Mechanical Hard Rock Mining
Mechanisation of mining operations has been of interest for decades to improve productivity and reduce cost. However, in hard rock mining applications, this has been impeded by the limitations of the existing mechanical rock fragmentation capabilities, being constrained power, limited strength of mechanical components and short cutter life. Combining the efficiency of drag cutters with the robustness of roller disc cutters, undercutting disc technology have the potential to revolutionise the hard rock mining operations. Failing the rock under tensile stress, these cutters are considered more effective and efficient than the conventional equivalents.
Our rock cutting research focuses on the mechanics of the hard rock failure under the action of an undercutting disc, with and without dynamic activation. We take into account the kinematics of the undercutting tools, the tool/rock interaction and the rock properties, when studying the cutting process. Our aim is to develop a scientific and reliable tool to assist the machine manufacturing industry in design of effective and efficient hard rock excavation technologies for mining applications. In addition, we would like to build operation and control guidelines for the end-users, allowing them to regulate operating parameters for maintaining optimum performance.