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Quick-Change Water Spray System

Would you and your miners like to have the flexibility to quickly and easily change out clogged or damaged water sprays? Generally, water sprays on a continuous miner frequently clog as the result of contamination of the water as it travels through fittings, motor housings, control panels (subject to corrosion) and ultimately into steel manifolds into which the water sprays are mounted. This contamination usually consists of iron oxide (rust) particles, but may be composed of other materials. As the particles attempt to exit with the water through the spray nozzles' very small orifices, clogging can occur. This was dramatically demonstrated when several spray manifolds were dissected to show severe accumulations of material which inevitably cause clogging of sprays.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has learned of an innovative water spray system designed specifically to facilitate the rapid change-out of clogged or damaged sprays. The system is based on a design which utilizes a high-strength aluminum cylindrical manifold having spray nozzles placed at appropriate intervals and a quick-connect fitting on one end [see figure 1]. The manifold is inserted into a protective cylindrical-shaped steel housing welded to the continuous mining [or other] machine, and is then secured in place with staple locks [see figure 2]. The quick-connect fittings and staple locks permit manifold exchanges to be performed in seconds, even in difficult locations such as the conveyor throat, underneath the cutter head gear cases, and on the sides of the gathering pan. When the spray nozzles become clogged, the water-supply line can be detached quickly, the manifold safely and easily removed, and a replacement manifold containing "fresh" spray nozzles installed. The clogged-spray manifolds can then be purged of contaminating material, clogged/damaged sprays can be replaced, and the renovated manifold made available for future installation---all at the leisure of the operator. While the recent introduction of a stronger, more substantial aluminum manifold represented a major design change, the initial quick-change nylon manifold bodies continue to be produced. Both aluminum and nylon manifolds will accommodate any combination of jet, fan or cone patterns in size No. 2, No. 3 or No. 5 sprays, and are available in configurations containing as little as three sprays. Each manifold is also fitted with a 100 mesh internal filter to extend spray nozzle use time. A typical installation of the quick-change water spray manifolds on a continuous mining machine is shown in figure 3.

Overall, this water spray system has the capability to:
  • Provide increased respirable dust control by virtually eliminating clogged sprays during operating hours.

  • Provide the opportunity to experiment with an infinite number of spray combinations quickly and easily.

  • Reduce the exposure of miners cleaning sprays in dangerous or difficult to access locations.

  • Increase the mining system's availability by reducing maintenance down time and extending electric motor life through more efficient cooling.
In summary, these innovative sprays appear to provide a "win/win" situation by both improving respirable dust control and enhancing productivity.

Figure 1
Figure 1
Spray system components include manifolds, housings, quick connections and staple lock.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Typical spray manifold installation behind cutter head.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Spray manifolds installed on typical continuous mining machine.

MSHA Video Clip - Quick-Change Water Spray System
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