Mining Publication: Application of a Microphone Phased Array to Identify Noise Sources on a Roof Bolting Machine
Exposure to excessive noise over time can cause permanent hearing loss. Workers in the mining industry are frequently exposed to A-weighted sound levels in excess of 90 dB. The A-weighted sound level at the roof bolter operator's location can exceed 100 dB while drilling. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) measured the sound pressure at the roof bolter operator's position and utilized a phased array of microphones with beamforming software to identify noise sources on a roof bolting machine while drilling. The test data indicates the sound level at the operator's position is dominated by the 2000 Hz through 5000 Hz one-third octave-band sound levels. The beamforming results indicate that the drilling noise is primarily from two areas: the portion of the drill steel just below the rock and the drill steel-chuck interface. This paper will discuss the methods used to identify the primary noise sources.