9 February 2009
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Eickhoff signs up for LASC

EICKHOFF Australia has signed a licensing agreement for CSIRO's LASC automation with plans to deploy the technology in New South Wales by the second quarter of this year.

Eikhoff's John Smallwood (left) and CSIRO's Mike McWilliams (right).
The licensing agreement was signed by Eickhoff Australia managing director John Smallwood and CSIRO Exploration & Mining chief Dr Mike McWilliams.

Developed by CSIRO under funding from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP), the LASC (Longwall Automation Steering Committee) system includes face alignment, horizon control, communications and operator interface, and information systems.

Eikhoff is the third original equipment manufacturer to sign the non-exclusive license following on from deals in October by Joy Mining Machinery and Inbye Mining Services.

Smallwood said the technology will first be deployed on an Eickhoff shearer in NSW and “more will follow very quickly”.

The licensing agreement covers some hardware elements, training, instruction on how the system works and incorporation of the technology into the OEM’s products.

ACARP executive director Mark Bennetts said as the technology was incorporated into more mines, it would make a large contribution to increased productivity and a safer working environment.

McWilliams added an ACARP study of LASC automation suggested that apart from the obvious safety advantage, the reduced downtime realised by incorporating the system into a typical longwall operation would result in production of an additional 435,000 saleable tonnes per year.

“Other benefits include a conservative five per cent increase in cutting rate, scaling up to perhaps 10-15 per cent. These increases go directly to the bottom line, so they are good for exports and good for Australia,” he said.

While Moranbah North (Joy shearer) and Carborough Downs (shearer supplied by Inbye) will be amongst the first longwall mines to take LASC commercial, pre-commercial automation systems have already been proven and found success at Xstrata's Beltana, BMA's Broadmeadow and Anglo’s Grasstree mines.

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- Joy, CSIRO sign global longwall automation deal
- Inbye signs automation deal for Carborough
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