Wednesday, 22 October 2008
INBYE Mining Services has signed a worldwide
licensing agreement for CSIRO’s automation technology,
enabling it to be one of the first original equipment manufacturers
to commercialise the technology underground next year at
Vale’s new Carborough Downs longwall in Queensland.
From left to right:
Guy Mitchell, CSIRO's Dr David Reid, Inbye's Richard Eveleigh and
Carborough Downs' Andy Miffilin.
& Mining's Dr David Reid with Inbye Mining Services Managing
Director, Richard Eveleigh. Photo, Dynamic Images.
agreement was signed by Inbye managing director Richard Eveleigh
who told International Longwall News the technology was key to the OEM’s success at Carborough
– its first complete longwall contract.
“We intend to hit the ground running,” Eveleigh said.
“A primary goal of our team is to remain faithful to the open
architecture of CSIRO’s system.
“This will ensure interconnectivity of equipment without
communication protocol converters, a vital requirement in markets
where single-sourcing of equipment is not so prevalent.”
When Inbye tendered for the Carborough Downs contract part of the
specifications was for its equipment to be LASC compatible. Since
winning the contract it has worked closely with the mine and CSIRO
to ensure Carborough’s longwall ramps up with LASC enabled.
Carborough Downs project manager Andy Mifflin told ILN it
was important for Vale from the project’s beginning that LASC
automation was incorporated so the miner could put systems and
processes in place that would allow the “longwall to look
after itself”, especially given the tight skilled labour
He said Inbye’s fresh outlook as a new longwall OEM allowed
the two parties to start with a “blank sheet of paper”
and work together from the beginning pulling the whole package
Mifflin said Vale’s expertise would also be used, with the
Brazilian mining giant already having its own automation centre in Brazil.
Currently an automation team from head office is already in Australia
looking at the Integra open cut.
“We will also have our own automation engineer onsite,”
“Automation is too important not to be able to [provide a
solution] quickly if there is a problem. We will be offering
24-hour support to the longwall crew.”
For Inbye, the licence will give it the ability to offer and enable
LASC on future tenders.
“This is a wonderful example of Australian developed
technology being used to help build an Australian company,”
CSIRO business development director Tim McLennan said.
Eveleigh said Inbye’s Polish partner, Kopex, which supplies
the shields for the Carborough contract, intended to sign its own
licensing agreement with CSIRO to enable it to bring the technology
to its traditional markets.
LASC Longwall Automation was developed by CSIRO Exploration &
Mining with funding from the Australian Coal Association Research
Inbye is the second OEM to sign the non-exclusive licence with
CSIRO, with Joy Mining Machinery being the first last week.
Pre-commercial prototypes of the technology have been operating at
three Australian mines – Beltana, Broadmeadow and Grasstree.
The principal components of the LASC automation system include face
alignment, horizon control, communications and operator interface,
and information systems.
“As the technology is incorporated into mines, it will
improve productivity and provide a safer working
environment,” said ACARP executive director Mark Bennetts.
“For ACARP, it is an ideal outcome, resulting from extensive
and close cooperation between CSIRO, industry and manufacturers.
“The technology positions the Australian coal industry
ideally for the future, in that it will not only boost
productivity, but also make better use of valuable human resources
and increase overall competitiveness.”
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