Underground » Mining Technology and Production
This report describes the outcomes of a 24-month ACARP-funded research project that focussed on the development of a practical self-steering guidance system capability for a continuous miner (CM). This project directly contributed to ACARP's broader CM2010 initiative which aims to demonstrate an integrated, remotely supervised, high capacity roadway development system.
The ability to achieve a self-steering CM was identified by the ACARP Roadway Development Task Group (RDTG) as being of fundamental importance. The safety, productivity and financial benefits to industry of achieving this outcome are significant and well documented as part of the CM2010 initiative.
In response to this challenge, this research project focussed on achieving two major objectives:
· To further develop the CM navigation technology, demonstrated as part of the ACARP C18023 project, for installation on a production roadway development CM;
· To provide a convincing demonstration of the performance and practical advantages of this advanced navigation solution in this specific underground mining application.
These project objectives were successfully achieved to the stage where mining companies and mining equipment manufacturers now have the confidence to take up and integrate the navigation technology into their equipment.
The CM navigation solution was based on the use of advanced inertial navigation technology. Throughout the project, the technology was progressively evaluated, developed, refined and hardened through a series of controlled evaluation activities by working in close partnership with vendors, OEMs and mine sites. These activities included extensive in-house evaluation, CM system integration at Heatherbrae (Sandvik), underground trials at Mandalong (Centennial) trials, and system deployment and commissioning at Ulan West (Glencore).
The solution provides new real-time machine position information which is essential for the ongoing successful integration of support and haulage components associated with the CM2010 project. Key outcomes from this project include:
· Successful development and demonstration of a navigation solution for CM-self guidance in operational conditions, including performance metrics under different operational modes;
· Development of a custom designed, fit-for-purpose guidance package solution that can be integrated into the body of an operational CM with open communications interfacing;
· Strong vendor, OEM and miner engagement evident through the ongoing utilisation of the CM guidance system on Sandvik MB650 miner bolter machine at Ulan West and requests for trials at two other mine sites to be achieved in early 2018.
The outcomes from this project are now supporting a range of complementary CM technology developments such as the ACARP C26051 On-machine Bolting and Geotechnical Monitoring System and ACARP C25064 floor horizon sensing.