Longwall mining is the most commonly used underground coal mining technique in Australia today, responsible for 22.5% of Australia’s lucrative coal export market. However, it is also one of the most dangerous mining methods used throughout the world. It is essential that the Australian mining industry takes measures to ensure that the process is as efficient and cost effective as possible, without compromising the safety of those involved in the process. Longwall armoured face conveyors (AFC’s) are one of the four key elements of a longwall mining operation. Currently, armoured face conveyor chain failures are responsible for approximately 1% of possible production time in longwall mines. When stoppages occur, the loss in output is costly as well as being a safety hazard. It is therefore imperative that research be conducted into the operational mechanisms of armoured face conveyors to ensure greater reliability and efficiency.
This thesis project details the construction of a working armoured face conveyor model, which is to be used to analyse the dynamic phenomena experienced in current longwall AFC’s. The primary objective for the model will be to determine the possible faults that cause AFC downtime and the methods to mitigate these effects. The report examines the equipment used to simulate the effects of the drive motors and resistances experienced in an armoured face conveyor. Furthermore, it involves detailed descriptions of the methods used to control the drive motors and resistances to the chain. Finally, the report analyses the project management issues experienced throughout the course of the model’s construction and development. The primary goal of this thesis project was to develop a dynamically valid, model armoured face conveyor that would be easy to operate and from which vital data could be obtained for the purposes of mitigating chain failure.