Georgi Dimitrov underground mines have favoured metal supports over concrete slabs and timber since 1972 because of their well known advantages and because metal supports lend themselves to easy handling by 4-PU combines and 1PNB-2 loading machines. To eliminate bottlenecks and high costs of procurement from a central base individual mines were charged with production of their own metal supports. This resulted in some new developments, for example, in the production of supports with a 3.16 times greater capacity in the Marshall Tolbukhin and Al. Milenov mines in 1978. Hydraulic presses are generally used to produce conventional arch and ring type supports, and the Polish make PHPG-100 press is used for repairs. Decentralization also caused problems: different length timber and metal supports often necessitate additional cutting operations, a multitude of machines cause increased manual handling, and equipment is too often adapted to special requirements of individual shifts. However, costs of metal supports have dropped about 15%. Further improvement would require that the production of metal supports be centralized for the entire combine, supports be used according to their strength, and screw joinings be replaced with cotter type fastenings.