A guide frame is an integral part of the mining process because it guides the necessary additional segments of the conveyor system that must be added as the mine depth increases. A conveyor system that runs just short of the length of the mineshaft must be held stationary and confident, so as to avoid shaking loose with the transfer of mined material. The conveyor system must also be guided so that, as the conveyor system is lengthened with the depth of the mine shaft, the system does not become detached at any point. The guide frame is the essential apparatus in keeping these two factors under the mine operator’s control.
The guide frame for the entire conveyor system in a high-wall mining project must remain secure and sturdy. It must be functional no matter how long or deep the mineshaft penetrates. As a result, the frame for the conveyor must be fabricated out of a material that does not lend itself to weakness or instability. Most guide frames are thus manufactured from a special grade of iron or casted steel.
Guide frames also contain as few bolted parts as possible. The lack of bolts is designed to ensure there is no loosening of joints that would cause instability. These materials are also essential to the proper manufacturing of a reliable frame, because the frame receives extensive and constant use. Material used to create the guide frame must not allow wearing or weathering due to constant or intense usage.
The guide frame and the conveyor system are two separate items, but both are necessary and both are required to be designed to be compatible with one another. The conveyor system rests within the guide frame, where it is held in place by the only movable parts located within the frame itself. These movable parts are called bushings, and are usually made of the same cast steel or iron the frame is made out of.
The bushings are susceptible to wearing since they are moving parts. The bushings are held in place by bushing keys, allowing them to move when guiding the conveyor system but not to move themselves within the frame. They are located within the guide frame in a location that allows them to be replaced as needed without great cost or lost time.