(19)
(11)EP 3 204 612 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/25

(21)Application number: 15771974.1

(22)Date of filing:  02.10.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
E21D 9/10  (2006.01)
E21C 35/20  (2006.01)
E21C 27/24  (2006.01)
E21D 9/12  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2015/072851
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/055383 (14.04.2016 Gazette  2016/15)

(54)

CUTTING APPARATUS USING A CLEARING ARRANGEMENT

SCHNEIDEVORRICHTUNG MIT REINIGUNGSANORDNUNG

UNITÉ DE COUPE UTILISANT UN SYSTÈME DE DÉBLAIEMENT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 06.10.2014 WO PCT/EP2014/071334

(43)Date of publication of application:
16.08.2017 Bulletin 2017/33

(73)Proprietor: Sandvik Intellectual Property AB
811 81 Sandviken (SE)

(72)Inventors:
  • BRANDL, Erich
    A-8734 Grosslobming (AT)
  • EBNER, Bernhard
    A-8720 Knittelfeld (AT)

(74)Representative: Sandvik 
Sandvik Mining and Construction Oy PL 100 Patent Department
33311 Tampere
33311 Tampere (FI)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2015/058465
CN-A- 104 727 817
GB-A- 1 173 243
CN-A- 104 594 910
GB-A- 1 165 270
GB-A- 2 153 876
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field of invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to a cutting unit for use with a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like.

    [0002] Furthermore, the present invention relates to rock cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and in particular, although not exclusively, to undercutting apparatus in which a plurality of rotating heads are capable of being slewed laterally outward and raised in the upward and downward direction during forward cutting.

    Background art



    [0003] A variety of different types of excavation machines have been developed for cutting drifts, tunnels, subterranean roadways and the like in which a rotatable head is mounted on an arm that is in turn movably mounted at a main frame so as to create a desired tunnel cross sectional profile. WO2012/156841, WO 2012/156842, WO 2010/050872, WO 2012/156884, WO2011/093777, DE 20 2111 050 143 U1. All described apparatus for mill cutting of rock and minerals in which a rotating cutting head forced into contact with the rock face as supported by a movable arm. In particular, WO 2012/156884 describes the cutting end of the machine in which the rotatable heads are capable of being raised and lowered vertically and deflecting in the lateral sideways direction by a small angle in an attempt to try enhance the cutting action.

    [0004] WO 2014/090589 describes a machine for digging roadways tunnels and the like in which a plurality of cutting heads are movable to dig into the rock face via a pivoting arcuate cutting path. US 2003/0230925 describes a rock excavator having a cutter head mounting a plurality of annular disc cutters suitable to operate in an undercutting mode.

    [0005] Furthermore, it has been observed that conventional cutting machines are not optimised to cut hard rock having a strength typically beyond 120 MPa whilst creating a tunnel or subterranean cavity safely and reliably of desired cross sectional configuration. Accordingly, what is required is a cutting machine that addresses these problems.

    [0006] It has been observed that clearing the floor of the tunnel from detached rock material requires a considerable amount of time and can lead to a delay in the tunnel generating process. Further, the floor clearing operation needs to be carried out carefully and thoroughly, since the floor of the tunnel is used by various other parts of the cutting apparatus for support purposes.

    [0007] Known cutting units for the use with a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadway comprise a cutting arm configured for pivotal movement around at least one pivot axis and a cutting head mounted to the cutting arm. The cutting head comprises a rotatable cutting element for detaching material from the rock face.

    [0008] The detached material accumulates on the floor of the tunnel and needs to be removed before the cutting apparatus can move forward in order to proceed with detaching material from the rock face.

    [0009] From GB 2 153 876 A a clearing arrangement is known, which is mounted to the cutting arm. The clearing arrangement comprises a clearing blade for pushing detached rock material in the direction of a transfer conveyor for transferring the detached material away from the working area.

    [0010] However, the front edge of the clearing blades of the known cutting units are spaced from the front edge of the cutting head in order to prevent that the clearing blade interferes with an obstacle in the rock face such as protruding rock material not yet being detached by means of the cutting element.

    [0011] Due to the distance that known clearing blades have with respect to the rock face and to the front edge of the cutting head, such clearing blades cannot be used for scraping loose material from the rock face after material has been detached by means of the cutting elements of the cutting head. Further, the distance between the front edge of the clearing blade and the rock face leads to the fact that only a small amount of the detached and accumulated rock material on the floor of the tunnel is pushed in direction of the transport conveyor resulting in a time consuming and effortful clearing operation. Further known cuttings units with clearing arrangements are disclosed in CN 104727817 A, GB 1173243 A, CN 104594910 A and GB 1165270 A.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0012] It is an objective of the present invention to provide a cutting apparatus and a cutting unit allowing for a quicker and more effective transport of detached rock material away from the floor of the tunnel.

    [0013] It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a cutting machine suitable to form tunnels and subterranean roadways being specifically configured to cut hard rock beyond 120 MPa in a controlled and reliable manner. It is a further specific objective to provide a cutting machine capable of creating a tunnel with a variable cross sectional area within a maximum and a minimum cutting range. It is a further specific objective to provide a cutting (excavator) machine operable in an 'undercutting' mode according to a two stage cutting action.

    [0014] The objective is achieved by providing a cutting unit for use in hard rock with a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like, wherein the cutting unit comprises a cutting arm configured for pivotal movement around at least one pivot axis and a rotatable cutting head mounted to the cutting arm. The cutting head comprises at least one rotatable roller cutting element operating in an undercutting mode for detaching material from a rock face. The cutting unit according to the invention also comprises a clearing arrangement mounted to the cutting arm, wherein the clearing arrangement comprises a clearing blade for pushing detached rock material onto a loading table of the cutting apparatus. The clearing blade is guided by a first guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade in a first direction.

    [0015] Due to the fact that the clearing blade is guided by a first guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade in a first direction, the interference of the front edge of the clearing with an obstacle, such as a protruding rock material, is prevented. In case the clearing blade gets in contact with an obstacle the first guiding mechanism allows for a movement of the clearing blade away from the obstacle and thereby prevents a mechanical damage of the clearing arrangement. Since the clearing blade is freely moveable in a first direction preventing interference with protruding rock material, the clearing blade can be arranged such that the front edge of the clearing blade is in close proximity to the rock face. This allows for scraping the rock face and for pushing the majority of accumulated detached rock material onto the loading table of the cutting apparatus with a single pushing action of the clearing blade.

    [0016] According to the invention, the first guiding mechanism comprises one or more slide shoes allowing for a free linear movement of the clearing blade in the first direction. By using slide shoes to guide the clearing blade of the clearing arrangement the front edge of the clearing blade can follow the shape of the tunnel's roof during pivotal movement of the cutting arm and the cutting head. The slide shoes prevent the clearing blade from hooking into grooves or protrusions in the rock face created during the cutting process.

    [0017] Optionally, the clearing arrangement comprises a guiding plate and the first guiding mechanism allows for a relative movement between the clearing blade and the guiding plate. It is preferred that the first direction in which the clearing blade is freely movable, is basically in radial direction with respect to the pivot axis of the cutting arm. The first direction may also deviate up to 20 degrees, preferably 10 degrees, from this radial direction.

    [0018] Preferably, the clearing blade is guided by a second guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade in a second direction. Optionally, the second guiding mechanism comprises a pivot bearing allowing for a free rotational movement of the clearing blade in the second direction. In a preferred embodiment, the cutting unit further comprises a locking mechanism for locking the clearing blade in a desired rotational orientation. Due to the possibility to lock the clearing blade of the cutting unit the orientation of the clearing blade can be adapted to the cutting head configuration or to the position and/or configuration of the loading table of the cutting apparatus, on which the detached rock material is pushed by the clearing blade.

    [0019] Preferably, the clearing arrangement of the cutting unit according to the invention comprises a blade actuator mechanism connecting the clearing blade and the cutting arm. The blade actuator mechanism is configured for moving the clearing blade between a parking position and an operating position. The parking position is to be considered as a retracted position, wherein the distance between the rock face and the front edge of the clearing blade is maximized, wherein the distance between the front edge of the clearing blade and the rock face is minimized in the operating position.

    [0020] It is preferred that the clearing blade is in the parking position and therefore retracted from the rock face during the cutting process. Generally, the cutting process and thereby the process of detaching rock material is performed while the cutting arm and the cutting head are pivotally moved in an upward direction from the bottom of the tunnel to the top of the tunnel. Since the clearing blade is in the retracted parking position during the cutting process the detached rock material can fall through to the floor of the tunnel.

    [0021] It is further preferred that the clearing blade is moved from the parking position into the operating position when the cutting arm and the cutting head are in their highest position, such that the front edge of the clearing blade follows the shape of the tunnel profile while the cutting arm and the cutting head are pivotally moved in a downward direction. By following the shape of the tunnel profile loose rock material that remained on the rock face is detached by the clearing blade. In case of obstructing protruding rock material that cannot be detached by means of the clearing blade, the first guiding mechanism allows for a free backward movement of the clearing blade preventing damage of the clearing arrangement.

    [0022] During the downward pivotal movement of the cutting arm and the cutting head, the detached rock material accumulated on the floor of the tunnel is pushed onto a loading table of the cutting apparatus by means of the clearing blade. Since the clearing blade is in the operating position during downward movement of the cutting arm and the cutting head, the majority of rock material accumulated on the floor of the tunnel has been pushed onto the loading table after the downward pivotal movement of the cutting arm and the cutting head is completed.

    [0023] Preferably, the blade actuator mechanism is configured such that a movement of the clearing blade between the parking position and the operating position comprises a linear movement and a rotational movement of the clearing blade. It is further preferred that the clearing blade is rotated by an angle in the range of 5 to 20 degrees during the movement between the parking position and the operating position. The movement on the clearing blade between the parking position and the operating position is dominated by the linear movement. Thereby, a space-saving configuration for the movement of the clearing blade between the parking position and the operating position is provided.

    [0024] In another preferred embodiment of the cutting unit according to the invention the blade actuator mechanism comprises at least one, preferably two pairs of levers. Each pair of levers comprises a first lever and a second lever, wherein first ends of the first and second levers are rotatably mounted to a mounting plate mounted to the cutting arm. Further, opposite seconds ends of the first and second levers are rotatably mounted to a supporting structure of the clearing blade. It is preferred, that the supporting structure of the clearing blade is mounted to the guiding plate, such that the guiding plate connects the supporting structure with the clearing blade.

    [0025] In another preferred embodiment of the cutting unit according to the invention the first lever has a first length and the second lever has a second length different from the first length. By using first and second levers with different lengths a movement of the clearing blade between the parking position and the operating position being partly linear and partly rotational is obtained. It is preferred that first and second levers are basically parallel to each other when the clearing blade is in the parking position. However, is shall be understood that "basically parallel" allows for deviations from the parallel arrangement up to 10 degrees. It is further preferred, that the first and second levers are not parallel (or less parallel) to each other in the operating position.

    [0026] In an advantageous embodiment of the cutting unit according to the invention, the first and second levers each comprise a stop surface. The stop surfaces of the first and second levers touch each other and limit the movement of the clearing blade, when the clearing blade is in the operating position. It is preferred that the stop surfaces are formed by notches within the surface of the first and second levers.

    [0027] Preferably, the blade actuator mechanism comprises a hydraulic cylinder configured for moving the clearing blade between the parking position and the operating position. The first end of the hydraulic cylinder is preferably rotatably mounted to the cutting arm. The second opposite end of the hydraulic cylinder is preferably rotatably mounted to an intermediate lever, wherein the intermediate lever is rotatably mounted to the supporting structure of the clearing arrangement. It is further preferred, that the intermediate lever is rotatably mounted to the supporting structure such that the mount allows for a rotational movement about an axis, about which also one of the first and second levers is rotatable.

    [0028] Optionally, the clearing blade comprises a curved front edge, wherein the front edge is directed to the rock face when in use. Since the cutting head and its rotatable cutting elements are often configured in a circular arrangement, the generated rock face resulting from the cutting process is curved due to the pivotal movement of the cutting arm and the cutting head around the pivot axis. By providing a clearing blade with a curved front edge, the front edge can follow the shape of the tunnel profile, such that loose material is detached by the clearing blade over its entire width.

    [0029] In another advantageous embodiment of the cutting unit according to the invention at least one, preferably two or three claws are mounted to the clearing blade. Optionally, the claws are flush-mounted to the front edge of the clearing blade or extent beyond the front edge of the clearing blade. The claws are used to scrape loose material from the rock face or to establish a constant distance between the front edge of the clearing blade and the rock face.

    [0030] The objective is also achieved by a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels and subterranean roadways and the like, wherein the cutting apparatus comprises a loading table for receiving detached rock material and a cutting unit. The cutting unit of the cutting apparatus is configured according to one of the above described embodiments, wherein the clearing blade of the cutting unit is configured for pushing and detached rock material onto the loading table.

    [0031] Regarding the advantages of the cutting apparatus according to the invention it is referred to the advantages of the cutting unit according to the invention.

    [0032] In a preferred embodiment of the cutting apparatus according to the invention the loading table and the cutting unit are mounted on a common frame, wherein the common frame is configured for relative movement with respect to a main frame of the apparatus, to which a drive unit for movement of the apparatus is mounted. Further, it is preferred that a transport conveyor for transporting the detached rock material is mounted on the common frame. Thereby a constant distance between the loading table, the transport conveyor and the clearing blade is obtained. Due to this constant distance, it is no longer necessary to perform any re-adjustments of the clearing blade or the loading table in order to maintain a high loading efficiency.

    [0033] The further objectives are achieved by providing a cutting apparatus having a plurality of rotatably mounted cutting heads that may be pivoted in an upward and downward direction and a lateral side-to-side direction via a plurality of independently pivoting booms mounted at a main frame. In particular, each boom comprises a support pivotally mounted to the main frame and carrying an arm via a respective additional pivot mounting such that each cutting head is capable of pivoting about two pivoting axes. The desired range of movement of each head is provided as the dual pivoting axes are aligned transverse (including perpendicular) to one another and are spaced apart in the longitudinal direction of the apparatus between a forward and rearward end.

    [0034] Advantageously, the cutting heads comprise a plurality of disc-like roller cutters distributed circumferentially around a perimeter of each head so as to create a groove or channel into the rock face as the heads are driven about their respective rotational axes. The heads may then be raised vertically so as to overcome the relatively low tensile strength of the overhanging rock to provide breakage via force and energy that is appreciably lower than a more common compressive cutting action provided by cutting picks and the like.

    [0035] Further described, but not part of the scope of the claims, is a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like comprising: a main frame having generally upward, downward and side facing regions; a first and second support pivotally mounted relative to the main frame via respective first and second support axes aligned generally upright relative to the upward and downward facing regions such that each first and second support is configured to pivot laterally in a sideways direction relative to the side facing regions; at least one first and second support actuator to respectively actuate independently movement of each of the first and second supports relative to the main frame; a first and second arm each pivotally mounted to the respective first and second support via a respective arm pivot axis aligned in a direction extending transverse including perpendicular to each support pivot axis to enable the first and second arms to pivot independently of one another and to pivot relative to each of the respective first and second supports in an upward and downward direction relative to the upward and downward facing regions; at least one first and second arm actuator to actuate independently pivoting movement of the first and second arms relatives to each of the respective first and second support; a rotatable cutting head mounted at each of the first and second arms, each head rotatable about a head axis orientated to extend substantially transverse to each respective arm pivot axis.

    [0036] Reference within this specification to each head being rotatable about a head axis orientated to extend substantially transverse to each respective arm pivot axis includes (or encompasses) a perpendicular alignment. Such a reference also encompasses the respective pivot axes intersecting or more preferably not intersecting with the rotational axes of the cutting heads. Optionally, the rotational axes of the cutting heads are positioned generally in front of and/or above the respective pivot axes of the pivot arms.

    [0037] Optionally, each cutting head comprises a generally annular cutting edge or layered cutting edges to provide an undercutting mode of operation. The configuration of each head to provide the undercutting action is advantageous to break the rock with less force and in turn provide a more efficient cutting operation that draws less power.

    [0038] Preferably, the apparatus comprises a plurality of roller cutters independently rotatably mounted at each rotatable cutting head. Preferably, the roller cutters are generally annular roller cutters each having a generally annular cutting edge or layered cutting edges to provide an undercutting mode of operation. More preferably, the roller cutters are mounted at a perimeter region of each cutting head such that the roller cutters circumferentially surround each cutting head. Such a configuration is advantageous to provide the undercutting action of the apparatus with the roller cutters first creating a channel or groove extending generally horizontally in the rock face. The roller cutters may then be moved upwardly to break the rock by overcoming the tensile forces immediately above the channel or groove. A more efficient cutting operation is provided requiring less force and drawing less power. Preferably, the roller cutters are mounted at generally cylindrical bodies and comprise generally annular cutting edges distributed around the perimeter of the cutting head. Each generally circular cutting edge is accordingly positioned side-by-side around the circumference of the cutting head with each cutting edge representing an endmost part of each pivoting arm. Preferably an alignment of the rotational axes of the roller cutters relative to the rotational axis of the respective cutting head is the same so that the respective cutting edges are all orientated in the same position around the cutting head.

    [0039] Preferably, each of the first and second arm actuator comprises a planetary gear assembly mounted at the junction at which each arm pivots relative to each support. The subject invention may comprise a conventional planetary gear arrangement such as a Wolfram type planetary gear having a high gear ratio. The planetary gear assembly is mounted internally with each arm such that the cutting apparatus is designed to be as compact as possible. Preferably, the apparatus further comprises at least one first drive motor to drive the pivoting movement of the first and/or second arm relative to the respective first and second support and the main frame. Preferably, the apparatus comprises two drive motors to drive each of the first and second arms about their pivoting axis via the respective planetary gears. Preferably, the respective drive motors are mounted in-board of each arm and are coupled to each arm via the planetary gear assembly and/or an intermediate drive transmission.

    [0040] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises at least one second drive motor to drive rotation of the cutting head at the first and/or the second arm. Preferably, each head comprises two drive motors mounted at the side of each arm. Such an arrangement is advantageous to pivot each drive motor with each cutting head and to provide a direct drive with minimal intermediate gearing.

    [0041] Optionally, the first and second support actuator comprises a hydraulic linear actuator. Preferably, each support actuator comprises a linear hydraulic cylinder positioned at the lateral sides of the sled and coupled to extend between the sled and an actuating flange extending laterally outward from each support. Such an arrangement is advantageous to minimise the overall width of the apparatus whilst providing an efficient mechanism for the sideways lateral slewing of each support and accordingly each arm.

    [0042] Optionally, the sled may be positioned to operate longitudinally between the supports and each of the respective arms. That is, each arm may be configured to slide in the axially forward direction relative to each support via one or a plurality of actuators. Optionally, each arm is connected to each support via a respective sliding actuator such that each arm is configured to slide independently relative to one another. Optionally, each arm may be configured to slide in a forward and rearward direction relative to each support via a coordinated parallel sliding mechanism.

    [0043] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises a powered sled movably mounted at the main frame to be configured to slide in a forward cutting direction of the apparatus relative to the main frame. The apparatus may further comprise a plurality of 'runners' or guide rails to minimise the frictional sliding movement of the sled over the main frame. Preferably, the apparatus comprises at least one powered linear actuator to provide the forward and rearward movement of the sled relative to the main frame. As will be appreciated, the sled may be configured to move axially/longitudinally at the machine via a plurality of different actuating mechanisms including rack and pinion arrangements, belt drive arrangements, gear arrangements and the like. Preferably the supports and the arms are mounted at the sled and are all configured to move in the forward and rearward direction collectively.

    [0044] Optionally, each of the first and second arms is configured to pivot in the upward and downward direction by up to 180°. Optionally, each arm may be configured to pivot over a range of up to 155°. Optionally, the first and second supports are configured to pivot in the lateral sideways direction by up to 90°. Optionally, the supports may be configured to pivot up to 20° in the lateral sideways direction. Such a configuration provides control of the profile shape and avoids any cuts or ridge that would otherwise remain on the roof and floor of the as-formed tunnel.

    [0045] Preferably, the apparatus comprises tracks or wheels mounted at the main frame to allow the apparatus to move in a forward and rearward direction. The tracks or wheels enable the apparatus to be advanced forwardly and rearwardly within the tunnel both when manoeuvred into and from the cutting face between cutting operations and to be advanced forwardly during cutting operations as part of the cut-and-advance cutting cycle that also utilises the sliding sled.

    [0046] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises floor and roof engaging members mounted at the main frame, at least the floor engaging members being extendable and retractable to respectively raise and lower the apparatus in the upward and downward direction. The engaging members are configured to wedge the apparatus in position between the roof and floor of the tunnel to provide points of anchorage against which the machine may be braced to allow the cutters to be forced against the rock face.

    [0047] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises a first material discharge conveyor to convey cut material rearwardly from the first and second cutting head; and a gathering head to direct cut material onto the conveyor, the gathering head positioned rearwardly behind at least one of the first and second cutting heads. The apparatus is accordingly configured to transport rearwardly material from the cut face to provide unhindered forward cutting movement into the rock.

    [0048] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises a control unit demountably connectable to the apparatus, the control unit comprising operational components to power at least the first and second support and arm actuators, the control unit further comprising a second conveyor to receive material from the first conveyor and to discharge the material at a position rearward of the apparatus and the control unit. Preferably, the control unit is demountably coupled to the apparatus so as to be capable of being advanced and retracted in the forward and rearward directions with the cutting apparatus. Preferably, the control unit is suspended above the tunnel floor by suitable couplings to the apparatus. The control unit may comprise ground engaging support members provided at a rearward and/or forward regions. Optionally, the control unit may be attachable at its rearward end to a material collection and discharge vehicle and to be connectable at its forward end to the cutting apparatus.

    [0049] Further described, but not part of the scope of the claims, is a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like comprising: a main frame having generally upward, downward and side facing regions; a powered sled movably mounted at the main frame to be configured to slide in a forward cutting direction of the apparatus relative to the main frame; a first and second arm pivotally coupled or mounted to the sled by respective pivot arm axes aligned in a direction extending transverse including perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the main frame to allow each arm to pivot independently of one another in an upward and downward direction relative to the upward and downward facing region of the main frame; at least one first and second arm actuator to actuate independent pivoting movement of the first and second arms relative to one another and the main frame; a rotatable cutting head mounted at each of the first and second arms so as to be configured to be moved in the upward and downward direction and advanced in the forward cutting direction, each head rotatable about a head axis orientated to extend substantially transverse to respective pivot arm axes.

    [0050] Optionally, the first and second arm together with the respective pivot arm axes are respectively coupled or mounted to the sled via a first and second support, the first and second supports are slidably mounted relative to the sled via a common or respective slidable means such that each first and second support is configured to slide laterally in a sideways direction relative to the side facing regions. The first and second supports are mounted at the sled and configured to slide laterally cross the sled substantially perpendicular to the forward and backward sliding movement of the sled relative to the main frame.

    [0051] Optionally, each rotatable cutting head comprises a generally annular roller cutter each having a generally annular cutting edge or layered cutting edges to provide an undercutting mode of operation.

    [0052] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises a plurality of roller cutters independently rotatably mounted at each rotatable cutting head. Optionally, the plurality of roller cutters is generally annular roller cutters each having a generally annular cutting edge or layered cutting edges to provide an undercutting mode of operation.

    [0053] Further described, but not part of the scope of the claims, is a cutting apparatus configured to create a cutting profile via an undercutting operation to create tunnels and subterranean roadways, the apparatus comprising: a main frame; a first and second arm pivotally mounted to the main frame by respective pivot arm axes aligned in a direction extending transverse including perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the main frame to allow each arm to pivot independently of one another in an upward and downward direction relative to an upward and downward facing region of the main frame; at least one first and second arm actuator to actuate independent pivoting movement of the first and second arms relative to one another and the main frame; a rotatable cutting head mounted at each of the first and second arms, each cutting head comprising generally annular roller cutters each having a generally annular cutting edge to provide an undercutting mode of operation.

    [0054] Preferably, the apparatus comprises a first and second support pivotally mounted relative to the main frame via respective first and second support axes aligned generally upright relative to the upward and downward facing regions such that each first and second support is configured to pivot laterally in a sideways direction relative to the side facing regions.

    [0055] Preferably, the apparatus further comprises a powered sled movably mounted at the main frame, the first and second arms mounted at the sled so as to be capable of longitudinal reciprocating movement to slide in a forward cutting direction of the apparatus to engage the roller cutters into the rock face.

    Brief description of drawings



    [0056] A specific implementation of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

    Figure 1 is a front perspective view of a mobile cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways having a forward mounted cutting unit and a rearward control unit;

    Figure 2 is a rear perspective view of the cutting apparatus of figure 1;

    Figure 3 is a side elevation view of the apparatus of figure 2;

    Figure 4 is a magnified front perspective view of the cutting unit of the apparatus of figure 3;

    Figure 5 is a plan view of the cutting apparatus of figure 4;

    Figure 6 is a side elevation view of the cutting apparatus of figure 5;

    Figure 7 is a front end view of the cutting apparatus of figure 6;

    Figure 8 is a perspective view of a cutting unit for use with a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways according to a specific implementation of the present invention;

    Figure 9a is a side elevation view of the cutting unit of figure 8, wherein the clearing blade is in the operating position;

    Figure 9b is a side elevation view of the cutting unit of figure 8, wherein the clearing blade is in the parking position;

    Figure 10a is a magnified cross-sectional view of the cutting unit of figure 8, wherein the clearing blade is in the operating position;

    Figure 10b is a magnified cross-sectional view of the cutting unit of figure 8, wherein the clearing blade is in the parking position;

    Figure 11a is a side elevation view of an apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways having the cutting unit of figure 8, wherein the clearing blade is in the parking position; and

    Figure 11b is a side elevation view of the apparatus of figure 11a, wherein the clearing blade is in the operating position.


    Detailed description of preferred embodiment of the invention



    [0057] Referring to figure 1, cutting apparatus 100 comprises a main frame 102 mounting a plurality of cutting components configured to cut into a rock or mineral face to create tunnels or subterranean roadways. Apparatus 100 is configured specifically for operation in an undercutting mode in which a plurality of rotatable roller cutters 127 may be forced into the rock to create a groove or channel and then to be pivoted vertically upward so as to overcome the reduced tensile force immediately above the groove or channel and break the rock. Accordingly, the present cutting apparatus is optimised for forward advancement into the rock or mineral utilising less force and energy typically required for conventional compression type cutters that utilise cutting bits or picks mounted at rotatable heads. However, the present apparatus may be configured with different types of cutting head to those described herein including in particular pick or bit type cutting heads in which each pick is angularly orientated at the cutting head to provide a predetermined cutting attack angle.

    [0058] Referring to figures 1 to 3, main frame 102 comprises lateral sides 302 to be orientated towards the wall of the tunnel; an upward facing region 300 to be orientated towards a roof of the tunnel; a downward facing region 301 orientated to be facing the floor of the tunnel; a forward facing end 303 intended to be positioned facing the cutting face and a rearward facing end 304 intended to be positioned facing away from the cutting face.

    [0059] An undercarriage 109 is mounted generally below main frame 102 and in turn mounts a pair of crawler tracks 103 driven by a hydraulic (or electric) motor to provide forward and rearward movement of apparatus 100 over the ground when in a non-cutting mode. A pair of rear ground engaging jacking legs 106 is mounted at frame sides 302 towards rearward end 304 and are configured to extend and retract linearly relative to frame 102. Frame 102 further comprises a forward pair of jacking legs 115 also mounted at each frame side 302 and towards forward end 303 and being configured to extend and retract to engage the floor tunnel. By actuation of legs 106, 115, main frame 102 and in particular tracks 103 may be raised and lowered in the upward and downward direction so as to suspend tracks 103 off the ground to position apparatus 100 in a cutting mode. A pair of roof engaging grippers 105 project upwardly from main frame 102 at frame rearward end 304 and are extendable and retractable linearly in the upward and downward direction via control cylinders 116. Grippers 105 are therefore configured to be raised into contact with the tunnel roof and in extendable combination with jacking legs 106, 115 are configured to wedge apparatus 100 in a stationary position between the tunnel floor and roof when in the cutting mode.

    [0060] A sled 104 is slidably mounted on top of main frame 102 via a slide mechanism 203. Sled 104 is coupled to a linear hydraulic cylinder 201 such that by reciprocating extension and retraction of cylinder 201, sled 104 is configured slide linearly between frame forward and rearward ends 303, 304.

    [0061] A pair of hydraulically actuated bolting units 107 is mounted at main frame 102 between sled 104 and roof gripping unit 105, 116 relative to a lengthwise direction of the apparatus. Bolting units 107 are configured to secure a mesh structure (not shown) to the roof of the tunnel as apparatus 100 is advanced in a forward cutting direction. Apparatus 100 also comprises a mesh support structure (not shown) mounted generally above sled 104 so as to positionally support the mesh directly below the roof prior to bolting into position.

    [0062] A pair of supports 120 are pivotally mounted at and project forwardly from sled 104 immediately above frame forward end 303. Supports 120 are generally spaced apart in a lateral widthwise direction of the apparatus 100 and are configured to independently pivot laterally outward from one another relative to sled 104 and main frame 102. Each support 120 comprises a forward end 503 and a rearward end 504 referring to figure 5. A first mount flange 118 is provided at support rearward end 504 being generally rearward facing. A corresponding second mount flange 119 projects laterally outward from a side of sled 104 immediately behind the first flange 118. A pair of linear hydraulic cylinders 117 is mounted to extend between flanges 118, 119 such that by linear extension and retraction, each support 120 is configured to pivot in the generally horizontal plane and in the lateral sideways direction relative to frame sides 302. Referring to figured 4, each support 120 is mounted at sled 104 via a pivot rod 404 extending generally vertically (when apparatus 100 is positioned on horizontal ground) through sled 104 and being suspended generally above the main frame forward end 303. Each support 120 is therefore configured to pivot or slew about pivot axis 400. Referring to figure 5, each support 120 is further coupled to a respective inner hydraulic cylinder 500 mounted at an inner region of sled 104 to cooperate with side mounted cylinders 117 to laterally slew each support 120 about pivot axis 400.

    [0063] Referring to figures 4 and 5, as the respective pivot axes 400 are space apart in the widthwise direction of apparatus 100, supports 120 are capable of being slewed inwardly to a maximum inward position 501 and to be slewed laterally outward to a maximum outward position 502. According to the specific implementation, an angle between the inner and outer slewing positions 501, 502 is 20°.

    [0064] Referring to figures 1 to 3, an arm 121 is pivotally mounted generally at the forward end 503 of each support 120. Each arm 121 comprises a cutting head 128 rotatably mounted at a distal end. Each cutting head 128 comprises a disk like (generally cylindrical) configuration. The plurality of generally annular or disc shaped roller cutters 127 are mounted at the circumferential perimeter of each head 128 and comprise a sharp annular cutting edge configured specifically for undercutting the rock. Cutters 127 are rotatably mounted independently relative to one another and head 128 and are generally free to rotate about their own axis. Each roller cutter 127 projects axially beyond a forwardmost annular edge of head 128 such that when arms 121 are orientated to be extending generally downward, roller cutters 127 represent a lowermost part of the entire head 128 and arm 121 assembly. Each arm 121 may be considered to comprise a length such that arm 121 is mounted at each respective support 120 at or towards a proximal arm end and to mount each head 128 at a distal arm end. In particular, each arm 121 comprises an internally mounted planetary gear indicated generally be reference 122. Each gear 122 is preferably a Wolfrom type and is coupled to a drive motor 130 via a drive train indicated generally by reference 123. A pair of drive motors 125 are mounted at the lateral sides of each arm 121 and are orientated to be approximately parallel with the rotational axis of each respective cutting head 128 as shown in figure 7. Each arm 121 further comprise an internal drive and gear assembly 124 coupled to a gear box 126 mounted at one end of each of the drive motors 125. Each cutting head 128 is driveably coupled to the drive motors 125 via the respective gear assembly 124 to provide rotation of cutting head 128 about axis 402.

    [0065] According to the specific implementation, and as shown in figure 7, each arm 121 is coupled to a respective motor 130 mounted at a forward end of sled 104. Each planetary gear 122 is centred on a pivot rod 405 having a pivot axis 401 referring to figure 4. Each axis 401 is aligned to be generally horizontal when apparatus 100 is positioned on horizontal ground. Accordingly, each arm 121 is configured to pivot (relative to each support 120, sled 104 and main frame 102) in the upward and downward direction (vertical plane) by actuation of each motor 130. As such, each cutting head 128 and in particular the roller cutters 127 may be raised and lowered along the arcuate path 602 referring to figure 6. In particular, each arm 121, head 128 and roller cutters 127 may be pivoted between a lowermost position 601 and an uppermost raised position 600 with an angle between positions 600, 601 being approximately 150°. When in the lowermost position 601, each roller cutter 127 and in particular head 128 is suspended in a declined orientation such that a forwardmost roller cutter 127 is positioned lower than a rearwardmost roller cutter 127. According to the specific implementation, this angle of declination is 10°. This is advantageous to engage the cutters 127 into the rock face at the desired attack angle to create the initial groove or channel during a first stage of the undercutting operation. Additionally, the extensive range of movement of the cutting heads 128 over the rock face is possible due, in part, to axis 401 being separated and positioned forward relative to axis 400 by a distance corresponding to a length of each support 120.

    [0066] Referring to figure 4, each support pivot axis 400 is aligned generally perpendicular to each arm pivot axis 401. Additionally, a rotational axis 402 of each cutting head 128 is orientated generally perpendicular to each arm pivot axis 401. A corresponding rotational axis 403 of each roller cutter 127 is angularly disposed relative to cutting head axis 402 so as to taper outwardly in the downward direction. In particular, each roller cutter axis 403 is orientated to be aligned closer to the orientation of each cutting head rotational axis 402 and support pivot axis 400 relative to the generally perpendicular arm rotational axis 401.

    [0067] Accordingly, each support 120 is configured to slew laterally outward in a horizontal plane about each support axis 400 between the extreme inner and positions 501, 502. Additionally and referring to figure 6, each respective arm 121 is configured to pivot in the upward and downward direction about arm pivot axis 401 to raise and lower the roller cutters 127 between the extreme positions 600, 601.

    [0068] A gathering head 129 is mounted at main frame forward end 303 immediately rearward behind each cutting head 128. Gathering head 129 comprises a conventional shape and configuration having side loading aprons and a generally inclined upward facing material contact face to receive and guide cut material rearwardly from the cutting face (and cutting heads 128). Apparatus 100 further comprises a first conveyor 202 extending lengthwise from gathering head 129 to project rearwardly from frame rearward end 304. Accordingly, material cut from the face is gathered by head 129 and transported rearwardly along apparatus 100.

    [0069] Referring to figures 1 to 3, a detachable control unit 101 is mounted to the frame rearward end 403 via a pivot coupling 200. Control unit 111 comprises a personnel cabin 110 (to be occupied by an operator). Unit 111 further comprises an electric and hydraulic power pack 114 to control the various hydraulic and electrical components of apparatus 100 associated with the pivoting movement of supports 120 and arms 121 in addition to the sliding movement of sled 104 and the rotational drive of cutting heads 128.

    [0070] Control unit 101 further comprises a second conveyor 112 extending generally lengthwise along the unit 101 and coupled at its forwardmost end to the rearwardmost end of first conveyor 202. Unit 101 further comprises a discharge conveyor 113 projecting rearwardly from the rearward end of second conveyor 112 at an upward declined angle. Accordingly, cut material is capable of being transported rearwardly from cutting heads 128 along conveyors 202, 112 and 113 to be received by a truck or other transportation vehicle.

    [0071] In use, apparatus 100 is wedged between the tunnel floor and roof via jacking legs 106, 115 and roof grippers 105. Sled 104 may then be displaced in a forward direction relative to main frame 102 to engage roller cutters 127 onto the rock face. Cutting heads 128 are rotated via motors 125 that create the initial groove or channel in the rock face at a lowermost position. A first arm 121 is then pivoted about axis 401 via motor 130 to raise roller cutters 127 along path 602 to achieve the second stage undercutting operation. The first support 120 may then be slewed in the lateral sideways direction via pivoting about axis 400 and combined with the raising and lowering rotation of roller cutters 127 creates a depression or pocket within the rock immediately forward of the first arm 121 and support 120. The second arm 121 and associated head 128 and cutters 127 are then actuated according to the operation of the first arm 121 involving pivoting in both the vertical and horizontal planes. This sequential dual pivoting movement of the second arm 121 is independent of the initial dual pivoting movement of the first arm 121. A phasing and sequencing of the pivoting of arms 121 about axes 401 and supports 120 about axes 400 is controlled via control unit 111.

    [0072] When the maximum forward travel of sled 104 is achieved, jacking legs 106, 115 are retracted to engage tracks 103 onto the ground. Tracks 103 are orientated to be generally declined (at an angle of approximately 10° relative to the floor) such that when ground contact is made, the roller cutters 127 are raised vertically so as to clear the tunnel floor. The apparatus 100 may then be advanced forward via tracks 103. Jacking legs 106, 115 may then be actuated again to raise tracks 103 off the grounds and grippers 105 moved into contact with the tunnel roof to repeat the cutting cycle. A forwardmost roof gripper 108 is mounted above sled 104 to stabilise the apparatus 100 when sled 104 is advanced in the forward direction via linear actuating cylinder 201.

    [0073] Referring to figure 8, the cutting unit 1 for use with a cutting apparatus suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like comprises a cutting arm 121 and a cutting head 128. The cutting arm 121 is configured for pivotal movement around the pivot axis 5. The cutting head 128 is mounted to the cutting arm 121 and comprises a plurality of rotatable cutting elements 127. The rotatable cutting elements 127 are configured for detaching material from a rock face.

    [0074] The cutting unit 1 further comprises a clearing arrangement 11, wherein the clearing arrangement 11 is mounted to the cutting arm 121. The clearing arrangement 11 comprises a clearing blade 13 for pushing detached rock material onto a loading table of the cutting apparatus. The clearing blade 13 is guided by a first guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade 13 in a first direction 15.

    [0075] The first guiding mechanism comprises two slide shoes allowing for a free linear movement of the clearing blade 13. The slide shoes connect the clearing blade 13 with a guiding plate 37 and allow for relative movement between the clearing blade 13 and the guiding plate 37.

    [0076] The clearing blade 13 is further guided by a second guiding mechanism allowing for a free rotational movement of the clearing blade 13 in a second direction 17. The second guiding mechanism comprises a pivot bearing 19. The clearing blade 13 can be locked in a desired rotational orientation by means of a locking mechanism. By using the locking mechanism a free rotational movement of the clearing blade in the rotational direction 17 is prevented.

    [0077] The clearing arrangement 11 further comprises a blade actuating mechanism 21 connecting the clearing blade 13 and the cutting arm 121. The blade actuating mechanism 21 is configured for moving the clearing blade 13 between a retracted parking position and an operating position. Figure 8 shows the clearing blade 13 in the operating position.

    [0078] The blade actuating mechanism comprises a first pair of levers 23a, 23b and a second pair of levers 25a, 25b. Each pair of levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b comprises a first lever 23a, 25a and a second lever 23b, 25b. The levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b connect mounting plates 29a, 29b that are attached to the cutting arm 121 to supporting structures 31a, 31b of the clearing blade 13.

    [0079] The clearing blade 13 comprises a curved front edge 33, wherein the front edge 33 is directed to the rock face when in use.

    [0080] Referring to figure 9a, the clearing blade 13 of the clearing arrangement 11 is in the operating position. In the operating position of the clearing blade 13, the front edge 33 of the clearing blade 13 is in close proximity to the rock face and follows the profile of the tunnel while the cutting arm and the cutting head are pivotally moved around the pivot axis 5. By following the profile of the tunnel the clearing blade detaches loose material from the rock face by scraping along the rock face. In case the clearing 13 gets in contact with an obstacle, such as protruding rock material, the first guiding mechanism allows the clearing blade 13 to move in a rearward direction 15, in order to prevent damaging the clearing arrangement.

    [0081] It is preferred, that the clearing blade 13 is in the operating position when the cutting arm and the cutting head are rotatably moved around the pivot axis in downward direction. Since the front edge of the clearing blade 13 is in close proximity to the rock face, the majority of the detached rock material, which is accumulated on the floor of the tunnel, has been pushed onto the loading table of the cutting apparatus when the cutting arm and the cutting head have completed their pivotal movement around the pivot axis 5 in downward direction.

    [0082] Referring to figure 9b, the clearing blade 13 is in the retracted parking position. The cutting unit 1 comprises a blade actuator mechanism 21 that is configured such that a movement of the clearing blade 13 between the parking position and the operating position comprises a linear and a rotational movement of the clearing blade 13. However, the movement between the parking position and the operating position is dominated by the linear movement. The clearing blade is, in addition to the linear movement, rotated by an angle of approximately 5 to 20 degrees. The blade actuator mechanism 21 allows therefore for a space-saving movement between the parking position and the operating position.

    [0083] It is preferred that the clearing blade 13 is in parking position while the cutting is in progress. The cutting takes place while the cutting arm and the cutting head are pivotally moved around the pivot axis in upward direction. Since the clearing blade 13 is in the retracted parking position during the cutting process the detached rock material can fall onto the floor of the tunnel.

    [0084] Referring to figures 10a and 10b the blade actuator mechanism 21 comprises two pair of levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b. Each pair of levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b comprises a first lever 23a, 25a and a second lever 23b, 25b. The first ends of the first and second levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b are rotatably mounted to mounting plates 29a, 29b. The mounting plates 29a, 29b are mounted to the cutting arm 121. The opposite second ends of the first and second levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b are rotatably mounted to supporting structures 31a, 31b of the clearing blade 13.

    [0085] The first lever 23a, 25a of each pair of levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b as a first length and the second lever 23b, 25b has a second length different from the first length. By using first and second levers with different lengths the movement of the clearing blade 13 between the parking position and the operating position comprises a linear movement and rotational movement of the clearing blade 13. The first and second levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b each comprise a stop surface, wherein the stop surface of the first and second levers 23a, 23b, 25a, 25b touch each other and limit the movement of the clearing blade 13, when the clearing blade 13 is in the operating position (see also figures 8 and 9a).

    [0086] The blade actuator mechanism 21 comprises a hydraulic cylinder 27. The hydraulic cylinder 27 is configured for moving the clearing blade 13 between the parking position and the operating position. The hydraulic cylinder 27 is rotatably mounted to the cutting arm 121 with its first end. The second opposite end of the hydraulic cylinder 27 is rotatably mounted to an intermediate lever 39. The intermediate lever 39 is rotatably mounted to a supporting structure 31a of the clearing blade 13.

    [0087] Three claws 35a, 35b, 35c are mounted to the clearing blade 13. The claws 35a, 35b, 35c are flush-mounted to the front edge 33 of the clearing blade. However, the claws 35a, 35b, 35c may also mounted such that they extent beyond the front edge 33 of the clearing blade 13.

    [0088] Referring to figures 11a and 11b, the cutting apparatus 100 suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways comprises a loading table 41 for receiving detached rock material and a cutting unit 1, wherein the cutting unit 1 is configured as described with respect to figures 8 to 10b.

    [0089] The clearing blade 13 of the cutting unit 1 is configured for pushing detached rock material onto the loading table 41. It is preferred that the clearing blade 13 is in the retracted parking position while cutting is in progress. The cutting takes place while the cutting arm 121 and the cutting head 128 are pivotally moved around the pivot axis 5 in upward direction (figure 11a). It is further preferred that the clearing blade 13 is in the operating position when the cutting arm and the cutting head are rotatably moved around the pivot axis 5 in downward direction (figure 11b). When the rotational movement of the cutting arm 121 and the cutting head 128 around pivot axis 5 in downward position is completed, the majority of the detached rock material accumulated on the floor of the tunnel has been pushed onto the loading table 41 of the apparatus 100.

    [0090] The loading table 41 and the cutting unit 1 are mounted on a common frame 102, wherein the common frame is configured for relative movement with respect to a main frame of the apparatus 100 to which a drive unit for movement of the apparatus 100 is mounted.


    Claims

    1. Cutting unit (1) for use in hard rock with a cutting apparatus (100) suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like, comprising:

    - a cutting arm (121) configured for pivotal movement around at least one pivot axis (5),

    - a rotatable cutting head (128) mounted to the cutting arm (121), the cutting head (128) comprising at least one rotatable roller cutting element (127) operating in an undercutting mode for detaching material from a rock face;

    - a clearing arrangement (11) mounted to the cutting arm (121), wherein the clearing arrangement (11) comprises a clearing blade (13) for pushing detached rock material onto a loading table (41) of the cutting apparatus (100), characterized in that the clearing blade (13) is guided by a first guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade (13) in a first direction (15); and

    - the first guiding mechanism comprises one or more slide shoes allowing for a free linear movement of the clearing blade (13) in the first direction (15).


     
    2. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 1,
    characterized in that the clearing blade (13) is guided by a second guiding mechanism allowing for a free movement of the clearing blade (13) in a second direction (17).
     
    3. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 2, characterized in that the second guiding mechanism comprises a pivot bearing (19) allowing for a free rotational movement of the clearing blade (13) in the second direction (17).
     
    4. Cutting unit (1) according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the clearing arrangement (11) comprises a blade actuator mechanism (21) connecting the clearing blade (13) and the cutting arm (121), wherein the blade actuator mechanism (21) is configured for moving the clearing blade (13) between a parking position and an operating position.
     
    5. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 4,
    characterized in that the blade actuator mechanism (21) is configured such that a movement of the clearing blade (13) between the parking position and the operating position comprises a linear movement and a rotational movement of the clearing blade (13).
     
    6. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 4 or 5,
    characterized in that the blade actuator mechanism (21) comprises at least one, preferably two pairs of levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b), each pair of levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) comprises a first lever (23a, 25a) and a second lever (23b, 25b), wherein first ends of the first and second levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) are rotatably mounted to a mounting plate (29a, 29b) mounted to the cutting arm (121) and wherein opposite second ends of the first and second levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) are rotatably mounted to a supporting structure (31a, 31b) of the clearing blade (13).
     
    7. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 6,
    characterized in that the first lever (23a, 25a) has a first length and the second lever (23b, 25b) has a second length different from the first length.
     
    8. Cutting unit (1) according to one of the claims 6 to 7, characterized in that the first and second levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) each comprise a stop surface, wherein the stop surfaces of the first and second levers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) touch each other and limit the movement of the clearing blade (13), when the clearing blade (13) is in the operating position.
     
    9. Cutting unit (1) according to one of the claims 4 to 8,
    characterized in that the blade actuator mechanism (21) comprises a hydraulic cylinder (27) configured for moving the clearing blade (13) between the parking position and the operating position.
     
    10. Cutting unit (1) according to one of the preceding claims,
    characterized in that the clearing blade (13) comprises a curved front edge (33), wherein the front edge (33) is directed to the rock face when in use.
     
    11. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 10,
    characterized by at least one, preferably two or three claws (35a, 35b, 35c), wherein the claws (35a, 35b, 35c) are mounted to the clearing blade (13).
     
    12. Cutting unit (1) according to claim 11,
    characterized in that the claws (35a, 35b, 35c) are flush-mounted to the front edge (33) of the clearing blade (13) or extend beyond the front edge (33) of the clearing blade (13).
     
    13. Cutting apparatus (100) suitable for creating tunnels or subterranean roadways and the like in hard rock, comprising:

    - a loading table (41) for receiving detached rock material, and

    - a cutting unit (1) according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the clearing blade (13) of the cutting unit (1) is configured for pushing detached rock material onto the loading table (41).


     
    14. Cutting apparatus (100) according to claim 13,
    characterized in that the loading table (41) and the cutting unit (1) are mounted on a common frame (102), wherein the common frame (102) is configured for relative movement with respect to a main frame of the apparatus (100) to which a drive unit for movement of the apparatus (100) is mounted.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Schneideinheit (1) zur Verwendung in hartem Fels mit einer Schneideinrichtung (100), die sich zur Erstellung von Tunnels oder unterirdischen Verkehrswegen und dergleichen eignet, Folgendes umfassend:

    - einen Schneidarm (121), der für eine Schwenkbewegung um mindestens eine Schwenkachse (5) konfiguriert ist;

    - einen drehbaren Schneidkopf (128), der an dem Schneidarm (121) montiert ist, wobei der Schneidkopf (128) mindestens ein drehbares Walzenschneidelement (127) umfasst, das in einem Unterschneidungsmodus zum Ablösen von Material aus einer Felswand arbeitet;

    - eine Räumanordnung (11), die an dem Schneidarm (121) montiert ist, wobei die Räumanordnung (11) ein Räumschild (13) zum Schieben von abgelöstem Felsmaterial auf einen Ladetisch (41) der Schneideinrichtung (100) umfasst,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Räumschild (13) durch einen ersten Führungsmechanismus, der eine freie Bewegung des Räumschilds (13) in einer ersten Richtung (15) erlaubt, geführt wird; und

    - der erste Führungsmechanismus einen oder mehr Gleitschuhe umfasst, die eine freie lineare Bewegung des Räumschilds (13) in der ersten Richtung (15) erlauben.


     
    2. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 1,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Räumschild (13) durch einen zweiten Führungsmechanismus, der eine freie Bewegung des Räumschilds (13) in einer zweiten Richtung (17) erlaubt, geführt wird.
     
    3. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 2,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der zweite Führungsmechanismus ein Schwenklager (19) umfasst, das eine freie Drehbewegung des Räumschilds (13) in der zweiten Richtung (17) erlaubt.
     
    4. Schneideinheit (1) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Räumanordnung (11) einen Schildbetätigungsmechanismus (21) umfasst, der das Räumschild (13) und den Schneidarm (121) verbindet, wobei der Schildbetätigungsmechanismus (21) zum Bewegen des Räumschilds (13) zwischen einer Parkposition und einer Betriebsposition konfiguriert ist.
     
    5. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 4,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Schildbetätigungsmechanismus (21) konfiguriert ist, sodass eine Bewegung des Räumschilds (13) zwischen der Parkposition und der Betriebsposition eine lineare Bewegung und eine Drehbewegung des Räumschilds (13) umfasst.
     
    6. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 4 oder 5,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Schildbetätigungsmechanismus (21) mindestens ein, vorzugsweise zwei Paare von Hebeln (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) umfasst, wobei jedes Paar von Hebeln (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) einen ersten Hebel (23a, 25a) und einen zweiten Hebel (23b, 25b) umfasst, wobei erste Enden des ersten und zweiten Hebels (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) drehbar an einer Montageplatte (29a, 29b) montiert sind, die an dem Schneidarm (121) montiert ist, und wobei entgegengesetzte zweite Enden des ersten und zweiten Hebels (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) drehbar an einer Halterungsstruktur (31a, 31b) des Räumschilds (13) montiert sind.
     
    7. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 6,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste Hebel (23a, 25a) eine erste Länge aufweist und der zweite Hebel (23b, 25b) eine zweite Länge aufweist, die sich von der ersten Länge unterscheidet.
     
    8. Schneideinheit (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 6 bis 7,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der erste und zweite Hebel (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) jeweils eine Stoppoberfläche umfasst, wobei die Stoppoberfläche des ersten und zweiten Hebels (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) einander berühren, und die Bewegung des Räumschilds (13) begrenzen, wenn das Räumschild (13) in der Betriebsposition ist.
     
    9. Schneideinheit (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 4 bis 8,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Schildbetätigungsmechanismus (21) einen Hydraulikzylinder (27) umfasst, der zum Bewegen des Räumschilds (13) zwischen der Parkposition und der Betriebsposition konfiguriert ist.
     
    10. Schneideinheit (1) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Räumschild (13) eine gekrümmte Vorderkante (33) umfasst, wobei die Vorderkante (33) in Verwendung zu der Felswand gerichtet ist.
     
    11. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 10,
    gekennzeichnet durch mindestens eine, vorzugsweise zwei oder drei Klauen (35a, 35b, 35c), wobei die Klauen (35a, 35b, 35c) an dem Räumschild (13) montiert sind.
     
    12. Schneideinheit (1) nach Anspruch 11,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Klauen (35a, 35b, 35c) bündig an der Vorderkante (33) des Räumschilds (13) montiert sind, oder sich jenseits der Vorderkante (33) des Räumschilds (13) erstrecken.
     
    13. Schneideinrichtung (100), die sich zur Erstellung von Tunnels oder unterirdischen Verkehrswegen und dergleichen in hartem Fels eignet, Folgendes umfassend:

    - einen Ladetisch (41) zum Aufnehmen von abgelöstem Felsmaterial, und

    - eine Schneideinheit (1) nach einem der vorstehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Räumschild (13) der Schneideinheit (1) konfiguriert ist, abgelöstes Felsmaterial auf den Ladetisch (41) zu schieben.


     
    14. Schneideinrichtung (100) nach Anspruch 13,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Ladetisch (41) und die Schneideinheit (1) an einem gemeinsamen Rahmen (102) montiert sind, wobei der gemeinsame Rahmen (102) für eine relative Bewegung in Bezug auf einen Hauptrahmen der Einrichtung (100) konfiguriert ist, an dem eine Antriebseinheit zum Bewegen der Einrichtung (100) montiert ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Unité de coupe (1) à utiliser dans de la roche dure avec un appareil de coupe (100) approprié pour créer des tunnels ou des routes souterraines et ainsi de suite, comprenant:

    - un bras de coupe (121) configuré pour un mouvement pivotant autour d'au moins un axe de pivot (5),

    - une tête de coupe rotative (128) montée sur le bras de coupe (121), la tête de coupe (128) comprenant au moins un élément de coupe à rouleau rotatif (127) fonctionnant dans un mode de havage pour détacher de la matière à partir d'une paroi rocheuse ;

    - un agencement de déblaiement (11) monté sur le bras de coupe (121), dans lequel l'agencement de déblaiement (11) comprend une lame de déblaiement (13) pour pousser de la matière de roche détachée sur une table de chargement (41) de l'appareil de coupe (100), caractérisé en ce que la lame de déblaiement (13) est guidée par un premier mécanisme de guidage permettant un mouvement libre de la lame de déblaiement (13) dans une première direction (15) ; et

    - le premier mécanisme de guidage comprend un ou plusieurs sabots à coulisse permettant un mouvement linéaire libre de la lame de déblaiement (13) dans la première direction (15).


     
    2. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 1,
    caractérisée en ce que la lame de déblaiement (13) est guidée par un second mécanisme de guidage permettant un mouvement libre de la lame de déblaiement (13) dans une seconde direction (17).
     
    3. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 2,
    caractérisée en ce que le second mécanisme de guidage comprend un palier de pivot (19) permettant un mouvement rotatif libre de la lame de déblaiement (13) dans la seconde direction (17).
     
    4. Unité de coupe (1) selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisée en ce que l'agencement de déblaiement (11) comprend un mécanisme d'actionnement de lame (21) reliant la lame de déblaiement (13) et le bras de coupe (121), dans laquelle le mécanisme d'actionnement de lame (21) est configuré pour déplacer la lame de déblaiement (13) entre une position de repos et une position d'exploitation.
     
    5. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 4,
    caractérisée en ce que le mécanisme d'actionnement de lame (21) est configuré de sorte qu'un mouvement de la lame de déblaiement (13) entre la position de repos et la position d'exploitation comprend un mouvement linéaire et un mouvement rotatif de la lame de déblaiement (13).
     
    6. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 4 ou 5,
    caractérisée en ce que le mécanisme d'actionnement de lame (21) comprend au moins un, de préférence deux couples de leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b), chaque couple de leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) comprend un premier levier (23a, 25a) et un second levier (23b, 25b), dans laquelle des premières extrémités des premier et second leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) sont montées en rotation sur une plaque de montage (29a, 29b) montée sur le bras de coupe (121) et dans laquelle des secondes extrémités opposées des premier et second leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) sont montées en rotation sur une structure de support (31a, 31b) de la lame de déblaiement (13).
     
    7. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 6,
    caractérisée en ce que le premier levier (23a, 25a) a une première longueur et le second levier (23b, 25b) a une seconde longueur différente de la première longueur.
     
    8. Unité de coupe (1) selon l'une des revendications 6 à 7,
    caractérisée en ce que les premier et second leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) comprennent chacun une surface de butée, dans laquelle les surfaces de butée des premier et second leviers (23a, 23b, 25a, 25b) se touchent et limitent le mouvement de la lame de déblaiement (13), quand la lame de déblaiement (13) est dans la position d'exploitation.
     
    9. Unité de coupe (1) selon l'une des revendications 4 à 8,
    caractérisée en ce que le mécanisme d'actionnement de lame (21) comprend un vérin hydraulique (27) configuré pour déplacer la lame de déblaiement (13) entre la position de repos et la position d'exploitation.
     
    10. Unité de coupe (1) selon l'une des revendications précédentes,
    caractérisée en ce que la lame de déblaiement (13) comprend un bord avant incurvé (33), dans laquelle le bord avant (33) est dirigé vers la paroi rocheuse lors de l'utilisation.
     
    11. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 10,
    caractérisée par au moins une, de préférence deux ou trois griffes (35a, 35b, 35c), dans lesquelles les griffes (35a, 35b, 35c) sont montées sur la lame de déblaiement (13).
     
    12. Unité de coupe (1) selon la revendication 11,
    caractérisée en ce que les griffes (35a, 35b, 35c) sont montées à fleur sur le bord avant (33) de la lame de déblaiement (13) ou s'étendent au-delà du bord avant (33) de la lame de déblaiement (13).
     
    13. Appareil de coupe (100) approprié pour créer des tunnels ou des routes souterraines et ainsi de suite dans de la roche dure, comprenant :

    - une table de chargement (41) pour recevoir de la matière de roche détachée, et

    - une unité de coupe (1) selon l'une des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle la lame de déblaiement (13) de l'unité de coupe (1) est configurée pour pousser de la matière de roche détachée jusque sur la table de chargement (41).


     
    14. Appareil de coupe (100) selon la revendication 13,
    caractérisé en ce que la table de chargement (41) et l'unité de coupe (1) sont montées sur un châssis commun (102), dans lequel le châssis commun (102) est configuré pour un mouvement relatif par rapport à un châssis principal de l'appareil (100) sur lequel une unité d'entraînement pour le mouvement de l'appareil (100) est montée.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description