By Rudie Boshoff, global director, Lifecycle Management and JoySmart Solutions, Komatsu Mining Corp.

Improved and reliable Longwall connectivity including manpower location monitoring is leading to increases in safety, production and productivity. The use of data analytics to focus on essential operational parameters that directly determine outcomes has been shown to improve both output and operating hours and, in some cases, prevent severe and sometimes devastating stoppages in longwall performance.

The paper will review the use of predictive analytics in reducing or eliminating unplanned downtime and explain how it is now an essential tool in running a lean longwall operation capable of fully utilizing the information available from today’s sensors and operating systems.

The parallel introduction of Personal Proximity Detection (PPD) on longwall faces, certified to SIL 1 (Safety Integrity Level), enables the longwall powered roof support control system, known as Joy Faceboss, to locate and monitor the position of every operator on the longwall face to within +/- one roof support. Each individual entering the longwall wears a personal Tag on their belt which transmits radio (RFID) signals. These signals are detected by the Faceboss Mimic control system providing protection against automated advancing of longwall roof supports. Information on personnel movements can be monitored at a surface station and the system is set to allow automated operator registration.

Smart, connected products, including the shearer, roof supports, pump station, AFC and BSL deliver data directly to remote JoySmart service centers where experts, in partnership with the end users, provide analysis, filtering the multitude of data and give only essential information and direct recommendations for longwall parameters, longwall operations, anticipating service needs and optimizing of machine and powered roof support performance.

This paper will show, through an actual case study, highlights of how end users have used analytics to improve their systems and operating processes thereby reducing downtime, simplifying processes, ensuring correct support loads into the roof and delivering improved performance and equipment life.