HORIZON SENSING

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With the aid of a DOE grant (No. DE-FC26-01NT41050), Stolar Research Corporation (Stolar) developed the Horizon Sensor (HS) to distinguish between the different layers of a coal seam. Mounted on mining machine cutter drums, HS units can detect or sense the horizon between the coal seam and the roof and floor rock, providing the opportunity to accurately mine the section of the seam most desired. HS also enables accurate cutting of minimum height if that is the operator's objective. Often when cutting is done out-of-seam, the head-positioning function facilitates a fixed mining height to minimize dilution. With this technology, miners ... continued below

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166 pages

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Stolarczyk, Larry G. March 18, 2003.

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Description

With the aid of a DOE grant (No. DE-FC26-01NT41050), Stolar Research Corporation (Stolar) developed the Horizon Sensor (HS) to distinguish between the different layers of a coal seam. Mounted on mining machine cutter drums, HS units can detect or sense the horizon between the coal seam and the roof and floor rock, providing the opportunity to accurately mine the section of the seam most desired. HS also enables accurate cutting of minimum height if that is the operator's objective. Often when cutting is done out-of-seam, the head-positioning function facilitates a fixed mining height to minimize dilution. With this technology, miners can still be at a remote location, yet cut only the clean coal, resulting in a much more efficient overall process. The objectives of this project were to demonstrate the feasibility of horizon sensing on mining machines and demonstrate that Horizon Sensing can allow coal to be cut cleaner and more efficiently. Stolar's primary goal was to develop the Horizon Sensor (HS) into an enabling technology for full or partial automation or ''agile mining''. This technical innovation (R&D 100 Award Winner) is quickly demonstrating improvements in productivity and miner safety at several prominent coal mines in the United States. In addition, the HS system can enable the cutting of cleaner coal. Stolar has driven the HS program on the philosophy that cutting cleaner coal means burning cleaner coal. The sensor, located inches from the cutting bits, is based upon the physics principles of a Resonant Microstrip Patch Antenna (RMPA). When it is in proximity of the rock-coal interface, the RMPA impedance varies depending on the thickness of uncut coal. The impedance is measured by the computer-controlled electronics and then sent by radio waves to the mining machine. The worker at the machine can read the data via a Graphical User Interface, displaying a color-coded image of the coal being cut, and direct the machine appropriately. The Horizon Sensor program began development in 1998 and experienced three major design phases. The final version, termed HS-3, was commissioned in 2000 with the assistance of the DOE-Mining Industry of the Future program, commercialized in 2002, and has been used 14 times in 12 different mines within the United States. The Horizon Sensor has applications in both underground and surface mining operations. This technology is primarily used in the coal industry, but is also used to mine trona and potash. All horizon sensor components have Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) (United States) and IEC (International) certification. Horizon Sensing saves energy by maximizing cutting efficiency, cutting only desired material. This desired material is cleaner fuel, therefore reducing pollutants to the atmosphere when burned and burning more efficiently. Extracting only desired material increases productivity by reducing or eliminating the cleaning step after extraction. Additionally, this technology allows for deeper mining, resulting in more material gained from one location. The remote sensing tool allows workers to operate the machinery away from the hazards of cutting coal, including noise, breathing dust and gases, and coal and rock splintering and outbursts. The HS program has primarily revolved around the development of the technology. However, the end goal of the program has always been the commercialization of the technology and only within the last 2 years of the program has this goal been realized. Real-time horizon sensing on mining machines is becoming an industry tool. Detailed monitoring of system function, user experience, and mining benefits is ongoing.

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166 pages

Notes

OSTI as DE00827524

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  • Other Information: PBD: 18 Mar 2003

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: FC26-01NT41050
  • DOI: 10.2172/827524 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 827524
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc782204

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • March 18, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Jan. 3, 2017, 12:40 p.m.

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Stolarczyk, Larry G. HORIZON SENSING, report, March 18, 2003; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782204/: accessed July 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.