In a new research project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and in close collaboration with KRUMMENAUER Anlagenbau GmbH and CAE Software and Systems GmbH, the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) at RWTH Aachen is developing a newly designed smart cutting drum with integrated sensors for real time material recognition during the cutting process. These types of cutting drums are used in longwall mining, coal mining, as well as salt mining and road building.
The objective of the project is to utilize Acoustic Emission technology to equip the cutting drum with sensory perceptions to “hear/feel” vibrations emitted during the cutting process. The signals are analyzed to detect characteristic values in the rock and determine their location. Robust radio transmission technology sends these signals to an external receiver where they are translated into a 3D Matrix of the mine face. This matrix makes it possible for the machine manufacturer to develop a support system either for the machine operator or to develop an entirely automated solution for the direct control of the bracket and the feed where the machine is able to adjust automatically to the conditions at the mine face.
Automation at the mine face is essential to make mining safer as it is still one of the most dangerous places in an underground mine. Therefore, this project contributes to keep personnel away from sources of potential danger while making the cutting process smarter and therefore making the extraction process more efficient.