A key objective of the longwall automation project was to “develop and demonstrate a longwall automation system that allows a minimum number of personnel required to be within the hazardous zone of the longwall”.
New and enabling technologies were developed during the longwall automation project to achieve this objective. Customised inertial navigation technology was incorporated with hardware and software components specifically developed for the longwall automation application. Collectively this is referred to as LASC Technology
The shearer-mounted hardware component of the LASC technology is referred to as the Shearer Position Measurement System (SPMS).
The SPMS comprises three hardware blocks:
- the inertial sensor (INS)
- the managed uninterruptable power supply (MUPS)
- the central processing unit (CPU) as shown in Figure 1 below.
The LASC technology developed throughout the project is now being delivered to industry through commercialisation agreements with longwall equipment manufacturers.
Figure 1: Shearer Position Measurement System (SPMS) modules