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

C25060Development Of Borehole Shear Monitoring Device For Routine Application In Coal Mine Roadways

This project outlines the development of a cost effective, routine s...

C26063Reliable Estimation Of Horizontal Stress Magnitudes From Borehole Breakout Data

The main objective of the project is to develop a reliable and simpl...

C26053Predict Stress State And Geotechnical Conditions Near Major Geological Structures Using Microseismic Technology And Distinct Element Modelling

Stress state and geotechnical conditions often change significantly ...


Open Cut

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

Recently Completed Projects

C25031Developing Closure Criteria For River Diversions: An Alternative To Reference Sites

The use of reference sites for establishing closure criteria in area...

C27074Tyre Integrity Monitoring

Driving mine trucks with underinflated and overloaded tyres subjects...

C26034Coking Properties Deterioration In Small Samples

Accurate evaluation of coking coal parameters at the exploration sta...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C25019Adaptation Of Coal Grain Analysis To Improve Flotation Yield Estimation

This project involved sampling of full-scale flotation circuits at ...

C250083D Flotation Of Fine Particles

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

C26009Improved Precision Of Determining Coal In Urban Dust

Dust samples collected in coastal locations using High Volume Air Sa...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26044Physical And Chemical Interactions Occurring During Cokemaking And Their Influence On Coke Strength

This project builds onto a previous project , C24055 in which macera...

C27056Imaging Gas Penetration Inside Coals And Cokes And Determining Influence On Coke Reactivity

The suitability of cokes for use in a blast furnace is determined by...

C26045Mineralogy Effects On The 3D Porosity Evolution Of Coke And Coke Reactivity

CRI/CSR CO2 combustion data are key metrics of coke quality and perf...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

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...

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