Laboratories & Test Facilities

EMI possesses the ability to test the properties of rock and soil, the performance of individual cutting tools, and entire cutterhead, up to 7 feet (2 m) in diameter. This is possible due to the unique test facilities located at EMI laboratories. A brief description of the major test facilities located at EMI lab follows:

Rock Mechanics Laboratory

The EMI rock mechanics laboratory includes 5 MTS test frames, of which capacities range from 20,000 to 1,000,000 lbs. The MTS machines are used for measuring many of the physical properties of rock. They are driven by, and digitally record the data via, a computer controlled closed servo loop. Typical physical property tests include: Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS), Brazilian Tensile Strength (BTS), Triaxial Compressive Strength, and Punch Penetration Response. Much additional equipment, for determining parameters such as abrasivity, elastic constants, petrographic analysis and total hardness, exist at EMI facilities.

Linear Cutting Machine (LCM)

Linear cutting tests provide a direct measure of rock cuttability under simulated field conditions. The LCM measures the forces acting on an individual cutter while cutting actual rock. Data from this test provides input for performance prediction, machine specification, cutterhead balancing and optimization. These full-scale tests eliminate the uncertainties of the rock, which may not be identified by physical property testing.

Drill Test Fixture (DTF)

The Drill Test Fixture (DTF) is used for performance evaluation of drill bits and cutterheads up to 3-ft (0.9-m) in diameter. The DTF has the ability to bore axially with the drill string, as well as slew, or cutting perpendicular to the drill string. The DTF is instrumented to measure all operational parameters, as well as vibrations generated by the cutting action. These measurements are digitally recorded with a computer based data acquisition system. The testing of a full-scale cutterhead provides an accurate measure of qualifying the dynamic effects of cutting and an economic proving ground for new bits and cutterheads.

Laboratory Tunnel Boring Machine (LTBM)

Another unique test fixture at EMI is the Laboratory Tunnel Boring Machine (LTBM). It is used to test the performance of full-scale cutterheads up to 7 feet (2 m) in diameter. It is mounted on a swivel frame so that any orientation can be tested, from straight up to straight down, in wet or dry conditions. The LTBM data acquisition system is computer based for high resolution and accuracy. Individual cutters can be instrumented to measure actual cutter forces during boring.

Rotary Cutting Machine (RTC)

A 5-foot diameter, single-cutter rotary machine tests full-scale cutter bits (disc, pick, etc.) for performance and wear evaluations over long periods of time. Water jets may also be incorporated into the system to perform jet-assisted mechanical cutting tests.

Rotary - Percussion Rock Drilling Facility

The rotary drill facility permits laboratory testing and evaluation of various roof drills and bits. The equipment includes a commercial-scale roof drill mounted on a multi-position drill boom assembly, and a heavy structural frame for holding the rock sample. The unit can also be fitted with water jets to perform water jet drilling tests.

Water Jet Machine

Water jet equipment is available for high-speed drilling and slotting in rocks. A drill unit is mounted on a mobile self-contained chassis with a multi-position boom to enable precise positioning and angling of drill holes. A modified machining mill is used for water-jet slotting of straight and curved curfs These water-jet test stands are set up to provide a wide range of pressures and flow rates.

Cutter-Bearing Test Fixture

The Bearing test fixture is available to test full-size roller cutters for bearing life evaluations. The cutter is housed an environmental chamber to simulate field operating conditions in terms of dust, humidity, temperature, etc. Cutter loading in axial and side directions is accomplished through programming actual cutter force data into a computer-based data acquisition and control systems.

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Last Updated: 08/04/2017 08:23:15