Underground » Roadway Development
CSIRO and JCOAL signed an umbrella agreement for investment in productivity related research projects for the Australian underground coal industry in July 1997. Under the agreement, JCOAL agreed to jointly fund critical areas of research and development that would result in a direct improvement of Australian productivity. Funding from Australia and Japan would be approximately equally shared. The subject of the first study or "pilot project" was improvement of underground roadway development rates. A $160,000 scoping study was completed in March 1998 and formed the basis of the 5year Rapid Roadway Project commenced in December 1998.
This project set out to design, build, provide systems support for and test run an integrated, automated coal conveying/bolting module that may sit between a variety of production machines and coal haulage options. The full project is scoped over five years, and JCOAL have committed $A5.4M out of a projected total budget requirement of $A10.7M. ACARP has supported the first year of activities within this project and has recently awarded an extension of support to the second year's activities. This report details the first full years activity of the ACARP/CSIRO component of the RRD project.
Substantial progress has been made in all areas of the RRD project over the last twelve month period. The major milestone for the year, the trial of a combined autonomous feed and bolting prototype has been achieved. Other substantial milestones in strata control, control systems, systems development and machine layout have also been accomplished. Challenges remain, as highlighted in the next section, but progress to date can be accrued to the depth of talent and motivation of the RRD team, including the monitors and support groups. Up to the end of March 2000, the following outcomes have been completed for the RRD project.
- A prototype autonomous feed and bolting system has been constructed and successfully trialled.
- One of the key components of the RRD project is to determine suitable geological and geotechnical conditions and roadway support design methods for the new RRD system.
- The specification and acquisition of Miner Remote Control System has been completed. The conceptual design and preliminary specification of supervisory and bolting platform control system and detailed definition of the functionality of system components has also been completed.
- The Rapid Roadway Development project systems engineering component presented work in many areas of the overall mining system. This includes configuration details and specifications of the ACBM and the mining development system.
During the next two years, the ACBM will undergo final design, manufacture and initial field trials. The CSIRO responsibility includes support of this process in design and design approvals, manufacturing process, and arranging field trials and project management. In addition CSIRO has major responsibilities in automation control, systems engineering and strata control. Some unresolved issues remain regarding the process for design, approval and installation of power electrics and it is the requirement for front bolters that have not been fully scoped. The current detailed program for the ACARP/CSIRO components is shown in the final report.