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Mining & Resources

A snapshot of the Hunter Valley Longwall conference

21 Sep 2015, by Informa Insights

Longwall 2015 is Australia’s premier underground coal event and in the lead up to the conference next month we asked three of the speakers to share a brief snapshot (without giving too much away!) of what they will be covering in their respective presentations.

Dr Sebastian Mundry, Caterpillar
Dr Sebastian Mundry, Caterpillar

Who: Dr. Sebastian Mundry, Manager Longwall Automation & Engineering, Caterpillar Global Mining
Session title: Supporting Toolsets for Efficient and Productive Longwall Operation
Snapshot: Longwall mining is an expensive undertaking, from site preparation to capital investment in the equipment. That’s why longwall owners have extremely high performance expectations – especially in tough economic times when commodity prices are low.

One of the ways longwall mines achieve or exceed their owners’ expectations is through the extensive use of automation. This paper will show how further technologies support longwall operations and what is needed for an efficient and productive Longwall operation.

This paper covers indirect supporting toolsets – like new software and service tools – that support mine operations. This includes the capability sets from Cat® MineStar, particularly Health for Longwall and Equipment Care Advisor (ECA).

Therefore the paper explains the proactive process of evaluating equipment and application data inputs to provide recommendations for maintenance, component replacement, application and repair, as well as how to create value-added work recommendations for a ‘repair before failure’ approach.

Dealer offered condition monitoring services powered by Cat Equipment Care Advisor in combination with a centralized all product data cloud and local dealer support will be explained. The paper also explains the differentiation to MineStar capabilitiy “Health for Longwall”, which is directly operated on mine site and explains when to choose which service sets.

It also deals with direct supporting toolsets like the Cat® MineStar™ capability set “Command for Longwall“- featuring LongwallNavigator for Shearer applications, as well as “Command for Longwall“ in VFD driven plow longwall applications.

The paper discusses the benefits of the realization of the indirect and direct toolsets in known environment for shearer and plow installations with regards to safety and productivity.

Dr Jonathon Ralston, CSIRO Energy Flagship
Dr Jonathon Ralston, CSIRO Energy Flagship

Who: Dr Jonathon Ralston, Remote Mining Team Leader, Principal Research Engineer, CSIRO Energy Flagship
Session: Longwall Automation: Past achievements, present activity and future trends
Snapshot: This presentation will overview the critical role that enabling technologies have played in the delivery of remote and automated capability for longwall mining. A brief historical account is given to highlight key technical contributions which have influenced the direction and development of present-day longwall technology. The current state of longwall automation will be discussed with particular attention drawn to the technologies that enable automated capability.

Outcomes will be presented from an independently conducted case study that assesses the impact that CSIRO’s LASC longwall automation research has made to the longwall mining industry in Australia. This presentation will also indicate how uptake of this innovative technology has significantly benefited coal mine productivity, improved working conditions for personnel, and enhanced environmental outcomes. Future challenges and opportunities will be discussed in order to highlight the ongoing need for longwall automation research and development to provide new solutions for industry.

Shiva Pedram, University of Wollongong
Shiva Pedram, University of Wollongong

Who: Shiva Pedram, PhD candidate – SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong
Session: Virtual training facility capabilities with regards to industry training needs
Snapshot: The Australian mining industry has achieved remarkable performance and safety results; one contributor to this has been through continuous improvement of its training standards. Interactive virtual reality-based training is the most recent technology used to enhance workers’ competencies in a safe and controlled environment that allows for replicable testing of extreme event scenarios. Like any other training method, VR-based training needs to be assessed in order to evaluate the advantages and limitations of this innovative technology, compared with more traditional approaches.

Our research aims to design and implement an evaluation framework that can be used to assess VR-based training programs developed, amongst other training methods, by Coal Services Pty Ltd, a pioneering training provider for the coal mining industry in Australia. Our research focuses on specific training programs developed for Mines Rescue brigades. These teams are made up of highly specialized mineworker volunteers who are in charge of primary response in case of a major incident. The evaluation framework aims at identifying adequacy between competency needs, technological capabilities and the implementation of interactive simulation. Research outcomes are meant to provide evidence-based information on the advantages and limitations of VR-based training for Mines Rescue brigades. The evaluation framework is flexible enough to be applied to other types of training for the mining industry or even to be adapted for use in other industries.

If you are after more information on the conference please visit the website here

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