Mining Publication: An Overview of Standing Roof Support Practices and Developments in the United States
Many of the support concepts currently used in the United States originated in South Africa. These products include the Hercules Crib1, Propsetter, MX Prop, Rocprop, and Spider Prop. Another recent development has been the introduction of hydraulic prestressing units, such as the Jackpot system, to various U.S. standing support systems. Several other prop-type supports with similarities to systems used in South Africa are in use in U.S. coal mines. Some exciting new developments that improve the installation and yield performance of props are also underway. In addition to prop-type supports, crib-type supports and single-unit systems such as the Can support are also frequently utilized in longwall tailgates in the U.S. The goal in U.S. support development is to enhance roof support capability while alleviating material handling barriers to reduce injuries associated with support handling and installation. Support products are generally full-scale tested at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the unique Mine Roof Simulator load frame. The performance testing protocol is designed to simulate the full range of load conditions that occur in underground mining to identify the performance deficiencies and limitations of the support products. Once the products complete the performance evaluation, they are implemented into the NIOSH Support Technology Optimization Program (STOP). STOP is a Windows based software program that was developed by NIOSH for facilitating the design of standing roof support systems. STOP has become an industry standard to compare the performance capabilities and facilitate the application of these support products into various mining conditions. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the support design and application philosophy in the United States.