A pantechnicon is a train of sleds carrying the services to the longwall face. It is generally located on the maingate road, along the belt conveyor. It is usually pulled or dragged along the roadway in concert with the advance of the face. The dragging of the system is achieved either by a winch, or by a hydraulic ram. Pantechnicons can be either short length or long. Short length pantechnicons are used when the electrical transformers, hydraulic pumps and fluid reservoir for the powered supports are housed in a remote fixed station outbye of the panel, as shown in picture opposite.The only essential facilities carried on the pantechnicon will be longwall face communication and monitoring equipment, spares, hose and crib sleds. Fixed central location pantechnicons can be beneficial if more than one longwall face is operating at the same time.
Long pantechnicon on the other hand carries all the equipment, which provides the essential services to the face to include:
- Transformers to facilitate the desirable electric power to suit the desired operating voltage of the face equipment. Power is supplied from transformers to banks of gate-end boxes, which control the power to various motors at the face.
- High-pressure piston pumps to supply hydraulic fluid to operate the powered supports. The support emulsion fluid comprises 95 water and 5 % soluble oil. The fluid reticulation system also has a large reservoir tank. The hydraulic operating pressure of pumps can be in excess of 40 MPa. Generally each face is provided with three pumps with one pump to act as a stand bye pump.
- Water is generally supplied from the mine reticulation system, however, a high pressure pump is available on the Pantechnicon to boost the pressure of the water supplied to the shearer for coal cutting and dust suppression
- Compressed air, is generally supplied form the surface, and usually a compressed air hose is installed for all the length of the face with outlets at appropriate spacing to permit ancillary face operations such as face bolting operations and the use of compressed air power tool at the face.
- Communication and monitoring equipment for face communication and maintain communication with the base and of course equipment diagnostics.
- Some pentechnicons also carry stock /spares and crib sleds.