Mining Publication: Development and Evaluation of a Urethane Jacketed Tail Roller for Continuous Mining Machines
Occupational noise-induced hearing loss continues to be one of the most pervasive health problems in the mining industry, despite over 25 years of regulation. One of the loudest pieces of equipment used in underground mining is the continuous mining machine. Noise sample data collected by the Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate that 42% of noise overexposures between 2000 and 2005 involved continuous mining machine operators. Previously conducted field and laboratory tests have determined that the continuous mining machine conveyor system is a dominant noise source. Loud impacts occur as the conveyor chain flight bars, used to move the mined aggregate, traverse their path from the top to the underside of the conveyor deck. Various noise control treatments have been applied to abate noise caused by the conveyor system. A durable polyurethane coating has been developed for the conveyor flight bars, resulting in a time-weighted average reduction of 3 dB(A) for an eight-hour work shift. In an attempt to further reduce continuous mining machine operator overexposures, a similar urethane coating has been applied to the tail roller component of the conveyor system. Laboratory results showed a 2 dB(A) reduction in sound power levels, but the component failed during underground durability testing. An outer steel sleeve has been added to the urethane coating of the tail roller to enhance wear resistance during mining. The urethane jacketed tail roller is the latest effort, combined with previous noise treatments, to bring the continuous mining machine into compliance with federal noise regulations.