Satellite-controlled equipment deployment
Twenty-one metres high: that is the size of the bucket wheels in our lignite excavators. It is hard to imagine, but a new technology is currently being developed by RWE to enable excavator operatives to steer the gigantic buckets with a precision of down to a few centimetres - and improve the extraction result in the process.
Extraction down to the centimetre
GPS is the buzzword. Antennas attached to the excavator continuously receive signals from the Global Positioning System. They pass on the coordinates as established to a computer where they will in future be matched with a digital map of the deposit and the planned extraction.
The software calculates the position of excavator and bucket wheel in the overburden or lignite seam – and that with a precision of down to a few centimetres. The result is graphically displayed on a screen in the excavator cabin, allowing the operative to check his position and make any necessary corrections.
Increasing economic efficiency
Fine-positioning by GPS offers several advantages in one go: the various overburden layers and the lignite itself can be separated more precisely, and this definitely improves extraction by bucket wheel excavator. So, altogether, the technology enhances the economic efficiency of extraction and, not least, makes the work of the excavator crew easier.