Longwall mining is an underground coal extraction method, which removes large volumes of coal with minimum impact to the surface environment. It involves supporting by hydraulic jacks, creating a safe work area for the machinery and operators. These jacks require an operating pressure of around 4500 psi. The underground atmosphere in the mine contains a dangerously explosive mixture of methane and coal dust. Additionally, the water table is sometimes only meters from the coal seam. Therefore, oil based hydraulic fluids are not used.
A product referred to as a fire-resistant hydraulic emulsion, also known as longwall fluid, is used instead. Efficient and reliable dosing of the longwall fluid is required in order to maximize the operating life of the hydraulic components and pump systems. Vaisala K-PATENTS® Process Refractometer is used for precise dosing and mixing of the fluid.
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