Intelligent Mining Machines in the Mining Field


So-called shearer loaders are used in German hard coal mining to mine he coal, mining machines with two cutting rollers which cut the coal from the rock along the mining face. Automation in hard coal mining is a suitable means to meet the demands for an increase in quantities conveyed and reduction of conveying costs as well as an improvement in work protection.

The Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) has developed a multi-sensor concept for complete automation of such machines.

High-performance computers and communication systems as well as the latest sensor systems such as infrared cameras, radar and vibration meters enable the shearer loader underground to recognize obstacles and limits between coal and surrounding rock. The automation concept of the new Eickhoff shearer loader generation SL750 enables automatic mining face control due to its innovative and high-performance sensor concept.

Information on the machine status, ambient monitoring and collision risks of mobile machines as well as information on the spatial position of the mining system in relation to deposit limits are recorded via completely newly developed networked sensors. By means of a system of algorithms, these sensor data is evaluated and control information generated. The navigation system provides the machine with a sense of orientation in naturally formed coal seams and reacts to changes itself. As a result of this compete system of automation for shearer loaders, available for the first time, it is possible to achieve important benefits in sustainable mining of raw materials especially hard coal.

This pioneering innovation is the result of fruitful cooperation between research and industry. Young innovative engineers and experience ‘Masters of their subject enhance each others’ skills to achieve a long-standing wish.

Cooperation partners are the machine manufacturer, Eickhoff Bergbautechnik GmbH in Bochum, the machine operator, RAG - Deutsche Steinkohle, and the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) of the RWTH Aachen with its „spin-off“ for industrial radar technology, INDURAD GmbH.


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