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Assessment of the Digging Force

and
Optimum Selection of the Mechanical and Operational Parameters
of Bucket Wheel Excavators
for Mining of Overburden, Coal and Partings

Author:
Dr.-Ing. Viktor Raaz
Senior Engineer
Research & Development
Fon: ++ 201/828-4551
Fax: ++ 201/828-4830
E-Mail: RAAZV@KF.KRUPP.COM

Krupp Frdertechnik GmbH


Altendorfer Str. 120
D-45143 Essen/Germany
Fon ++ 201/828-04
Fax ++ 201/828-4830
Internet: http://www.thyssenkrupp.com

Introduction

The mining of harder materials with Bucket Wheel Excavators (BWEs) requires an
optimum adaptation of the mechanical and operational parameters of the BWEs to
the material properties.

The variety of factors influencing the cutting forces and the wear of the cutting
elements, as well as the complex dependencies of these factors, require a systematic
procedure for the investigation of the materials to be excavated. The results of these
investigations are the basis for the optimisation of the equipment parameters. This
optimisation has to be seen as a continuous process throughout the whole
development period of a BWE, i.e. starting from the design phase through the
execution phase until start-up of the commercial operation.

This paper describes the procedure followed by Krupp Frdertechnik for the
assessment of the necessary cutting force respectively cutting energy and the
optimisation of the mechanical and operational parameters of BWEs for the specific
application.

Influencing factors and dependencies


Krupps longstanding experience with BWEs digging of hard materials clearly
demonstrate the interrelations between the specific material properties and the
mechanical and operational parameters on the one hand, and the cutting force,
energy requirement and its influence on the wear of the cutting tools, on the other
hand.

Fig. 1 shows the influence and the dependencies of the energy requirement and the
wear of the cutting tools of BWEs during operation, on the basis of the specific
material properties, the shape of the cutting tools, the BWE geometry and the
selected mining method.

Fig. 1. Factors influencing the energy requirement and wear of the cutting tools

of BWEs

BW - vertical and horizontal inclination


Shape and number of buckets
Teeth shape and wear
Teeth setting and arrangement

PLT-Index and wedge test-cutting force

Water content, stickiness, abrasiveness

Cleavage and angle of cleft

Seismic longitudinal wave velocity

New fracture surface, [m2/m3]

Energy requirement for cutting,


[kWh/bm3]

Total spezific energy requirement


ESPEZ, [kWh/bm3]

Requirement energy for lifting


and friction losses, [kWh/bm3]

Energy requirement related to


the fracture surface, [kWh/m2]

Initial fracture surface, [m2/m3]

Granulometry of excavated material

Smashing / fragmentation zones

Position of pivot point of boom

Cohesion and angle of friction

Cutting cross section

BW - diameter and boom length

Mechanical parameters

Compressive and tensile strength

Material characteristics

Spezific wear of the cutting tools,


[g/bm3]

Wear of shade surface of cutting tools

Wear of working surface of cutting tools

Wear of edges of cutting tools

Distribution and intensity of wear

Speed control (cos() ect)

Cutting and slewing speed

Cutting depth resp. height (dropping cut)

Height of slice and slope inclinations

Block width, height and depth

Excavating mode and cutting combination

Operational parameters

Influencing factors on energy requirement and wear while excavating


in-situ materials with Bucket Wheel Excavators

The following gives a detailed summary of the material characteristics, machine


characteristics and process characteristics.

Material characteristics

The material characteristics are decisive for the design, construction and the
selection of the parameters of the mining method of a BWE.

The most important material parameters for the assessment of the required cutting
force respectively required energy for the excavation of the material by BWEs are:

compressive strength

tensile strength

cleavage

fracture behaviour and

stickiness.

The abrasiveness is also of essence. It is decisive for the wear and can be
investigated by one of the numerous abrasiveness tests.

The compressive strength is determined in the laboratory [1]. The tested soil sample
must not deviate considerably from the calibrated lump size. For this purpose
undisturbed material samples of cylindrical or cubical shape are pressed between
two plane-parallel plates, applying a preset compression speed. Fig. 2.1.

Fig. 2.1 Compression test

Due to the difficulties of measuring the tensile strength of soil samples on an


undisturbed material element by means of the direct method, the so called
Brazilian Test is regularly used.

In the Brazilian Test a cylindrical soil sample is pressed, perpendicular to the cylinder
axis, between two plane-parallel plates [1]. Thus the splitting tensile strength of the
material is determined. Fig. 2.2.

Fig. 2.2 Brazilian Test

The tough-brittle fracture behaviour of a material can be characterised by the ratio


between the tensile strength and the compressive strength. While considering the
cleavage of the in-situ formation, the angles of cleft inside the material can also be
determinated.

In case of softer materials, cohesion and angle of inner friction are checked by a
shearing test. Fig. 2.3. It must be pointed out that the moisture, plasticity, and
consistency are also of high importance [1].

P
T
A

Fig. 2.3 Shearing test

The wedge test- and the Point-Load-Test are in-situ-search methods, which permit a
quick analysis of an undisturbed material element in an open-pit mine. The PointLoad-Test is a more suitable method for harder materials.

The wedge test is performed on a cylindrical or cubical soil sample with an edge
length of approx. 150mm. The wedge is loaded until the soil sample is cut. Fig. 2.4.
Thus the cutting force relative to the wedge length and the fracture surface is known.
In case of geometrical deviations of the test sample from the calibrated sample size,
a correction factor must be applied.

Fig. 2.4 Wedge test

For the Point-Load-Test samples of any shape are pressed between two cones
having rounded tips [1]. Fig. 2.5 and Fig. 3. Similar to the compressive test, tensile
test and wedge test, the strength index is the ratio between the fracture force and the
square of the equivalent fracture surface diameter.

Fig. 2.5 Point Load Test


The major advantage of the Point-Load-Test in comparison with the other strength
tests is the simple determination of the size correction factor specific of the material.
This factor is in most cases closely related to the initial fracture surface of the in-situ
formation. Fig.4.

This test method has further the advantage to give additional quantitative evidence of
the inhomogeneity of the in-situ material, by plotting the test results in a dispersion
curve.

To check the anisotropy of the in-situ material at all strength test methods, the
stratification or lamination of the tested materials must be considered as well.

A further in-situ test method is the determination of the seismic wave velocity. This
test gives information on an integrated characteristic value, which demonstrates the
interaction of all material properties in the open-pit mine.

Fig. 3. Point-Load-Testing device

100.000

Force

P ( Value Points)
P=10*CA+CB*lg(A)
Confidence limits

10.000

1.000
100

1.000

Cut surface

Fig. 4. Results of the Point-Load-Test

10.000

Traditionally, the cutting force is assessed on the basis of material characteristics via
the specific cutting-length of the cutting tools and/or cutting cross sections of all
buckets in the cut.

Empirical investigations tried to derive the dependencies of the cutting force related
to the specific cutting-length of the cutting tools or to the cutting cross sections of all
buckets in the cut from the material characteristics only [2, 3, 4, 5]. In view of the fact
that in this connection no parameters of the excavator design and no parameters of
the mining methods were considered, the findings obtained are of limited value only.

Alternatively to the above investigations, the effect of the material properties on the
assessment of the cutting force can be determined by the fracture surface-related
energy requirement, the fracturing behaviour of the material and the initial fracture
surface of the in-situ-formation. The effects of the relevant properties of the material
to be excavated, the effects of the excavator design and the effects of the selected
mining methods on the necessary energy and consequential wear are obvious.

BWE Mechanical Parameters

The required output of the BWE, the shape of the mine and the mining bench
configuration are the key parameters for the geometrical layout of the BWE.

The most important geometrical parameters are the bucket wheel diameter, the
outreach of the bucket wheel, the pivot point coordinates of the bucket wheel boom
and finally the inclined position of the bucket wheel. Fig. 5.

For better discharge conditions of the buckets and/or improved free cutting properties
in the working block, the bucket wheel has a vertically and/or horizontally inclined
position relative to the longitudinal and vertical axes of the bucket wheel boom [3, 4].

These machine characteristics determine the geometry of the mining block to be cut
and influence substantially the effective output of the BWE [6].

Side View

ia
-D

Pivot Point (PP)

PP-Distance

Boom

PP-Height

Ahead Position
of the Bucket

Slewing Axis

BW

te
me

Ground Level
Boom Outreach (Length)

View A

Top View

Vertical Inclination

Axis of the Boom

Pivot Axis

Horizontal Inclination
Slewing Point
Cutting Circle

Fig. 5. Geometrical parameters of the BWE

The cutting force is considerably influenced by the bucket design. Influencing factors
are, among others, the number and shape of the buckets, the arrangement of ripping
and cutting teeth, their shape, their arrangement on the cutting blades of the buckets
and the expected wear. Fig. 6.

Side view

Top view

Rear view

3D-view

Fig. 6. Simplified illustration of teeth shape and tooth arrangement on the cutting
blade of a bucket of a BWE

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BWE Operating Parameters

A BWE can only be operated economically if the operating parameters are in


accordance with the technical date of the BWE and the characteristics of the material
to be excavated [6].

The selection of the mining method is given by the material properties, the design of
the BWE and the characteristics of the material to be excavated.

A block is removed by terrace cut, dropping cut or a combination of both. Very often,
the mining method is also a function of the preferred lump size of the excavated
material and/or its stickiness.

The mining geometry of the block is given by the block width and height, the terrace
height and the slope angles of the front and side faces. Fig. 7 and 8.

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Rear view

Side view

Top view
3D-view

Fig. 7. The mining block geometry of a BWE in a terrace cut.

Rear view

Side view

Top view
3D-view

Fig. 8. The mining block geometry of a BWE in a combination. Dropping cut after
the first terrace cut.
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By selecting the slice depths and the basic slewing speeds for each slice respectively
cut, the whole operating process of a BWE in the block can be illustrated. Fig. 9. The
maximum slewing angles for each terrace and slice of the selected block are
accordingly preset.

Advance

Selective digging height

Slewing speed

Output
Qmax

Terrace cut

Time
Dropping cut
Block excavation time

Fig. 9. Operating method of a BWE in a combined terrace and dropping cut.

The slewing operation during excavation is decisive and preset by the slewing
angles, the basic and maximum slewing speed, the slewing acceleration and the
slewing speed control.

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In order to have a uniform output, the slewing speed of the bucket wheel boom will
be controlled according to a cosine function. Fig. 10.

Control range

Slewing speed without correction


Slewing speed with correction
Output without correction of speed
Output with correction of speed

Acceleration- and braking ranges

Slewing time

Fig.10 Slewing speed and output during a slewing motion with corrected and
uncorrected speed control.

In order to attain a constant output during a slewing cycle within a slice especially in
the dropping cut a corresponding correction factor has to be considered in the
slewing speed control. Of course, this correction factor differs for the terrace cut and
dropping cut and depends especially on the selective cutting height of the bucket
wheel.

The reduced output at the start of the speed control range, as shown in Fig. 10, is
due to the fact that the bucket wheel cuts into the slope.

Cutting force and energy requirement

The width and the depth of each cutting cross section of any bucket depends on the
selected cutting depth, on the slewing angle of the bucket wheel boom and on the

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actual cutting position of the bucket on the cutting circle. Of course, the cutting cross
section changes during slewing according to the selected slewing speed.

Fig. 11 shows the projection of a slice with the cutting circle and the possible cutting
position of a bucket at the front slope for a terrace cut.

Terrace / Slice height

Terrace / Slice width


Slice
Front position
of cutting circle

Cutting circle
at bench side

Cutting circle at
side slope

Actual cutting position


of one bucket

Fig. 11. Projection of a slice on the front slope for a terrace cut.

The deviation of the cutting circle projection from the vertical line in the front position
of the bucket wheel boom depends on the horizontal and vertical inclination of the
bucket wheel.

According to the slewing speed, the cutting circle moves in each slice from the bench
side to the side slope and vice versa. This process continues until the material in
each terrace of the block is excavated. The actual cutting position of one bucket
moves according to the cutting speed of the bucket wheel from bottom to top.

Due to the vertical and/or horizontal inclinations of the bucket wheel, there are
differing cutting cross sections for slewing to the right and left side.

For any cutting position of the bucket on the cutting circle and any slewing position of
the bucket wheel boom the cutting contour and the cross section of the cut can be
shown. Fig. 12.

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Material
Cut depth

Cut width

Cut cross section by


slewing to the right
Penetration contours of buckets

Cut cross section by


slewing to the left

Fig. 12. Cut geometry in the cutting position of the bucket for simplified bucket
profile.
The sum of the cutting contours and cross sections of all buckets, which are
simultaneously in the cut during each slewing motion, leads to the course of the

Drive power

cutting force. Fig. 13.

Slewing to the left


Slewing to the right

Slewing time

Fig. 13. The required bucket wheel drive power as a function of time for rightand left-hand slewing.
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The variations in the cutting forces during a slewing cycle influence the drive power of
the bucket wheel and that of the slewing mechanism.

In order to consider the fracture behaviour of the in-situ-formation, a digitalisation of


the bucket shape with the arrangement and geometrical line-up of the teeth
respecting their shape as well is required.

Considering the bucket shape with the arrangement and geometrical line-up of the
teeth as well as the fracturing behaviour of the material, the smashing/fragmentation
zones for each bucket and thus the size distribution of the excavated material can
also be derived. Fig. 14 and 15.

Overlapping of penetration contours of buckets when slewing to the right


Cleft edges

Cutting edges

Cut cross section

Slope edge

Free cutting contour


of bucket

Penetration contours of
successive bucket blades
with teeth

Fig. 14. The cut cross sections in the cutting position of the bucket and the
clearance of the buckets during slewing to the right

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Overlapping of penetration contours of buckets when slewing to the left

Cleft edges

Cut cross section


Cutting edges
Slope edge

Penetration contours of
successive bucket blades
with teeth

Free cutting contour of bucket

Fig. 15. The cut cross sections in the cutting position of the bucket and the
clearance of the buckets during slewing to the left

Those areas in which the material is reduced to fines out of the cutting zones of the
teeth and edges - are called smashing/fragmentation zones.

An unfavourable teeth arrangement and excessive wear of the teeth increase the
portion of the smashed material and thus increase the percentage of fines in the
excavated material.

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A high percentage of fines in the excavated material leads to a bigger new fracture
surface and thus higher energy consumption, which results in an uneconomical
excavation process. A further very important aspect for the correct assessment of the
energy consumption is the influence of the already existing cleavage in the in-situformation. For the determination of the new fracture surface this cleavage has to be
deducted from the total fracture surface of the excavated material.

For the design of new BWEs engineers frequently apply the specific energy
requirement per bank cubic meter of the excavated material. This characteristic can
be derived from the cutting force and the actual output, while considering the lifting
and friction losses. In view of the fact that the material characteristics of the
excavated material, the geometry of the new BWE and the mining method are
neglected, the derived drive power of the bucket wheel can considerably deviate from
the required drive power.

Wear of cutting tools

The wear of the cutting tools mainly depends on the material to be excavated,
however, it is also influenced by the mining method within the block and the BWE parameters.

The number of contacts of each point of the surface of the cutting tools is the result of
the excavation analysis of all cut cross sections in any position of the bucket wheel in
the block.

The fracturing behaviour of the material depends on the toughness and cleavage of
the undisturbed material and can be considered as angle of cleft of the material in the
cross section along the cutting circle.

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An analysis of the number of contacts of the tooth surfaces with the material during
excavation of a total block allows a prediction on the distribution and intensity of wear
on the tooth surfaces and the cutting edges, considering the abrasiveness of the
material. Fig. 16.

Wear
low

high

Fig. 16. Expected wear distribution on the tooth surface as a function of material
characteristics, BWE data and operational parameters.

In practical operation, the specific wear of the cutting tools is often indicated as ratio
between mass loss of the cutting tools and the excavated material volume.

Similar to the specific energy requirement, the expected specific wear of the cutting
tools can only be determined in connection with the material characteristics, BWE
data and operational parameters.

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Optimisation

Reliable material characteristics are the basis for the optimisation of the mechanical
and operational parameters of a BWE.

The optimisation of BWEs can be structured into several successive steps:

1. Detailed analysis of the in-situ-formation, selecting and execution of suitable test


methods for assess of the cutting force, estimation of the fracturing behaviour of
the material, and wear of the cutting tools.

2. During the development phase the most important geometrical BWE parameters
and operational characteristics are determined on the basis of the material
properties, the required output, and the excavation parameters. The goal is to
develop an optimised BWE for the specific application.

3. In the execution phase the shape and arrangement of the cutting tools are
optimised. The goal of the optimisation is the cost-efficient excavation of the
material, which in view of the wear of the cutting tools ensures the required output
in the excavating block.

4. During the commissioning and operating phase, the operational parameters have
to be adapted to the changing material properties to obtain an optimum output.

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Conclusion

The economical design of BWEs in hard materials depends on numerous material


characteristics, mechanical and operational parameters.

The material characteristics are decisive for the design of the BWE and the selection
of the mining method. On the basis of numerous material tests, the KRUPP improved
Point-Load-Test-method furnishes extensive characterisation of the in-situ-formation,
statistically proven by KRUPP databases.

A cutting force relative to the length of the cutting contours or cut cross section in
relation to the bucket blades or the bucket itself is not sufficient for an optimum
design of a BWE, especially for hard materials. This design does not consider the
BWE geometry and the required mining method.

The method which should be given preference for the design of a BWE is the method
using a fracture surface-related energy requirement, which considers the BWE
geometry and mining method as well as the fracturing behaviour and the natural
cleavage of the in-situ formation.

The wear of the cutting tools can be predicted by the wear intensity and wear
dispersion on the surfaces of these bodies as a function of the material
characteristics, mechanical and operational parameters.

A cost effective design of a BWE for a specific application is only possible on the
basis of material characteristics determined by means of professional test methods
and statistically proven databases of experienced manufacturers. A maximum
efficiency of the BWE in operation is only guaranteed, if the selected BWE geometry
and the mining method are in agreement with the material characteristics.

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Literature

1. Prinz H.: Abri der Ingenieurgeologie mit Grundlagen der Boden- und
Felsmechanik, des Erd-, Grund- und Tunnelbaus sowie der Abfalldeponien.
Ferdinand Enke Verlag, Stuttgart, 1997.

2. Himmel W.: Der spezifische Grabwiderstand in Abhngigkeit von der Spanflche


und der Spanform bei verschiedenen Bodenarten. Freiberger Forschungshefte
A265, S.5-37, 1963.

3. Rasper L.: The Bucket Wheel Excavator. Development-Design-Application. Trans


Tech Publications, Vol. 1, Clausthal, Germany, 1975.

4. Durst W., Vogt V.: Bucket Wheel Excavator. Trans Tech Publications, ClausthalZellerfeld, Vol. 7, FRG, 1988

5. Rodenberg J.F.:Contribution to the Assessment of the Specific Cutting Force for


Bucket Wheel Excavators. Continuous Surface Mining. Trans Tech Publications,
Vol. 1, No.1-3/87, Clausthal, Germany, 1987.

6. Lu Zhonglin: Beitrag zur Festlegung der Auslegungs- und Betriebsparameter von


Schaufelradbaggern durch Untersuchung ihrer Einflsse auf das effektive
Frdervolumen und den Energieverbrauch sowie durch Untersuchung des
Entlehrungsvorganges des Frdergutes., Dissertation, TH Aachen, 1983.

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