Longwall Automation

Are you experiencing the benefits?

Achieving Real Benefits from Longwall Automation

Cat® automated longwall systems are operated in some of the world’s most productive underground mines. Running up to 98% of their production time in automation mode, they're setting production records in all regions, around the world.

Get a high-level overview of the various Cat longwall automation solutions offered to the longwall mining industry to improve safety, productivity and efficiency.  These include powerful hardware like the Cat family of programmable mining controls, and intelligent software suites for health condition monitoring, personnel proximity detection, remote control, and equipment navigation with face alignment and extraction and horizon control.

See the Overview (6:20)

White Paper: Efficient Mining of High Longwall Seams Thru Automation of Longwall Top Coal Caving

Longwall mining is an expensive undertaking – from the preparation of the site to capital investment in the equipment. That is why longwall owners have high performance expectations, especially in tough economic times when commodity prices are low. Read a whitepaper highlighting one of the ways longwall mines achieve or exceed expectations, through the use of highly efficient Longwall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) technology production, in combination with the extensive use of automation.

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Take a Look at the Complete System

Putting a complete longwall system from Caterpillar to work has proven to be the best solution for the mines in Australia, where coal seams are thick and production demands require high capacity shearers like the Cat® EL3000.

Take a look at the key components of Cat® longwall systems, the main features, and the state-of-the-art automation hardware and software which offers the needed functionality for enhanced control of the whole system.

Discover the Components of a Complete Cat® System
Discover the Benefits That Come With a Complete Longwall System


Automation can increase the speeds at which the shearer moves across the face. One mine was consistently improving this by 20% - moving the needle from 56 minute passes down to 44 minutes. At the end of the week, they had increased the number of passes from 68 to 91. With automation, you can record the perfect pass then duplicate this shearer configuration for as long as the geology stays consistent – we call this memory cut.

Further more, our more advanced technology packages make possible horizon control, extraction control and face alignment. Extraction control allows the machine to follow defined floor and roof profiles along the face, better following any given coal seam undulations for optimal extraction and production. At the same time, horizon control guides the machine to follow the seam undulations in the direction of advance. Face alignment keeps the face straight for consistent production and minimal wear of the conveyor system.

With automation controlling the shearer, conveyor, roof supports and beam stage loader, the mines in Australia saw benefits in increased wear life for the conveyor flights, shear pins and dog bones (conveyor connectors). Mechanical availability was elevated from 91% to 96.5% with a reduction in parts usages.

Operate Faster & Smarter: Shear More
Discover Longwall Automation Benefits





Safety is the most compelling reason to research automation if you don’t already use it. Automation allows for one operator at the cutting face instead of two, and that one operator can stay inbye or on the fresh air side of the face. A camera system and health monitoring of the Cat shearer allow the operator to stay off the face more often; out of the dust, noise and hazard areas. In addition, the Cat Quad Lighting System can pin point where a problem is cropping up and at which roof support.

This paper details the use of Cat® Detect Personnel for Longwall, addressing a critical aspect of safety in longwall automation.

Keep Your Operators Safe
Cat Detect Personnel for Longwall Brochure - Underground Mining / Longwall Automation / Safety

Success Story: Russian Longwall Mine Sets Production Record

With the help of a specially tailored Cat® Longwall System and Longwall Automation, the Russian Yalevskogo mine operated by the Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) recently surpassed the national monthly coal production record. The mine produced 1,407.30 metric tonnes of raw coal from one single longwall face (seam No. 50) in May 2017 to set an all-time record, exceeding the national record of 1,050,452 tonnes that it set in August 2016.

Learn How Longwall Automation Made It Possible
Russian Longwall Mine Sets Monthly Production Record With Help From Cat Longwall System and Automation
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