All You Wanted to Know About Roof Bolters

Roofbolter for Underground Coal MiningIn the industrious and danger-ridden world of coal mining, it is an absolute priority to use the right equipment for the right job. One of these tools that are used by coal miners and drillers on a regular basis is the roof bolter.

Simply put, a roof bolter is bolting rig which usually uses pneumatic or hydraulic power to install rock bolts in mines, power plants, tunnels and storage facilities. Ranging from simple handheld devices to large, heavy machines that move on tracks, roof bolters are mounted by the miners to drill deeply into rock strata and firmly secure various kinds of bolts, ranging from resin roof bolts to cable bolts.

Safety is the primary utility of a roof bolter. It is used to secure the mine roof in order to enable them to become self-supportive and prevent accidents. However, despite the numerous forays into coal mining technology and the constant efforts to make it a relatively safer occupation, roof bolting is still seen as a somewhat hazardous occupation, accounting for nearly 56% of all accidents and injuries that occur during coal mining operations.

Some of the most popular roof bolters in Australia are also the most easy-to-use. A popular design is the Top Mount Roof Bolter, which sets the benchmark when it comes to handheld pneumatic drills. Constructed exclusively in Australia, this roof bolter is composed of supreme quality steel and composite materials, providing tensile strength as well as lightweight maneuverability allowing it to be operated in a small area. In coal mining operations where the area of function is large and time is of the essence, a roof bolter that can be easily removed, placed and used is essential to effectiveness.

However, let's go back a little to discuss exactly how a roof bolter works. A regular handheld roof bolter will usually have an extendable air-operated leg which is used to push the drill into the rock strata. Larger, heavier machines which are often called crawler rigs, up the game by using a two-stage frame and carriage to deal with varying roof heights and extend the drill deeper. Most roof bolters come equipped with a hydraulic timber jack to support the mine roof while the drilling process is in progress.

Nowadays, technological advances have made roof bolting a completely automated process in order to minimize risk of life. However, handheld devices still remain immensely popular and are considered by many as the safest, most cost effective to undertake secondary support work.

The larger Roof bolter machines are basically of two types:
• Single boom
• Dual boom

Single boom roof bolters use one setting to install roof bolts. After installation, the machine needs to be repositioned in order to insert the next bolt. The total area of support is commonly 5 feet by 5 feet square meters.

Dual boom roof bolters have a bar or beam type ATRS (automated temporary roof support) system which enables multiple roof bolts to be installed from the same machine. This, however, needs a much larger area of support to ensure non-collapse, with a typical load capacity usually in excess of 15,309 kilograms. The advantages of a dual boom roof bolting machine over a single boom are that firstly, it will take half the time to do the job, blessed as it is with two drill booms instead of one. There's no need for repositioning, so multiple roof bolts can be installed over a larger area in a shorter space of time. Of course, dual boom roof bolters cost far more than single boom machines, but considering the power intake and excessive machinery, it's hard not to understand why.

For more information on Rambor Equipment and Machinery for the coal mining industry, Call 02 6574 6500 during business hours. Or, fill out our enquiry form below to have one of our specialist staff contact you personally.

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