Page 19 - Gordon Nash: DOSCO Miner Introduction
ISSUE : Issue 42
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1
up and down, and the coal slides downhill. It shakes it. The longwalls were always driven up and down the pitch, so the coal would run down the shaker conveyor. First of all, they would deliver it to mine cars at the bottom, and that proved to be a bot? tleneck. Then belt conveyors were in use-- and that in turn delivered it into the mine car. (And at that time, they'd shoot it down. And then would the men shovel it onto the shaker?) Yes, exactly. They'd shovel it onto the shaker conveyor. (That was the mechanization so far....) The sha? ker conveyor and the belt conveyor. And there were the longwall coal cutters. (What was your role?) I was just another engineering salesman. It just happened that I was successful in having equipment which fitted what the coal company needed. What you do is, if the equipment you have looks suitable, they put it in. If it works, they standardize on it. If it doesn't work, they don't look at it again. You have to supply equipment which suits those particular conditions. Sometimes you haven't got it. We didn't supply the first shaker conveyors. The engines were sup? plied by a German company. The company I represented supplied the undercut, made by Samson Undercutters. And we also supplied the belt conveyor at the bottom of the longwall. The next step was the starting of electri? fication. Operations in coal mines used compressed air. The reason being that you may get an explosive mixture in a coal mine. So if you use compressed air, there's no danger of igniting the gas. (No spark.) That's right. (It's compressed air to operate the machinery?) Yeso A jackham- mer on the street is a compressed air oper? ation. You have a machine on wheels along? side which compressed the air, and that causes the jackhammer to work. In a mine it's called a rock drill. And also, they did their boring in the holes with a rota? ry- -compressed air. The shaker was run by compressed air. Everything was run by com? pressed air. And nobody, in the beginnings, dared to put electrical equipment in coal mines because of the danger of a spark. The next stage was No. 5 and 10 collieries, where they put in a longwall run by elec? tricity. And they were able to do this be? cause the manufacturers--it was British e- quipment, actually--had everything elec? trical totally enclosed in boxes. These boxes were tested, so that if by any chance any spark would occur, it couldn't possibly .get out. In other words, all open wires were completely covered. You see, you've got to have switches to start and stop motors. Those have to be completely covered in, because with a switch there's usually a slight spark. That's all it would take. These enclosures were approved by the British Department of Mines in Bux? ton, England. And the incentive was: with this compressed air, particularly with the mechanization and the fact that these long- walls were advancing--you're going 6 feet every shift--the air hoses and air lines had to be continuously extended. And the joints were always leaking. Very difficult to keep them" tight. In fact, the mines were full of leaky pipes and hoses. So much so that one time I remember at No. 12 colliery, there were complaints about this. And they shut everything down in the mine. And they (still) had to run the big com? pressor full tilt--I think it was a 250- horsepower compressor--run it full tilt in order to keep up the pressure. In other words, you were using 250 horsepower just to blow air out of the joints, for no pur? pose at all. And all that money was going down the drain. That compressor would be going, and nothing was operating. (But the air was finding a way out.) Because of the bad joints. This wasn't exactly the miners' fault. Very difficult. The couplings they had then were not like the couplings they HOURS: 7 A.M. - 11 P.M. * OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Bonnie Jean Restaurant Home-Cooked Meals and a Friendly Atmosphere Full Family Meals Snacks Lunches or Teas On Highway 105 near the Seal Island Bridge [eux Canada Games'87''"'' CAPE BRETON BEVERAGES b p'oud to be an OFFICIAL SPONSOR (' the JEUX CANADA GAMES '87 NOV[ SCOTIA PEPSI ??'T-'T''yj?*'-- The Official Soft Drink Supplier to the Jeux Canada Games '87
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