System overview

The Longwall 3D Visualizer is a high-fidelity 3D graphics system which will allow the user to virtually navigate the complete longwall face while the system is in production. This is not a 3D Simulator. The 3D Visualizer augments the longwall equipment and utilizes live data from the equipment underground to show equipment operation in real-time. Major visualized system components include: powered roof supports (PRS), armored face conveyor (AFC), stage loader (BSL), crusher, bootend/tailpiece and shearer. Along with the various pieces of equipment, the visualizer will also include views of the main gate and tail gate ends.

Mine personnel and executives will have remote access to the longwall operation through portable devices giving them unprecedented abilities to monitor the system at any time.

Collecting the data (communications)

Each of the longwall shearer, PRS, and AFC control system utilizes the Faceboss control system to manage critical machine functions and interface with various control modules on the longwall face. The Faceboss control systems communicate with each other and the other longwall control systems through redundant high-speed fiber and wireless communication networks. The typical data collected from each machine includes at least:

  • Current position on the face
  • Haulage direction and speed
  • Vertical height of each cutting drum
  • Position of each cowl blade
  • Pitch and roll angle of the chassis
  • Elevation of the shearer
  • Roof support advance position
  • Position of each sprag
  • Pitch and roll angle of each support
  • Pitch and roll angle of each support for the base
  • Power usage and load sharing
  • AFC and BSL chain tension control
  • TTT/VFD operation
  • BSL and crusher status
  • Tailpiece status

Visualization of the data

An easy to use interface will allow customized views of the longwall system from any angle. The visualizer tool provides the ability to select specific data points on key pieces of equipment and have them displayed in real time. The interface is customizable to meet the specific needs of the user. Data points are color coded by function and can be organized on the visualizer. This will allow system operators to make better informed decisions improving the overall productivity of the system.

Complete equipment customization

The longwall visualization tool uses the same CAD modeling data that was used to design and manufacture your original equipment to fully replicate the equipment operating in your mine. This will allow operators to rapidly become familiar with key components and operation of the longwall.

Training tool

Longwall visualization also allows for mining companies to provide training to operators in a safe environment that fully visualizes and enhances in 3D the equipment and conditions in which they will be working. Trainees get exposure to the complexities in the operation of the various systems without any impact on productivity or damage to equipment, resulting in trainees who are better prepared to make decisions in an operating environment.

Record and playback ability

The visualization system offers full record and play back capabilities in 3D allowing operators to review and analyze historical data in order to improve productivity and help identify best practices. This replay feature allows the user to select a specific date and time range to replay.

Interface/compatibility with proximity detection

Our longwall visualization system is fully compatible with our longwall proximity detection system allowing system users to not only see the equipment in operation but the location of the operators as well.

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