Longwall build optimises production, reliability and safety

13 November 2018

Underground Longwall Compatibility Testing

With over 100 longwall modifications and upgrades having been executed, running over 1200 individual tests in a safe environment would significantly improve production ramp up outcomes and better ongoing reliability.

Hastings Deering has again provided the proving ground to assemble a longwall build in their Mackay workshop that ensures major equipment modifications and upgrades are fully integrated and operational before the equipment returns to site. To achieve this, a simulated longwall, incorporating an operating Caterpillar EL3000 Evo Shearer, Armoured Face Conveyor, front and rear maingates and tailgates and four roof support shields were configured to enable testing of the integrated system under operation. 

Steering the project, Hastings Deering Underground Coal, Mining Large and Expanded Products Manager Jason Clery said the mini-build allowed for proof testing to be conducted in a safe environment enabling a more efficient and quicker re-commissioning of the equipment once underground working the next coal panel.

“Once installed underground, a longwall is 350m long,” Mr Clery said. “Our workshops are 100m long and 32m wide, so we were able to build a 75m longwall build to conduct the commissioning in the workshop.

“The logistics were incredible, with  a steady stream of trucks being required to transport the equipment components to our facility and back to site. 

“Supporting the mini-build configuration, were front and rear maingates and tailgates and four roof support shields to would enable testing of an integrated system.  
“Over the course of the overhaul various components made their way through our, our Gearbox Overhaul Centre, Electrical and Electronics Workshops, Electro-Hydraulic Valve-shop, Shearer Overhaul Centre, Fabrication Workshop and finally to the general fitting and assembly bay.

“As well as the equipment overhaul, there were over 100 modifications. There were approximately 1200 tests conducted; everything from initial function testing of major components and post repair testing of individual components to major component and full system commissioning. 

“At the end of the day it is all about reducing and mitigating risk. If we can do all this testing above ground in a workshop before the unit goes back to work, we can more closely monitor and evaluate the modifications with our longwall technical resources and fine tune adjustments as necessary.  

“The benefit to our customer is confidence that their equipment upgrades and modifications are fully integrated  into the system ahead of its return to work to ramp up for production in its next underground panel.” 


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