At Bit Service, we have been manufacturing and distributing carbide bits for the underground and surface mining industry for decades. In that time, we have learned a great deal, including everything ranging from what factors affect cutting efficiency to bit longevity and maintaining good cost per ton for end users. And that’s just a drop in the bucket.
Because they know of the depth of our expertise and experience in this field, our clients and future clients often ask what our favourite bit is for a general application. Due to the complexities and variables involved, this is never an easy question to answer. There are, however, many individual design features in modern carbide bit design that have contributed greatly to moving the industry forward in terms of increasing the service life and cutting performance of the products.
For instance, our friends at Kennametal, who we proudly distribute carbide mining products for, are shining examples of providing innovation and technology to mechanical cutting in underground mining. For application with continuous miners, where we have clients looking for high rates of penetration and long bit life, there are usually obvious compromises that inevitably occur that would prevent them from achieving both.
For instance, with a conical carbide tool, having the slim tapered body that will facilitate the higher rate of cutting penetration would typically come at the sacrifice of longevity. While this can be acceptable in short-term circumstances, such as responding to a fluctuation in ore conditions for sustained cutting, it’s important to maximize the service life; otherwise, the overall cost per ton suffers. In a case like this, we have products like the ProPoint tools from Kennametal, which employ specially profiled narrow bottom carbide inserts that increase penetration rate and maintain their profile during rotational wear. These are particularly perfect for use in salt, and many industrial minerals (up to medium strength UCS) and our clients see a great deal of success in their use.
In roadheader applications, tools are typically employed due to their mobility and versatility instead of the sheer productivity of a continuous miner. For this reason, we usually look to maximize control and usability for the operators, as the machines are lighter and have lower torque available. Once again, we opt for Kennametal’s U47 series carbide tools. By using the same cutting head on the machine, we can tailor the assembly with tools to suit various conditions while still utilizing the same blocks on the head. This way, we can switch from a heavy-bodied tool to maximize longevity in high UCS rock and switch them out to a slim tool when the operator is using the same machine for some clean-up work in older workings. This versatility is a massive benefit to the end user.
Another area we work with clients to improve is the performance and reliability in their primary crushing stations underground, typically the feeder breakers that populate the Canadian underground mining scene. Time and time again, the tried and true U200 crusher bit from Kennametal proves to be the best for the job. In a case like this, the end user wants to install the carbide tools in the breaker shaft and just let them work to the point of forgetting about them. With the sturdy bit bodies and hard-faced exteriors, these do just that, providing in some cases (depending on the material), millions of tons of trouble-free crushing before needing to be replaced.
These are just a few of the vast selection of tools available to help clients maximize their cost per ton for cutting and crushing. If you would like to learn more or would like to know what our go-to selection is for use in your application, please reach out to one of our expert technical personnel at Bit Service today.