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A study of electric rope shovel digging effort and behaviour for diggability assessment in open pit mines Babaei Khorzoughi, Mohammad


Improving the drilling and blasting practice in open-pit mines is one of the ways to enhance the economics of a mining operation. Diggability assessment is currently considered as a way to provide feedback on blast quality; however, there is no universally accepted approach to evaluate diggability. This research focused on the performance monitoring of electric rope shovels in open pit operations for understanding and modeling the influences on the digging as well as for measuring diggability. The effect of digging conditions as well as operator practice and skills on shovel performance was studied. Also, the relationship between digging conditions and vibrations experienced by the machine was investigated. Based on the knowledge gained through shovel performance monitoring, two approaches (electrical and mechanical) that build upon previous work were developed to first isolate the dig phase and then to calculate a diggability index per pass. The diggability was defined as the resistance of materials to digging and was estimated based on the energy analysis of shovels during digging. It was found that the proposed index is able to distinguish between different digging conditions. Additionally, it was found that there is a relationship between the amount of vibration experienced by the machine and the digging conditions. A classification approach was developed and presented to compare the digging productivity of different shovel operators. The proposed diggability index has been deployed on a fleet of shovels at a mine and the diggability values are recorded on a real-time basis in a SQL database.

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