Evaluation of robot technologies for deep level mining applications
The original publication is available at http://www.isem.org.za/index.php/isem/isem2011.
Conference of the ISEM 2011 Proceedings, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 21 - 23 September 2011.
Conference theme - Innovative Systems Thinking: Unravelling Complexity for Successful Solutions.
Mining starts with the extraction of effortless resources, but quickly progresses to more complex situations. As the mining depth increase the technical challenges and difficulty to retrieve resources rises. The future deep-level mining environment is considered too immense a risk for human labour. Therefore, robot technology is considered as an alternative. This imposes the need to develop and improve current mining technology and equipment. This study evaluates robot technologies for deep level mining applications. Firstly, the constraints of robots associated in deep-level mining environments are identified. Thereafter, various existing robot technologies are analyzed to categorize functional attributes of each robot. These were assessed with regard to the constraints, establishing a basis for selection of a feasible robot technology platform. Recommendations are made on how to improve the existing robot technology to compensate for specific conditions. It is concluded that it is vital to improve existing robot technologies in order to mine at deeper levels. In collaboration with technology- and mining companies a mechanized mining concept was developed from these evaluations.