RDH develops innovative solution to protect miners

A Sudbury area mining equipment manufacturer has designed an innovative solution for dealing with hang-ups and oversize, which plagues all underground mining operations.

RDH Mining Equipment, celebrating their 25th year of operations, designs and manufactures a complete line of underground mining equipment from LHD’s to jumbos.

The equipment manufacturer had been working with an explosives engineer and various mine operators to develop its response to the industries demand for a safe and effective method of removal of hang-ups and oversize.

“We developed a practical system to provide secondary breaking of oversize rock remotely, in order to reduce the exposure of the miner to the hazards of hang-ups or blockages,” said President Rick Lemieux.

“We specialize in narrow vein underground mining equipment and decided that to offer our customers a compact low profile solution we would integrate our blockhole indexing system onto our RDH universal 150 mine carrier.”

Procedures for removing material hang-ups and oversize are extremely hazardous and usually involve the intervention of a miner to remove the blockage. Catastrophic muck flows, damage caused by air blasts as the rock is released and many other hazards can lead to accidents where miners are hit by suddenly freed material that may cause serious injuries or fatalities. With the development of the Blockhole 25D, RDH provided mining operations a solution for greatly reducing or eliminating the number of accidents that may occur during the mining process.

The Blockhole 25D comes standard with fully remote driving, drilling and loading capabilities, to protect the operator from the hazards of falls of ground or runs of muck. The unit enables miners and operators to reach blockages and hang ups in draw points up to 25 feet safely and effectively.

The parallel indexing system, designed by the RDH team, allows the operator to remotely drill a hole or multiple holes into the face or wall and withdraw the drill steel, at which point the slide assembly indexes over and the loading tube is inserted directly into the drilled hole. This feature eliminates the necessity of the operator having to search for the drilled hole, saving time and money. Once the loading process is initiated the drilling feature is locked out, eliminating any potential danger. The operator then remotely withdraws the unit from the face and the charge is set to remove the hang up or oversize. This whole process is accomplished through a remote control system, utilizing cameras and monitors, eliminating the need of having miners or operators in hazardous situations.

With a few of the units currently in operation and one recently sold to J.S. Redpath Limited, RDH has been receiving much positive feedback from its customers. The compact, rugged, highly effective unit has increased efficiency and reduced costs, allowing for greater productivity and safety for our customers.

One customer has explained what differentiates the RDH Blockhole 25D from other options available on the market. “Most of the other suppliers did not have the reach capability of the RDH machine and any machines that we did find with the length of boom that suited our application were configured differently. The RDH team was very receptive to our requests for our machine and put a lot of work into making sure it would work out for our application. This was not an “off the shelf” machine, it is a special application to suit our needs. Another important point is that all of the spare parts were available locally. For example, the slide components were manufactured in Ontario, and we have a local dealer for any required service work on the Mercedes engine.”

RDH recently exhibited their new Haulmaster 600-10, a 10-ton haul truck, at the MINExpo in Vegas, joining the Blockhole 25D in their line of narrow vein mining equipment. The RDH team has also planned for the introduction of its Scalemaster at the CIM in Toronto, May 2009. Visit www.rdhminingequipment.com for other products

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