Underground » Roadway Development
The supply of services to the continuous miner and the ventilation of the face area play an important part of the roadway development process. Monorail technology has improved the supply method of these services by allowing an advancing system to follow the miner carrying ventilation ducting, power, air, water and equipment such as fans and fire depots. However, achieving the advance rates and safety levels targeted by the ACARP Roadway Development Task Group (RDTG) necessitates the automation of this process. Currently, monorail sections are manually installed from the miner platform. Automating monorail installation would eliminate the need for this operator and reduce installation times of the rail, thus contributing towards the CM2010 vision.
This project has developed a concept design allowing integration with the automated bolt and mesh handling equipment (ACARP project C17018). The design encompasses the rail attachment mechanism, rail manipulator, and roof bolt locating mechanism. Mechanised solutions were developed for each of these areas, which will allow for full automation or the potential to be used as an interim system to assist manual installation.
The scope of work includes process animation to assess the effectiveness of the design before building a prototype. A full rail handling prototype has been fabricated and tested at the Macquarie Manufacturing Rathmines workshop. Results of this testing indicate that the designs offer a valid solution for mechanised rail installation which can be further developed into a full automated system.