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Why the direct-drive drum on a Vermeer Surface Miner matters

Published by , Digital Administrator
Global Mining Review,

Today, we are going to get technical. You may be aware of a chain-drive drum, but a unique feature of the Vermeer Terrain Leveler® surface excavation machine (SEM) is its direct-drive drum. What does that mean, and how exactly is it different? That is a good question that will be answered below, along with the specific benefits that come from using a direct-drive drum.

Before we dive into the world of direct-drive drums, it is helpful to know what exactly a chain-drive drum is, so you can understand the main differences between the two. Both direct-drive and chain-drive drums are used for surface mining extraction, removing ground surface or creating a smooth, level area for site preparation, road construction, or soil remediation. The chain-drive drum has chains that are driven by low-speed, high-torque hydrostatic motors on both sides of the attachment.

“Some people use chain-drive Terrain Leveler SEMs so they can go back and forth between them and a standard trenching boom,” said Barry Scieszinski, a Vermeer mining specialist. This is a good way to keep working efficiently, depending on the jobsite needs.

Now let us talk about the direct-drive drum. It is a single motor on one side of the attachment that provides direct-drive power and more horsepower to the cutting drum to enhance efficiency when working in soft, medium, or hard rock conditions. More specifically, it is a fully hydrostatic motor that is mounted to the side of the cutting head, that delivers the power to the cutting drum.

There are quite a few benefits to the direct-drive drum. Since it is a single-sided attachment (the motor is only on one side), it allows the operator to cut an 80-degree high wall and minimises noise, dust, and vibration. This helps mines maximise their production by excavating reserves they might not otherwise get to, due to drill and blast restrictions, air quality regulations, or urban encroachment.

“To put it into perspective, using a drum with dual motors, one on each side of the attachment, is able to cut a 45° high wall, compared to an 80° high wall with the single-drive motor,” said Scieszinski.

This increase in slope stability is highly desired in high-wall mining applications, allowing quarry operators to get closer to the wall instead of having to cut a major stairstep. The direct-drive drum also brings the attachment closer to the tractor, which puts more weight on the attachment to help penetrate the rock.

Another benefit with a direct-drive drum is that there are fewer moving parts on the attachment and less high-wear items that operators have to be concerned about.

“Operators don’t have to worry about chains and sprockets on two motors, which can save them time in the long run,” said Scieszinski.

One last benefit is improved efficiency with the motor on the Vermeer Terrain Leveler SEM. Having the motor coupled to the direct-drive drum is more efficient than a chain-drive due to chain drag.

“The more friction, the less efficiency in that system,” explained Scieszinski. “By putting that motor directly on the drum, it transports that power to the ground.”

Additionally, running hydraulic oil through one motor instead of two provides more efficiency to the motor and overall machine production.

The direct-drive drum is a powerful way for operators to increase the efficiency in their mine sites and quarries by using a Vermeer Terrain Leveler SEM. This in-depth look shows just how impactful it can be. For more information, contact your local Vermeer dealer.

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