The Union Carbide Mining Machine

 

Carbide invented a remote control coal mining machine in South Charleston WV at the Tech Center that changed mining forever.  The machines were tested and improved at Sanderson WV. in the 1950s.  By 1958, the Patents were sold to Joy Manufacturing.

Carbide Tech



AND IT BEGINS....


Carbide mines



Carbide Machine





There were two systems used in the Sanderson/Bluecreek area:  The Highwall Auger miner, and the "Mole Miner".  You can easily tell the difference between the two when you vist the area:  The Auger mine has perfectly round holes, while the "Mole Miner" holes are are more oblong.

A  mole  miner  is  a  machine  that  can  cut  a  “blind”  narrow  face  entry  while  being  remotely-operated. This  technology  is  composed  of  several  sub-systems:  haulage  for  coal  removal,  ventilation,  monitoring,  and  a  control  and  pushing  system  which  advances  the  miner  into  the  face.   .  This method has become more feasible for thin-seam mining with the development of autonomous mining machines and has the advantage that personnel do not enter the extraction zone.  The  first  such  miner  developed  in  America  was  by  the  Union  Carbide  Company  to  mine  coal  outcrops  exposed  in  the  highwalls  of  strip  operations,  once  stripping  was  no  longer  economical.    This  miner  was self-propelled, moving its haulage system behind it.  The cutting height was kept to no more than 5 ft.  The miner maintained its position in the seam utilizing pick force sensing to detect differences in rock hardness.








THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES CARBIDES NEW "MOLE MINER", NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH AUGER MINING


Carbide Machines







Carbide Machines






JOY MANUFACTURING BUYS THE CARBIDE PATENTS


Carbide coal




Carbide Blue Creek


Carbide Machines


Carbide Machines

Carbide Machines

Carbide Machines

Carbide Machines




HIGHWALL AUGER MINING


Carbide Machines

 You can still see these holes for miles up on the hill in the Quick area.


Highwall auger systems are composed of three main components: the cutting head or
heads, flights for moving the coal and the motorized drive.



Carbide Machines

One of the early Highwall machines.



Carbide auger







BACKGROUND




Carbide Machines



Carbide Hole

This is the type of hole left behind from Carbide's new "Mole Miner". 
As you can see, it's more oblong than round.
There are many hundreds of them in the hills around Sanderson WV.


Carbide mines

This shows the distance between each hole, leaving a thin pillar between holes for support.

There is shoring in many of these holes where I believe the natural pillars weren't enough to hole up the roof.




POST SCRIPT:  I have been searching for actual photographs of the Carbide "Mole Miner" Machines and the men that operated them for years to no avail.  My guess is that while the machines were being tested, it was a secret operation to protect Patents.  If you have or know of anyone who has photos of the Sanderson WV area mining operations, please contact me.    jerry@mywvhome.com 


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