A simulation model to improve pneumatic intensifier performance and reliability
This paper describes a model that can simulate the behaviour of a pneumatic intensifier that is generally referred to as an 'air pump' (AP). The AP is used in many South African underground mines, and utilizes compressed air with pressures between 0.3-0.6 MPa to pump water up to pressures of 12-18 MPa. The high pressure water is used in numerous underground mines to pressurize props and roof bolts that act as safety and roof support devices. The simulation model reproduces the intensifiers operation under various conditions and therefore can be used to investigate the AP's sensitivity towards environmental conditions, design parameters (such as spring stiffness, plunger diameter, nozzle diameter etc.) and operating conditions. Model validation by comparison with laboratory experiments showed good correlation. The model can subsequently be used to investigate design changes aimed at improving the AP's performance and reliability over a wider range of operating conditions. © The South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2005.