maintenance and repair services, creating 40 to 50 new jobs over the next 12 to 15 months.