Benefits of Using Hydraulic Jacks in the Mining Industry
The importance of the mining industry need not be reiterated! Be it any minerals or other resources, the spike in demand for more reserves to be explored, has led to hydraulic jacks being used in underground mining these days. Mining rotary breaker machines are utilized for crumbling huge chunks of rock that act as obstacles in underground and on the surface.
What is a Jack?
In order to understand what a hydraulic jack is and its mechanism, we need to understand the concept of a jack first. To put it in a nutshell, a jack is a device that is used for lifting heavy loads by applying forced. The mechanism that is utilized for applying force can differ as there are various types of jacks, but a screw thread or hydraulic cylinder are the common ones. A jack can be grouped into two categories based on the type of force:
- Mechanical Jacks – Car and house jacks comprise this group, which are used for lifting bulky equipment and rated as per their capacity to light.
- Hydraulic Jacks – As opposed to their counterpart, this jack can lift heavier loads to a greater height. Bottle and floor jacks are examples of hydraulic machinery.
Working of a Hydraulic Jack
As mentioned before, hydraulic jacks work on the basis of force, which is generated by pressure. Consider a large and small cylinder being connected and a force being applied to one of them. The pressure generated in both cylinders is equal, but the force produced in the bigger cylinder is more as it has a larger area. While lifting something heavy, pump plunders are used to move the oil through the two cylinders. The plunger is drawn back, thus opening the suction valve ball inside, which ensures the oil passes into the pump chamber. When the plunger is pushed forward, the oil moves via an external discharge check valve into the cylinder chamber. The suction valve is now closed, which again builds pressure within the cylinder.
These date back to the 1900s when the automobile industry was beginning its golden run. They were also called hand jacks due to their simple operation while lifting a vehicle for inspection or services. The name “bottle jacks” was derived as the jacks looked like milk bottles. Jumping through a few decades, their lifting capacities have increased greatly going up to several tons. It comprises a vertical shaft that supports a bearing pad, which is responsible for balancing the weight of the object that is lifted.
One of the major differences between a floor and bottle jack is that the shaft in the floor jack is horizontal. The shaft basically pushes on a crank that connects it to a lifting pad. After this is over, the lifting is done horizontally. A bigger range of vertical lift is provided by floor jacks, which is why they are used extensively in mining. They were usually available in two sizes:
- The standard model can lift 4-10 tons, and is about four feet long, a foot wide, and weights around 200 pounds.
- Its more compact cousin is about three feet in length.
Why Use Hydraulic Jacks in Mining?
There are various benefits in using hydraulic jacks in mining:
- The jacks operate at a pre-decided pressure so the jacking cylinder bore is somewhat bigger to explore the full capacity. Stable jacking requires a larger bore, rod and base plate, which can be achieved using hydraulic jacks.
- Any double acting jacking cylinders ensures that the person operating it has more control especially while it is descending. If the load tries to go down faster than the pump supplies oil, counterbalance valves are provided to ensure there are no overruns. The jack automatically powers down, and there is no way the load can be lowered by accident.
- Pressure relief valves in the hydraulic circuit, an air pressure regulator set the level needed for maximum left, and an air pressure relief valve installed right after the regulator, ensures the best overload protection.
- Hydraulic components last way longer due to a better shelf life and usually don’t fail all of a sudden.
- Operation of hydraulic jacks is simple thanks to a toggle switch, which is a pneumatic valve situated away from load controls.
Now that you know about how hydraulic jacks can be useful in the mining industry, keep a few tips in mind before purchasing one. While checking out products in online stores, ensure that the company selling them is licensed and insured – too many people have been duped by fake dealers who have promised great quality at extremely low rates. Talk to a company representative and if possible check out the facility in person to reassure yourself that the operation is legit without foul play.
Mark Williamson is a guest writer for Direct Mining & Industrial – a leading supplier of premier mobile and stationary equipment products and services to the mining industry throughout the Asia Pacific region based in Perth, Western Australia.