Peabody Energy has placed an order with Caterpillar for a complete longwall mining system which features advanced automation technology for its North Goonyella coal mine in Central Queensland.
The entire longwall system includes roof supports and a face conveyor with a 300-meter long face, shearer and beam stage loader. However, the most interesting part of this massive machine is its advanced automation technology, which is expected to enhance safety and production.
The specific model machine ordered by Peabody for their North Goonyella coal mine is a Cat EL3000 shearer which will be fitted with a Cat PMC Evo-S control system, advanced measuring technology and intelligent software modules.
The machines automation system will allow the shearer to be operated by a single operator using remote control. The machine and remote control software includes diagnostic tools which maximise uptimes and an automation logic that is expected to minimise overload situations.
Furthermore, the longwall includes software tools and sensors in the gate ends and in the shield controllers. These sensors and software enable full 3D navigation and an accurate floor profile calculation based on advanced calculations.
Hastings Deering, the regions Cat dealer, will deliver the machine to the North Goonyella coal mine midway through 2019. From there Hastings will also provide technical support during installation and commissioning along with operational support once the machine is up and running.
Peabody Energy’s North Goonyella already utilises a Cat longwall system to mine the deposits premium coking coal. The decision to move to this new system was driven by technological advancements. Overall, this new system provides advanced automation capabilities which; (most importantly) improves safety, improves face management, increases the life of the longwall, reduces coal dilution and enables faster haulage speeds.