Open Cut

Bucket Imaging During Rope Shovel Operations

Open Cut » Maintenance & Equipment

Published: August 05Project Number: C13047

Get ReportAuthor: Eleonora Widzyk-Capehart, Graham Brooker, Ross Hennessy, Craig Lobsey, Allison McDonald | CRCMining

Bucket fillability in open cut mining operations has a major influence on the productivity of electric rope shovels. The characteristics of bucket filling can be described in terms of the amount and distribution of material in the bucket and the ease of the digging operation. The enhanced sensing of machine and operator performance is crucial in advancing the automation of rope shovel operations and in improving safety of loading operation.

This project was undertaken to:

  • Develop a prototype system capable of imaging the surface of the material in the bucket during normal machine operation; and
  • Integrate the imaging system with the CRC Mining Shovel Data Acquisition and Feedback System.

To achieve the specified objectives, a prototype High Speed Radar System was developed at the University of Sydney, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, and tested on an off-line P&H 2100BLE Shovel at Bracalba Quarry. The radar system was shown to have the ability to generate digital images of the material surface in the bucket during normal shovel operation and to integrate with the CRCMining Data Acquisition and Feedback System.

The results of the field trials show high-quality bucket surface scans obtained from the radar scanner. Radar system accuracy was verified against images obtained via video system during testing demonstrating highly acceptable correlation in terms of the material distribution in the bucket.

In addition to material surface imaging and its distribution within bucket boundaries, the outcomes of the field trials also indicate that the High Speed Radar System has the ability to:

  • Differentiate between individual bucket teeth;
  • Perform face scanning and determine shovel distance to the face;
  • Identify other objects (vehicles) within shovel vicinity.

Information acquired by the bucket imaging system, when coupled with other monitoring equipment, such as, face profiling and payload monitoring, would provide means to evaluate and improve bucket fillability, bucket payload, bucket trajectory during the digging process and, ultimately, bucket design for specific mining conditions.

The development of the high speed radar scanning mechanism faced many challenges related to the internal radar operation and scanner field performance. Those issues were addressed as follows:

  • Increased scanning speed of radar scanner to perform imaging in real-time.
  • The original signal processor of the AcuMine radar was modified to accommodate a scanning rate of more than 4000 samples per second from the original sampling rate of 5 samples per second.
  • Vibration due to high mirror rotating speed. The rotating mirror produced a rotating moment at the mirror hub, which induced significant vibration. This problem was overcome by dynamically balancing the mirror using a stainless steel counterbalance.
  • Vibration and shock loading due to operation of the machin e. The radar scanner must remain on the shovel for extended periods of time and it is subject to severe vibration and shock loading due to the nature of shovel operation. A specifically design mounting assembly was manufactured to provide shock protection functions and limit the vibrations of the scanner.
  • Limited field of view due to shovel bail obstruction. For bailess buckets, the radar assembly can be attached directly to the boom of the shovel, providing a clear view of the bucket. However, the radar's field of view is limited if the shovel bucket has a bail. In this case, an extended mounting assembly was designed and manufactured to allow proper scanning range of the material in the bucket.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C26061The Young’S Moduli, Poisson’S Ratios And Poroelastic Coefficients Of Coals

This report describes the measurement of coal (and rock) properties ...

C24015 Assessment Of Convergence Based Roof Support Design For Longwall Abutment Loads

The aim of Stage two of project C24015 was to develop a roof support...

C25072New Approaches To Mine Gas Analysis And Ratios

The spontaneous combustion of coal remains a hazard in underground c...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26022Real-Time Prediction Of Coal Top Through Guided Borehole Radar Wave Imaging For Open Cut Blast-Hole Drilling

Damage to the tops of coal seams caused by incorrect blast stand-off...

C26027Using An Ecotoxicological Approach To Validate The DGT Technique For The Measurement Of Bioavailable Metal Concentrations

This project builds on the opportunity identified through Project C2...

C25039Prediction Of Long-Term Salt Generation From Coal Spoils

The release of salts from spoil piles has the potential to affect su...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C250083D Flotation Of Fine Particles

In this project a process for the continuous, selective agglomeratio...

C20052Full Scale Gravity - Desliming Using Cascading REFLUX Classifiers

Considerable quantities of fine coal are disposed of as part of the ...

C26007 Revised Dustiness And DEM Test Method (Update Of AS4156.6) Part 2:Preparation

In 2015 project C23054 investigated and reviewed the Australian Stan...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C25045Stage Two - Assessment Of In Situ High-Temperature Strength Of Cokes

Stage I of this project established a reliable and repeatable proces...

C27003Review Of ACARP Research To Support Marketing Of Australian Thermal Coal

In this project, researchers pinpointed issues relating to the use o...

C25044Trace Elements In Coal; Status Of Test Methods In Use And Their Applicability


The key objectives of this stage...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C27008Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids

The connection of a ventilation air methane (VAM) abatement plant di...

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement - Phase 3

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook