Hydraulic rock-splitting cylinders have proved successful in numerous civil
and construction applications. The purpose of this study was to conduct a
preliminary qualitative evaluation of the applicability of the hydraulic
splitting cylinder in deep-level mining with the aim of recommending
equipment modifications and operational practices. The particular
instrument used in the study was the DARDA® hydraulic splitter.
Conventional drill-and-blast practice in deep-level mining often impacts
adversely on the immediate environment. Alternatives are periodically
sought for efficient, continuous, and safe rock-breaking in situations where
conventional blasting is undesirable. A considerable amount of investigation
work has been conducted by mining companies, equipment manufacturers,
and research institutions on numerous methods of non-explosive mining,
including the use of the hydraulic rock-splitter.
Several trials were conducted underground. The most challenging aspect
of in mechanical rock-splitting is to create a second free face in the stope,
and the trials evaluated four different ’cut’ layouts to achieve this objective.
The trials highlighted the limits of the equipment in its current phase of
development, as well as the importance of quality drilling in terms of
collaring the hole, hole length, and directional accuracy. In the presence of a
second free face the splitter becomes far more effective. The unit is simple in
design and is easily integrated into existing mining operations. It also does
not require a technically skilled workforce or expensive maintenance.
Rock-breaking with the use of a rock splitter could have a place in niche
applications in an underground mining operation, with some equipment
modifications and further development of the process to establish a freebreaking
face. General operational difficulties experienced underground
during the trials are summarized and possible solutions recommended.
Advances in digital technologies are improving manufacturing systems dramatically. These advances, along with increased interconnectivity of devices, have launched the Industry 4.0 initiative that is concerned with how ...