Skip to main content

Cutting, Crushing, And Loading

Published by , Digital Administrator
Global Mining Review,

The drilling and blasting process is common practice and problem-free on many construction sites. However, there are open-cast mines with conditions that make blasting operations very difficult, if not impossible. Problems include the vibrations caused by the blasting process or the complicated storage and handling of the explosives.

Coal mining using the cutting technology of surface miners is an option that is attracting increasing interest. These miners achieve in one working pass what would otherwise require several operations; cutting, crushing and loading, all in a single working pass.

The surface miners are cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and reliable in coal mining applications. At the beginning of a mining project, all key factors are taken into consideration. The most important of these include the required mining volume, the geological characteristics of the area and the logistical conditions at the operating site, all of which determine the right choice of machine. For decades, Wirtgen has been renowned as a manufacturer of machines for cutting rock in open-cast mining. The company can look back on more than 30 years of experience in this particular field and can optimally incorporate its know-how into the production of its machines. Wirtgen experts provide advice on selecting the right machine and the appropriate cutting tools for the given conditions, ultimately resulting in optimum implementation on site. To cover the entire performance range in mining, earthworks and rock construction applications, machines are available in different weight and performance classes.

Figure 1. The Wirtgen 220 SM(i), with a 3.8 m wide cutting drum unit, mines coal efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner.

Continuous progress

Wirtgen gains a great deal of insight from discussions with customers and uses this in the further development of its machines to offer them optimal solutions. After all, surface miners are also continuously progressing. Wirtgen sold the first machine of this type in 1983, successfully entering the market with what was then the Surface Miner 1900 SM. A mere six years later, Wirtgen presented the prototype of the 2600 SM, which was used specifically for mining coal and limestone. The machines have not only changed in appearance since then, new technology has also brought with it various advantages, progressively resulting in more efficient processes and an enhanced end product. This is confirmed by a study from 2014 involving various tests conducted by Wirtgen in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University, Germany. The basis for this study was a coal mine in Queensland, Australia. The advantages of the Wirtgen surface mining technology include in particular:

  • Selective mining.
  • Avoidance of blasting.
  • Cutting, crushing, and loading in a single working pass.
  • Maximum deposit exploitation.
  • Reduced transport costs.

Figure 2. The cut material can, if preferred, be deposited behind the machine – cut-to-ground.

The study focused on the use of the 4200 SM, performing particularly well due to the selective mining, increased process efficiency, and reduced dust emissions. This miner in the 200 t class has a cutting width of 4200 mm, and a cutting depth of up to 830 mm. When mining with Wirtgen surface miners, the cutting depth can be individually adjusted to reach the desired layer and ensure the purity of the material. The continuous cutting operation increases process efficiency compared to conventional discontinuous methods that use rippers and wheel loaders. Unlike these machines, which produce considerable quantities of dust, the surface miner has very low dust emissions. The miner collects what dust is produced in its cutting drum housing, before an integrated water system sprays water into this housing, thereby reducing the quantity of dust even further.

This is a preview of an article that was originally published in Issue 1 2023 of World Coal magazine. The full version can be read here.


Read the article online at:

You might also like


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):


This article has been tagged under the following:

Coal mining news