SAR South Africa worked on an underground coal mining project as part of a research and development project commissioned by Anglo American
Anglo American, one of the world's largest mining companies, has set itself the ambitious goal of realizing underground coal mining by 2030 with only a small number of workers in the hazardous area.
A colossus of 200 tons
The machines used are so-called 'continuous miners' with a weight of around 200 tons.
The harsh underground conditions place the highest demands on maintenance and repair work on the rotary drums of the miners.
The 'picks' still have to be checked manually at regular intervals and, if necessary,
changed according to wear in order firstly to guarantee the yield during mining and secondly not to damage the rotary drum (weight 16t) of the miner.
Due to the immense mechanical loads, the sleeves also have to be changed from time to time depending on wear.
These are mounted in the holder by a double press fit and secured by a spring steel ring.
Worn picks are replaced
SAR South Africa is able to determine the respective wear of the 'picks' with the help of an industrial robot and, if necessary, replace the worn 'picks' with new ones.
To determine the position of the 'picks', the position and orientation of the drum must be determined.
Since the manoeuvrability of the miners underground is very limited, SAR has developed a possibility to determine these parameters also with the help of the robot.
The next step is to find a way to change the sleaves. Due to the forces required, this will certainly require the use of hydraulics.
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