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Longwall Automation 2

Underground » Roadway Development

Published: May 08Project Number: C15002

Get ReportAuthor: David Hainsworth, David Reid, Con Caris, JC Ralston, CO Hargrave, Ron McPhee, IN Hutchinson, A Strange, C Wesner | CSIRO

This report covers a nominal two-year extension to the Major Longwall Automation Project (C10100). This report presents work programs undertaken, results achieved against the original goals and subsequently re-scoped goals and recommendations for further work. This document is the final report.  It is an integrated document that includes an earlier interim report (May 2007) and final results from a supplementary work program (May to December 2007) to address outcomes that were delayed beyond the nominal end date of the project.  The general goals of the project have been to build on the outcomes of project C10100 (report published Feb 2005), in particular by developing commercial prototypes of proof-of-concept outcomes and by developing new findings to experimental level.  The major outcomes of the project have been:

  • Production standard implementation of Longwall Automation Steering Committee (LASC) automation systems has been achieved at Beltana and Broadmeadow mines. The systems are now used on a 24/7 basis and have provided production benefits to the mines.
  • The LASC Information System (LIS) has been updated and has been implemented successfully in the IT environment of major coal mining houses.  This enables 3D visualisation of the longwall environment and equipment to be accessed on line. A simulator has been specified and a prototype system is now ready for implementation.   
  • The Shearer Position Measurement System (SPMS) has been upgraded to a modular commercial production standard hardware solution.   
  • In addressing horizon control issues, a compact hardware solution for visual face monitoring has been developed, an approved enclosure for a thermal infrared camera has been produced and software for providing horizon control through faulted conditions has been delivered. The incorporation of the LASC Cut Model information into OEM horizon control algorithms has been bench and underground tested.
  • In new technology development, a prototype system for shield convergence monitoring has been produced and studies to identify techniques for coal flow optimisation and void monitoring have been carried out.   
  • Liaison with equipment manufacturers has been maintained and technology delivery mechanisms for LASC hardware and software have been established.

For each of the specific outcome areas of the project, a summary report presents the goals, results and recommendations and a detailed report describes the various work programs in greater detail.

The table below gives a quick overview of project outputs in the two categories of delivery of commercial prototypes and development of new results to proof-ofconcept stage. The timing of project deliverables is shown and explanatory notes are added to indicate why outcomes were delayed until the end of 2007.    

These Major projects have provided a unique opportunity to fast-track research into longwall automation. However the task is not complete and there are recommendations for future work in all the research areas covered in this report.  CSIRO will be undertaking work in several of these areas where its capabilities can be most effectively deployed. These include ongoing commercialisation activities, completion of testing of prototypes developed in the extension project, and new technology development particularly in inertial navigation and radar technology as applied to mining.

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