Safer scaling solutions

Online Editor

Kayla Yeager introduces a range of scalers that offer a proximity detection system for greater operator safety.

Scaling vehicles (scalers) are used to remove loose material from the mine roof and ribs. The removal of loose rock increases mine safety for personnel by decreasing the chance of rock and roof falls.

With a continuing vision on safety, JH Fletcher has engineered an entire fleet of scalers, available for a wide range of applications. The company’s scaling line ranges from vehicles built for limited spaces, operating in a working height of 2.1m, up to a high reach scaling vehicle, working in heights of up to 15.2m.

With a Fletcher Scaler, scaling can be performed from a stabilisJH ed carrier designed to aid in eliminating bounce and vibration of the operator’s cab or from a radio receiver outside of the vehicle.

The Fletchbus system is a recent addition to the product portfolio. This system works as a port of communication between the operator and machine, by interpreting to the operator what the machine is doing, and to the machine what the operator wants it to do.

With the system, customers will receive more interlock features, safety features, diagnostics, flexibility, and an increase in performance.

The system is equipped with a home screen display specific to the machine. Through this screen, the operator can perform machine functions and view an active dashboard for machine statistics.  The operator also has the ability to review schematics, circuits, and feedback information through the home screen display.

The Fletchbus system works to increase safety, with the ability to incorporate a variety of interlocks into the system. This feature makes the state of functions mutually dependent. Interlocks aid in preventing the machine from harming its operator or damaging itself by preventing one element from changing state due to the state of another element.

Within the system, Fletcher offers the Scalerometer feature. The Scalerometer is designed to show various sensor readings that are monitored during scaling, providing operators pressure feedback via bar graphs. Included are sensors for boom lift pressure, boom extend pressure, and pick pressure. Each sensor has a warning and trip setting that are monitored to prompt the operator with a red bar graph and warning icon when over exerted. The pressure value and time is logged into the display’s memory whenever the trip pressure level is exceeded. These sensors are passive and are not required for the machine to continue function.

Proximity detection system

Through the FletchBus system, Fletcher scalers can switch from in-cab operating to the radio receiver method.  The receiver has an infrared system that allows the machine’s control system to activate interlocks if the remote is detected in a particular location relative to the machine.

These zones are determined by infrared (IR) emitters that radiate a “line of sight” beam at a pre- determined angle. Each beam has a unique address that is detected by the transmitter when its IR sensors intercept the IR beams from a particular zone. The transmitter sends the zone to the control system which will determine what functions can be controlled from the transmitter.

The zones have an indicator lights on each side of the machine to guarantee that the remote and zone are linked and communicating. The operator can observe the colour and flashing intensity of this light to determine communication issues or active interlocks depending on the location of the remote.

The control system will enable and disable particular functions depending on the remote’s current location. If the remote is located to either the left or right of the machine, the boom will be restricted from swinging off centre in the direction towards the remote. The boom can swing to the centre or opposite direction, and scaling will still be active. If the transmitter is detected behind the machine’s area of, the operator will have complete control of the machine and no boom interlock will be activated.

The area outside of the predetermined areas are referred to as the “no zone.” In these areas, the boom interlock will disable the boom lift feature and only allow boom to swing left or right if the boom is centred.

Fletcher continues to promote safer and more productive roof support practices for underground mines with its machines and innovative safety features.

Kayla Yeager is with JH Fletcher.

Recent Issues