US Bureau of Mines Coal Mining Automation Research

Bevan JE,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
The US Bureau of Mines is conducting research to improve the health and safety for underground coal miners, and the efficiency of the mining systems that are used. In 1986, the Bureau began a major research effort on the technology for computer-assisted mining systems for underground coal mines. The initial target was technology for continuous mining machines that would allow them to extract coal by computer-assisted operation. Technology areas being investigated include guidance systems, machine condition systems, computer systems, machine control, human-machine interfaces and planning. In each of these areas, individual system development has progressed to where underground testing of these systems will begin in 1991.In addition to coal extraction, the Bureau has also begun research for the development of technology for computer-assisted roof bolting. The Bureau is developing technology for a "smart" roof bolter that would be able to sense and analyze strata conditions to determine the requirements to provide a competent roof. The system would determine the location of the hole, drill the hole to length, and select and install the appropriate bolt.
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