Shearers are by far the most commonly used cutting machines, both in Australia and overseas. A shearer consists of a machine body containing electric motors, hydraulic equipment and controls which is mounted over the AFC. Horizontal cutting drums are mounted on the face side of the machine, laced with cutting picks and rotating in a plane parallel to the face. If the AFC is pushed towards the face as the cutting drums are rotated and the shearer travels along the face, it is able to cut into the face for the full web width, moving along a snake in the AFC. This is known as "sumping in". Once fully into the web, the shearer can advance the full length of the face cutting out the web. The snake can also be reversed to cut the wedge shaped portion of coal left while sumping in.
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