Underground » Maintenance
The condition of roadways in underground mines is of great importance, and currently also a research priority for ACARP. Maintaining good roads is particularly difficult at intersections where machines perform tight turns. Shuttle cars operate frequently at these locations where they are required to make tight turns, and hence the cornering behaviour of the cars has a significant impact on the road condition.
Shuttle car traction systems have evolved from very simple systems through to the modern sophisticated electronic controlled systems. The steering performance has also improved considerably, however, the roadways (and tyres) will still be unnecessarily damaged or worn if the inner and outer wheels do not steer in perfect cooperation.
The inner wheels must form a tighter turn so require a greater steering angle compared to the outer wheels. Manufacturers of cars generally fix the general arrangement of the steering systems so they are uniform over a range of car widths (48", 56" and 64" conveyor width cars). Hence a compromise is made on the optimal steering geometry. Since Australian operations tend to use the narrower width cars only, there is an opportunity to optimise the steering system performance specifically for these cars.
This project aims to minimise the damage to roadways at intersections caused by shuttle cars as they turn tightly by determining the ideal steering component geometry that minimises lateral tyre sliding, or "scrub".
Depending on the findings, a project extension may be sought to manufacture a set of 'optimised' linkages and verify the design through testing.
This project was proposed by BMT WBM in response to one of ACARP's 2015 research priorities; for "improved roadway conditions".