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Automation of the longwall mining system.

Zimmerman WF; Aster R; Harris J; High J
DOE, 1982 Nov; :117 pages
The longwall automation study presented is the first phase of a study to evaluate mining automation opportunities. The objective was to identify cost-effective, safe, and technologically sound applications of automation technology to understand coal mining. The prime automation candidates resulting from the industry experience and survey were: (1) the shearer operation, (2) shield and conveyor pan-line advance, (3) a management information system to allow improved mine logistics support, and (4) component fault isolation and diagnostics to reduce untimely maintenance delays. A system network analysis indicated that a 40% improvement in productivity was feasible if system delays associated with all of the above four areas were removed. A technology assessment and conceptual system design of each of the four automation candidate areas showed that state-of-the-art digital computer, servomechanism, and actuator technologies could be applied to automate the longwall system. The final cost benefit analysis of all of the automation areas indicated a total net national benefit (profit) of roughly $200 million to the longwall mining industry if all automation candidates were installed. This cost benefit represented an approximate order of magnitude payback on the research and development (R and D) investment. In conclusion, it is recommended that the shearer operation be automated first because it provides a large number of other sensor inputs required for face alignment (i.e., shields and conveyor). Automation of the shield and conveyor pan-line advance is suggested as the next step since both the shearer and face alignment operations contributed the greatest time delays to the overall system downtime.
Longwall-mining; Shearer-loaders; Powered-supports; Coal-mining; Underground-mining; Mining-equipment; Automation; Diagnostic-techniques; Systems-analysis; Dusts-control; Accidents; Remote-sensing; Cost-benefit-analysis;
Publication Date
Document Type
CP; Final Contract Report;
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Department of Energy, Washington, DC, Report No. DOE/ET/12548-16
Performing Organization
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Page last reviewed: November 12, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division