New sensors for machine automation

Brand new proven radar sensor solutions are now available from indurad – The Industrial Radar Co. indurad in association with RWTH Aachen University have been developing this radar for operator assistance and automation purposes in mining. It fully complies with international standards. indurad Executive Director Reik Winkel reports to International Mining: “With one sensor we scan surfaces and obstacles 15 times per second at a distance of up to 200 m. Our field tests demonstrated a range accuracy of up to 5 cm and an angular resolution of 0.1°.” Besides the 17° surface scan indurad also provides a 60° collision avoidance scan.

The high resolution radar is currently serving an Eickhoff SL750 shearer loader with an anti-collision and ranging arm automation system operating in a German coal mine. Eickhoff has developed a tough flameproof enclosure which is certified by Germany’s mine authorities for use in underground coal mines as well as for other explosion-hazardous areas. In a second project at an RWE Power open pit coal mine there is an array of five radar sensors with a total 95° observing angle installed on a bucket wheel excavator. The objective is to develop excavation automation, anti collision and process control for the 500 Mt. of coal and overburden extracted each year. This radar system is suited for continuous, semi-mobile and discontinuous open pit equipment as well as for all kinds of underground mining machines.

The indurad radar is based on cutting-edge 77GHz automotive radar hardware combined with sophisticated mining software including special signal processing. It can easily be integrated in mining environments with tailor-made data filters and individually defined red, yellow and green anti collision zones. The included industrial PC or SPS offers various communication channels to other machines on industrial Ethernet or ProfiBus.

Winkel says: “This radar system is the key piece in the puzzle to near future concepts of fully automated mining equipment without any operator. It can help trucks automatically follow surface miners in Australia’s iron ore mines or in new semi-continuous underground copper mining concepts in Chile.”

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