This study evaluates the roof-bolter canopy air curtain (CAC) system in an exhausting face ventilation system, demonstrating its effectiveness and illustrating the CAC protection zones. Two scenarios are considered: (1) a roof-bolting machine in the center of the entry for installation of the fifth row of bolts from the face, and (2) a roof-bolting machine positioned close to the face for the installation of the last row of bolts. In both scenarios, the bolting machine is placed in an environment that contains 6.0 mg/m3 of respirable dust and is ventilated by an exhaust curtain with 9,000 cfm (4.25 m3/s) of air to simulate the roof-bolter machine operating downstream of a continuous mining machine. Two operation positions are simulated at the same bolting location: dual drill heads in the inward position for two inside bolts and in the outward position for two outside bolts. The influence of the CAC on airflows and dust dispersion is evaluated with the CAC operating at 250 cfm (0.12 m3/s) with dust reductions ranging from 39.5 to 82.8 percent. When the roof bolter is operated close to the face, increasing CAC airflow was required for adequate protection, as the dust reductions can be as low as 39.5 percent. Increasing CAC airflows to 350 cfm (0.17 m3/s) and 450 cfm (0.21 m3/s) were evaluated, demonstrating that dust reductions increased to 59.7 percent (350 cfm) and 72.0 percent (450 cfm). These results revealed improvement in respirable dust reductions compared to the CAC airflows at 250 cfm when the bolter is operated close to the face, showing the CAC can provide protection against high respirable dust concentrations for roof-bolter operators.
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2020) 37:1865–1875, https://doi.org/10.1007/s42461-020-00294-7