RMI Pressure Systems deliver new pump package to Russian longwall coal mine

Reliability is the key

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The Kopex group, which is renowned and respected as a supplier of leading mining equipment and technology, is delivering a turnkey solution for the Vladimirskaya longwall coal mine in Russia. Part of this project is the powered roof support system to be installed at the coalface itself. Kopex has awarded the supply of the critical pumping systems to RMI Pressure Systems Ltd., based in Manchester, UK.

The Kopex Group is, amongst other things, a manufacturer of powered roof support systems which delivers products into the most demanding markets, including China, Russia and Australia. These systems are specifically designed to provide roof support structures for longwall coal mining. A crucial part of these systems is the pumping system which must have completed rigorous testing before being deployed in the field to ensure the safety of the miners operating the equipment.

Reliability is key

The practice of longwall mining has been developed and refined with the use of hydraulic roof support systems, which provide support at the coalface to allow the shearer to cut the coal from the seam. Each support can weigh 30-40 tonnes and be rated at 1000-1750 tonnes and also have the ability to hydraulically advance itself 1 metre at a time.

As the roof supports advance, so the roof of the mine is allowed to collapse behind them and the shearer continues to pull the coal from the seam. This all makes the roof support system of critical importance to the mining operation and to the safety of the miners involved in operating the machinery. Any equipment which is selected to operate in this hazardous environment must be proven in reliability and require a minimum level of maintenance.

The efficient operation of the roof support system directly affects the productivity of the mine and any down-time on the system in such a difficult operating environment would be very counter-productive. The reliable performance of these systems is essential if the client is to maximise output from the mine and return on investment.

The power source              

The roof support systems require a power source and this takes the form of a sophisticated hydraulic pump capable of producing extremely high pressures. The reliability of these pumps must also be beyond any doubt and bench testing has to be carried out for thousands of hours to ensure their operation in the mine will be faultless. In this case, Kopex has selected RMI Pressure Systems, which has a proven track record in the mining industry and has considerable experience in supplying equipment for the longwall mining operation.

RMI has delivered three Trimax S300 pumps to power the roof support system, each capable of providing 244 litres/min at up to 353 bar, as well as two of Trimax S300 pumps for the water pumping system, which are cable of providing 319 litres/min at up to 92 bar. The entire contract also includes a service and spares package as well to ensure continued reliable service.

Mike Sherman, RMI Marketing Manager, comments “As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high pressure, high flow pumping systems, RMI has been designing solutions for the mining industry for many years. With the majority of applications in remote areas, with limited access and where unplanned downtime is very expensive, reliability is an essential quality required of our equipment.

“We have an enviable reputation for designing efficient and reliable equipment, which has been used across the world in the longwall mining industry for many years. We have developed relationships with many of the major mining companies across the world and our success in the longwall mining industry looks set to continue.”

The future

In 2012, the Russian government approved a long term investment plan for the coal industry, with $123 billion to be invested over the next 17 years. This is deemed necessary to meet the future requirements for coal which is used to generate 25% of the electricity requirement in Russia. With coal production from the underground mines expected to increase by nearly 50% over the next 20 years, the prospects for future contracts within the Russian coal industry are looking good.

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