Vacuum TruckVacuum truck
service is required almost everywhere, including coal mines. Even at such a remote area, the vehicle still plays a vital role in maintaining mining operations. Despite such capability, working at such locations can post a set of challenges unique to the coal mining industry.

Function

While coal mines are usually located far from cities with sewer systems where a vacuum truck is normally found, remote mining locations are also in need of the services these vehicles provide. Due to the remote location, there are not any sewer lines and portable toilets are relied upon. Even gray water from showers cannot be simple released onto the ground due to strict environmental regulations.

Before bathing water and septage can be returned to the environment, it has to be treated. Because of the remote location, a vacuum truck is required to remove the water and septage to a treatment facility. Most mining operations contract with vacuum truck services to handle such work as it is usually less expensive. Permanent treatment facilities are expensive to build and not appropriate with an industry where there is constant movement and often temporary mining operations, making these trucks even more valuable.

Challenges

While vacuum trucks can easily operate in cities, remote mining locations pose new challenges. The terrain is a big factor, with harsh roads and steep, rocky conditions when dry and deep in mud during rainy seasons. Such extreme operating conditions are hard on vacuum trucks designed for normal road use. The steep and rugged terrain can really test the engine, transmission, steering and suspension systems and lead to a catastrophic breakdown. Air filters quickly accumulate dust and lower engine performance.

During the winter season, deep mud can penetrate the rubber seals that protect moving components on the undercarriage and reduce the service life of the components. Deep mud can also damage the tie rod which controls the steering direction of the front wheels. Because of such challenges, operating at such adverse conditions requires a specialized vacuum truck.

Achieving Vehicle Efficiency

In order to operate efficiently and effectively at coal mining locations, power and durability is required. This is why vacuum trucks are used at such locations and are equipped with higher displacement engines and large transmission for enough power to scale steep slopes with full loads. All-wheel-drive capability during winter months is also vital when the terrain is muddy to prevent the truck wheels from getting stuck in deep mud. Large wheels and high ground clearance help prevent the undercarriage from hitting rocks and boulders.

Frequent maintenance is a key to prolonging a vacuum truck‘s service life. Operating under extreme conditions wears parts such as bearings faster while others like a tie rod need frequent adjustment. Such work must be done more often than usual to keep some parts working and replace others that are worn.

The importance of vacuum trucks extends even at mines where service is highly important to the operation. The use of a vacuum truck at coal mining operations may seem a little unusual; however, it is one that is very beneficial to the overall operation and opens different usage avenues for this efficient vehicle!

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