A prototype narrow-vein mucking machine was developed by Foster- Miller, Inc., under contract with the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The machine, called a compact loader-trammer, or minimucker, is designed to replace slusher muckers in narrow-vein underground mines. The minimucker is a six-wheel-drive, skid-steered, load-haul-dump machine that loads muck at the front with a novel slide-bucket system and ejects it out the rear so that the machine does not have to be burned around. To correct deficiencies of the tether-remote- control system, a computer-based, radio-remote control was retrofitted to the minimucker. Tests revealed a need to assist the operator in guiding the machine in narrow stopes. Thus the first step in automating the machine was to install an automatic guidance system using ultrasonic ranging sensors and a wall-following algorithm. Preliminary tests in a simulated test stope showed improvements in the operation of the minimucker. This paper reviews the design and functions of the minimucker and its computer-based remote control system and describes the addition and preliminary tests of an ultrasonic sensor-based guidance system for remote minimucker control.
Paper in Proceeds, Int'l. Symp. on Mine Mech. & Auto., V. 1. Colorado Sch. Mines, PP. 6-45 to 6-54