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Open Cut

Automated Digital Terrain Mapping for Draglines

Open Cut » Overburden Removal

Published: June 02Project Number: C10039

Get ReportAuthor: Jonathan Roberts | CSIRO Manufacturing Science and Technology

Draglines are the most important means of coal uncovery in open cut mines. The key problem is that we do not know what a dragline is doing. 3D plans can be developed, but we can not tell how good the plan was, or how well it was followed. A dragline monitor can measure how the dragline has performed, but the efficiency of the mining process (coal uncovering) can not be measured. The missing link to date has been the ability to measure the actual location of dirt and its movement over time. This project has developed a prototype system to automatically create Digital Terrain Maps (DTMs) of the terrain surrounding a dragline as it operates. The DTMs can be used by an operator to visualise the dragline operation or by the dragline engineer to access the degree of dig plan conformity.

The system was developed on the Bucyrus Erie 1350 dragline at Callide Coalfield's Boundary Hill pit. This is the same dragline being used for the Dragline Swing Automation project (ACARP project C9028). The next logical step in dragline swing automation is to give the system the ability to "see" the spoil. This will make the automation system easier to use and will allow the swing automation system to minimise swing times further because it will "know" very accurately where the spoil is. The DTMs generated by this project could be used directly by the Swing Automation system to automatically determine no-go areas for the bucket. These are currently entered by the operator during training.

This project has demonstrated:

  • The ability to automatically generate DTMs from the dragline boom during normal operation.
  • The ability to load these DTMs into the mine's pit planning/design software.
  • A visualisation tool for the operator, located in the cab, that allows an operator to view the terrain from any angle.
  • The integration of the DTMs into the Swing Automation system operator's display.
  • The ability to visualise the dragline operation from a remote site. We regularly demonstrated the ability to view the dragline operation live from our Brisbane laboratory displaying both the actual terrain surrounding the dragline and the dragline's state.

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