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New system offers face relief

A NEW software system just released to the longwall sector will give operations the ability to predict roof behaviour that may lead to face events. The technology is already being trialled at one Central Queensland mine.

Staff Reporter
New system offers face relief

Coined “Faceguard”, the software from Queensland company Optimate allows people to “see the strata through the data”

“The software was designed to allow people to see through the large volumes of longwall data to understand the roof strata in real time,” Optimate managing director Steve Miller told International Longwall News.

The Faceguard software collates the large amount of raw data from the chock pressures and shearers and processes it to derive key values needed for pre-empting face events. These key values form the basis for the 3D visualisation and the real-time alerts. The alert system is designed to eliminate the need for constant supervision of the visual interface.

A calibration layer enables the use of chocks of different sizes with different yield valve settings to be “normalised” for use in the visualisation and alert tools.

Rules are created using expression builder from calculated data including maximum pressure, minimum pressure, maximum rate of change, yield count, posi-set status, maximum pressure gain between advance cycles, and maximum rate of change gain between advance cycles.

As the chocks in a group and/or across the face are identified as being in “Alert” based on the rule applied, then the alert response can email or SMS the relevant personnel and/or it can raise an alarm for the operators on the site SCADA system.

Chock capacity graphs allow the loading performance of the chocks over a determined time period to be assessed. The graphs can assist in the sizing of the chocks as the depth and/or width of the face changes. They can also assist in asset management and maintenance by profiling the work the chock has done since its last rebuild.

“Longwalls have a large amount of data that has to be processed and stored in order to create valid perspectives of the roof. Any system that does this has to collect data from the longwall control system without affecting its operation, and then has to integrate the user interface into the IT systems in a way that makes people’s jobs easier to do. Faceguard has been designed to inherently eliminate these as issues,” Miller said.

Optimate is looking for more mines in which to install Faceguard and plans to market the software globally, including throughout North America; the company will be attending the Ground Control in Mining conference in West Virginia during August.

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