The Coal Mining Industry Relies on Steel Fabricators

Posted by Steve Clymer

Mining Industry Relies on Steel Fabricators

Mining uses many different devices, from conveyors to elevator lifts. These mechanisms require strength and flexibility, which steel can provide. Here are some things steel fabrication can provide for mining companies.

Stairs and Handrails

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, standards require certain areas to have protective equipment like stairs and handrails. These are often necessary in coal mining for both safety and compliance.

A mining company will have fabricated stairs at entry points for workers and others to get into and out of underground areas. Some projects require stairs to be a permanent fixture while others can invest in temporary stairs. Either way, where you have stairs, you also need handrails to maintain safety.

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Conveyor Belts

Companies must move coal in and out of the mine seamlessly. Conveyor belts and pulley systems make the mining processes much easier and streamline workflows, even in the smallest spaces. Quality fabrication of conveyor belts ensures durability and performance for the whole system.

Metal conveyors can be designed for use in every phase of the mining process.  From the pit or mine face to transportation and processing. Conveyor belts are made with high resistance to the heavy impact of ripping and tearing caused during the primary stages of mining production.

Elevator’s, Mine Cages, and Drifts

The lift or mine cage lower workers and equipment in and out of the mine face area for inspection, maintenance and emergency escape. The vertical shaft walls may be shored up by wood or bricks at the beginning, but usually mining companies will use steel or concrete for a stronger hold in deeper mines where the lateral pressure is greater. A mine cage is designed to industry standards using well treated aluminum and steel.

Ore Pass

Based on gravity, the ore passes are used to drop mined ore into an underground bin or loading point.  From there, the bin is hosted to the surface. These chutes are primarily made of steel or wood based on how temporary or  permanent the placement of the ore pass. Additionally, the chute would be lined, depending on quality of rock, with concrete, shotcrete or steel.

Skips

Once through the ore pass, it is dumped into skips for easy transportation out of the mine. Skips are generally manufactured using stainless steel or aluminum.  There are ground level rail car style skips, as well as skips that use a vertical shaft and pulley system to hoist the ore from the bottom of the mine to the surface. The most common type of skip would be a bottom dump style, a lightweight but durable solution that can transport medium to large loads.

Other items that can be fabricated in the mining industry include chutes, bins, dump beds, trusses, gore sections, coal breaker hoods, and fan blade liners. While not an all inclusive list, constructing these items from steel gives them the same extended life span, strength, and durability necessary for the industry.

Advance With Safety

Coal remains the world’s primary source of energy. Increased demand means more production requirements. That kind of production needs equipment that is durable and efficient but also reduces safety risks. Fully automated systems including armored face conveyors, shearers, and road headers now do most of the dangerous work. All this machinery depends on steel to function.

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Swanton Welding provides a full-service fabrication system that can provide your project with all its steel needs. Our experts will work directly with you and our shop to make sure we meet your project needs. The mining industry runs on steel, and we offer custom steel fabrication that encourage safety and efficiency for mining companies. Contact us today to get a free quote.