Discrete event simulation of a shearer performance for a longwall operation

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Mining Engineering, Turkey

Approval Date: 2018




Coal is an essential part of energy generation worldwide and has a major role in sustainable development. The amount of coal that can be extracted by surface mining is getting less which makes efficient underground mining operations crucial for both local and global economy. Underground coal mining is considered as a risky industry with a requirement of high amount of equipment investment. The majority of the investment in underground coal mines is generally related with the capital cost of initial equipment expenses. Therefore, equipment investment in underground coal mines can be considered as a decision making process that is not repeated frequently. This situation makes the selection of the mining equipment is an important decision and so, it is one of the most critical engineering judgement practices in underground coal mining activities. In addition to this, engineering judgement processes in mining are not restricted with the selection of the mining equipment. The majority of the operational decisions starts after the establishment of the mining system. One of the main engineering goals in an established system is increasing the efficiency by minor or major changes in the system. For this, effect of each factor on the system performance should be investigated. The objective of this study is to examine the shearer performance for a longwall mine by discrete event simulation that includes modelling of the double-drum shearer, belt conveyors, stage loader, and armoured face conveyor (AFC) and as a result, to determine the most influential factor on production in the mining operations. In the study, the model is developed for the longwall top coal caving method (LTCC) having bi-directional cutting system. The underground mining system is modelled in Underground Coal Talpac® Software, and Arena® Simulation Software. The model is verified and validated by real operational data collected from an underground longwall coal mining operation in Turkey. 20 different scenarios were assessed in the model and duration of the shearer delay was the most influential factor in the system. Findings from the model revealed that daily coal production on the longwall face is 726.73 t/day and shearer utilization is 89.07 min/day in average. In addition, the model showed that when duration of the shearer delays is decreased to 80% of the actual situation, daily coal production on the longwall face, and shearer utilization could increase as much as 162.03 t/day and 19.58 min/day, respectively.