South Crofty Mine Inside 1: This page contains internal images of both the Winders also the Compressor House. It was rare for those I knew at the mine to have time to show me around.
So, on this occasion I made the most of it. These buildings housed the life of the mine, the winders were the heart. Also the compressors supplied the air which gave life to the drills and machines used deep underground.
All of these images were taken when the mine was still open.
Colin Coombes was an Underground Electrician at South Crofty Mine. He carried out electrical maintenance on both winders during the years 1988-1990. He has written a short account for this page.
Maintenance was usually carried out on the winders on Saturdays. Firstly we had to check the signalling system down the shafts on each working level up to surface. To verify correct operation. The 3.3kV supply was then isolated to the winder and locked off with special safety locks so it was safe to start work.
Contacts where required were cleaned on the switchgear. Also oil and electrolyte levels checked and topped up if required and connections checked for tightness.
On completion of the maintenance, supply was restored. Then run through operation of all safety circuits, overspeed for man riding and ore carrying. Other safety trips tested, once all were confirmed to be within required limits so the winder was restored to normal operation.
The winder was equipped with a Ward Leonard control system. This was a very smooth speed control system over a very wide range (from zero to normal speed of the motor). The speed could be controlled in both the direction of rotation of the motor easily, so the motor could run with a uniform acceleration.
This was a wonderful device. The driver will say that he drives the winder, but in reality the Lilly controls/monitors what the winder driver is doing. If events move outside the parameters set by the Lilly, it will firstly alarm, then shut down the winder in a safe mode.
(Information kindly supplied by Bob Orchard)
The remaining images were taken in the mines Compressor House.
This machine is a Ingersol Rand “Centac” is a centrifugal compressor producing 5,500 cubic feet per minute capacity. It was also supported by three smaller machines. The air was fed down the shaft in pipes to be distributed to the working miners underground.