Oscillating disc cutter
As a means of excavating hard rock, the oscillating disc cutter (ODC) promises a safer, cleaner and cheaper alternative to drilling and blasting. The ODC system will enable continuous underground hard rock mining, resulting in productivity improvement of up to 10 times what is currently achievable, and will also improve safety through reducing the number of miners at the face.
While conventional disc cutters apply high compressive loads to fracture rock, the ODC system exploits the tensile weakness of rock through “undercutting”. The ODC was the brainchild of design engineer David Sugden who collaborated with Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Mining Technology and Equipment.
Research this year has involved developing a robust cutter and drive system. There have been field and laboratory tests of the drive system designs. As well, various cutter designs and the advantages of water-jet-assisted cutting have been investigated. Modeling of cutter/rock interaction and machine dynamics is continuing, funded by the Australian government and sponsor companies.