RWE's lignite extraction in the Rhenish mining area deploys ultra-modern technologies. For example, our bucket wheel excavators are satellite-controlled to ensure precise steering and tracking of such large-scale equipment. This helps exploits further potentials in lignite mining. If we are to reach the valuable coal, overburden, too, must be shifted. The more precise the information we have about the location of the boundary planes, the lower the cutting losses in selective mining of the natural resource. So we not only make better use of the deposits, but spare resources as well.
Other projects concern the further developments in monitoring the many kilometre-long conveyor belts by sensors. The long-term aim is a link-up of the process-data systems, some of which are still installed on a decentralized basis, to form a unitary information network for the entire materials-handling process. This will enable RWE to derive an availability forecast based on the continuous analysis of all materials-handling systems, so that deployment and maintenance can be optimized.