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Every day you use products that come from mines and quarries. You walk on cement sidewalks, write with a graphite pencil, dust yourself with talcum powder, season your food with salt, and brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

Extracting rocks and minerals from the ground is a complex task. It involves powerful forces, including explosives. It requires movement of large quantities of heavy materials. Often water must be pumped out, sometimes pumped in to making the slurry. The economics are complicated, because often a great amount of ore is mined to obtain a tiny amount of a valuable mineral. Add to this the expenses of a number of chemical and physical processes. And market prices for minerals can fluctuate rapidly. The safety of workers raises technical, medical, and legal issues.

ServoCon ALPHA is building a strong reputation for fluid power products used in equipment that delivers effective solutions to everyday mineral processing problems. The primary focus of our engineering team is to develop equipment to reduce downtime. This equipment is found in the world's major mining markets, including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Ghana, Canada, USA, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Botswana and Tanzania.

ServoCon ALPHA fluid power products are used on drum and long wall miners, man carriers and roof bolters.

Other applications are tunnel boring machines, and hydraulic power supplies for: Cutting heads, Rock crushers, Screw conveyors and Erectors.

Roof Support
Mining companies periodically test the integrity of hydraulically powered roof supports. There is a software package used in conjunction with a portable ultrasonic monitoring device specifically to test hydraulic roof supports. The monitor has found application in other hydraulic systems, as well.

Operators position the system's handheld ultrasonic monitor near relief valves, valve block modules, and internal seals on the cylinders and legs of the roof supports. The monitor measures the ultrasonic noise generated when hydraulic fluid flows through an orifice, as slowly as 50 milliliters per minute, in decibels. The factors that affect this noise include operational pressure and temperature, and orifice shape and size. The noise data are fed to the monitor's microprocessor equipped with the software, which will advise whether remedial action is needed and, if so, what action to take.

Mine roof hydraulic supports are kept under observation by ultrasonic monitoring hardware and software.

A benefit of the monitoring system is that it is noninvasive, preventing hydraulic fluid from being contaminated in gritty mines.

In addition to aiding preventive maintenance, the system also can be used to check a hydraulic system being transferred to a new environment. This enables users to assess their spare part needs and reduce future overhaul costs.

RJB Mining of Doncaster, England, uses the monitoring system to test its hydraulic roof supports. Beyond the mining industry, British manufacturers, including Toyota Motor, Rolls-Royce, EMI Compac Disc, and Langrish Tooling Products, use the ultrasonic monitors and software to test their hydraulic equipment.

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