Publications / 2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada

Modules for the Underground Mine

O. Lundhede, O. Pettersson
Pages 168-178 (2013 Proceedings of the 30th ISARC, Montréal, Canada, ISBN 978-1-62993-294-1, ISSN 2413-5844)

Today, systems and machinery usually are designed to meet only one specific customer’s requirements. One reason for this is that underground automation and smart functions are often developed tightly together with a customer. This is natural, since risk and cost can be shared between the customer and the supplier. Nevertheless, when the automation product develops and the market increase this will cause problems: The highly specialized products will not fulfill the next customer’s demands.

In order to cope with this problem, Atlas Copco works towards a common platform. Instead of designing solutions for specific customers, we will lift the abstraction and focus on standardized modules. These modules, or function blocks, can then be combined in a large variety of configurations. The benefits of combining modules into products are, for example: increased flexibility when options are available for many machines; easier commissioning and maintenance since less different spare parts and tools are needed; and easier operation since the user interfaces have a similar look and feel.

This paper will present the ongoing work towards standardized modules. We will discuss how our Rig Control System (RCS) allows for modular design at Atlas Copco. RCS has number of standardized modules that are used in different surface and underground mining and tunneling equipment. These modules are also used for optional products such as, drilling, radio-remote control, and telematics systems.

Keywords: Automation in mining, Robotics