A longwall change over generally takes 4 to 6 weeks. There is a need for forward planning and the use of critical path analysis is essential so as to prioritise the resources where they are needed. To prepare for a new longwall various tasks still need to be finished:
- Gas drainage of the new panel has to be completed
- The roads and relevant cut throughs need to be cleaned up (ie this involves grading of roadways)
- The new face needs to have a level floor for the chocks to be placed properly.
The equipment for the change over is either owned by the mine if it is a large mine or the equipment is shared between different mines that are owned by the same company or the equipment is hired out.
- A successful longwall changeover requires the following:
- Extensive planning, scheduling, preparation and teamwork
- A fast turn around time
- Evaluation of the whole procedure for improvements and to alleviate problems that may have been encountered
- Safety – Accident free procedure