World Mining Congress
This paper describes the latest results in research and development currently being undertaken by the CSIRO Mining Technology Group to advance the automation capability of continuous mining equipment in underground coal mining operations. This research delivers enabling technologies that are essential in achieving increased roadway development rates as well as providing a safer working environment for underground mine personnel. Details are presented on technical developments and results of large-scale above-ground experiments conducted under field-realistic conditions. These experiments demonstrate the performance of the “self-steering” capability which will enable a continuous miner (CM) to automatically maintain a given mining heading and mining horizon under production conditions. A primary technical requirement of this automated functionality is the means to accurately determine both the location and orientation of the CM in real-time. Test results of a high performance navigation system utilising vehicle motion aiding technologies are presented. This system combines high performance inertial sensors, and custom-developed radar to achieve a navigation-grade guidance system. Comprehensive performance evaluation has been conducted using a scale skid-steer mobility platform operating autonomously through a typical roadway development mining pattern with a total path length of 2700 m and mission duration of 112 min. Results from this evaluation demonstrate that the sustained accuracy of the navigation system exceeds the original project expectations and is well suited to the requirements for this underground mining application. There are presently no known alternative methods for providing a practical and accurate three-dimensional guidance solution in this application. This achievement represents a significant milestone in delivering a step change improvement in underground coal mining roadway development.
Keywords: Developments; Development; Roadways; Vehicles; Performance; mining; Projects; Experiments; experiment;
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