Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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5.7. Equipment Automation

Automation of longwall and development equipment provides significant safety and productivity benefits. A number of options have been suggested for further development in this report, based on activities that are either underway or have been considered in APP countries.

Current leading technologies successfully developed and applied in some of APP countries include:

  • shearer initiated AFC and support advance in longwall operations

  • automated face cutting and horizon control in longwall operations

  • substantially automated coal haulage in longwall operations

  • substantially automated support installation in development operations.

R & D requirements to address the gaps in equipment automation technology and to meet future needs in APP countries include:

  • automated longwall equipment to negotiate deviations in seams with minimal or no human intervention

  • automated belt retraction

  • automated mine development (coal cutting, roof bolting and haulage).

Current leading technologies have been developed through joint efforts between research organisations, mine operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and most of the technologies are applied at the coal mines in Australia. It is therefore suggested that these technologies be transferred among APP countries through collaborative demonstration projects.

A significant amount of development is currently underway in the advancement of longwall and roadway automation in Australia. It is recommended a forum be established among APP countries to share and exchange information on the progresses of longwall and development automation. It could lead to further demonstration projects in the countries of interest.

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