At Douglas Equipment, we have more than 60 years of experience helping our customers obtain the right material handling equipment for their unique needs. We’ve worked with a broad range of clients over the years, whose work involves the full range of application conditions – from posh hotels to gritty industrial factories. In our experience, our customers in the coal mining industry have some of the most demanding conditions for material handling equipment.
The coal mining industry has evolved over the years. Underground mining operations continue, as they have for hundreds of years. Surface mining of coal has become much more common over the past decades. In either situation, a broad range of material handling equipment is used to extract, transport and process coal, and to construct the mines themselves.
Heavy equipment, such as drag lines or transport trucks, dominate the larger end of the range; on the opposite end of the scale, items such as transport carts or even hand tools like drum wrenches find frequent use.
No matter the type of mine or scale of operations, we have found that material-handling equipment is needed for certain requirements in the coal mining industry:
- Loads that are very heavy
- Rail or track systems
- Conveyor systems that are frequently used for local transport of coal
- The transporting of explosion-proof and spark-proof materials
In the sections below, we’ll show examples of some of the products we carry that help provide solutions to the rigorous demands of the coal industry.
Wheels That Can Take the Weight
One thing is certain when it comes to coal mining operations – the rated loads that equipment may be required to bear are enormous! For mobile equipment that moves on wheels or casters, the right wheel choice is critical.
Metal wheels are often the best choice when it comes to standing up to heavy loads. For example, Albion Casters, one of our leading suppliers, manufactures wheels from materials like cast iron and drop forged steel. Some of these wheels, such as Albion’s FH Metal Wheel series, are rated for loads as high as 20,000 lbs. each.
Wheels That Ride on Rails
Many operations in the coal mining industry take place away from paved surfaces. For mobile equipment that rides on wheels, track systems are often employed.
For relatively short back-and-forth motions, V-groove rails can be used. These rails are mounted horizontally, with the ridge of the V pointing upwards. Wheels are employed that have a matching V-groove machined into their tread surface. The wheel’s V-groove keeps the wheel centered on the rail below.
V-groove wheels can bear enormous loads. Albion’s VH Metal Wheels have load ratings as high as 15,000 lbs., for example.
Railcar systems are often used in the coal mining industry. In this situation, flanged wheels are often specified to ride on the rails, which sometimes may follow curved paths. Albion’s FL Metal Wheel series are available in a variety of sizes. They are equipped with a flange which keeps the wheel centered on the rail below. This particular series of wheels is rated for loads as high as 3,000 lbs.
Casters That Stand up to Heavy Loads
For equipment that must be maneuverable, casters are used. The heavy loads found in coal mining operations require that casters are designed and built with high load ratings in mind.
Many of the manufacturers we represent design and build heavy duty casters. As an example of just how much weight these casters can support, consider Albion Caster’s Series 298 Heavy Duty Caster. Albion uses a variety of techniques to make these casters strong; they have load ratings up to 20,000 lbs.
A common task in coal mining involves moving coal from one point to another. This is often accomplished through the means of conveyors and conveyor belt lines.
Whether you need entire conveyor systems, or individual components such as rollers, we represent manufacturers who can supply the parts you need. One of our manufacturers, for example – Omni Metalcraft Corporation – can design and build conveyor systems for almost any application.
Coal itself is combustible, and the dust produced from coal processing operations can be explosive. The need to eliminate sparks and avoid explosions will often require that special components be used for material handling equipment.
Our manufacturers use techniques to build spark resistant equipment, when necessary. They can construct parts from nonferrous components, which makes them less likely to produce mechanical sparks as a possible ignition source.
Spark reducing materials can include metal such as Monel, an alloy made mostly of nickel and copper. Because it has very little iron content, it is considered nonferrous, and therefore spark resistant.
Brass, being nonferrous, is used for some spark resistant parts. Stainless steel is also used; though it is not nonferrous, its iron content is lower than ordinary steel, which makes it less prone to sparking.
For powered equipment, electrical motors are available that are specifically designed to be explosion proof.
Custom Engineered Solutions – It’s Easier Than You Think!
Given the unique requirements of the coal mining industry, the best solution for a particular task might be a custom engineered product. The top manufacturers we represent have engineering departments that specialize in making custom products for customers. The process is straightforward: once you describe your requirements to us, we’ll communicate your needs to the manufacturer, and work with their custom engineering department to design the product you need.
For Coal Mining or Any Challenging Industry – Contact Douglas Equipment!
For over 60 years, we’ve provided customers in challenging industries with the best material handling equipment for their needs. The coal mining industry is a special case – heavy loads, underground or surface mines, and dangerous conditions – that all require special equipment. Whatever your needs are, we can help you, too. Please contact our customer service department team at 800-451-0030, or use our online contact form. We look forward to working with you!