Dragline operations in Australia are becoming deeper and more complex. The design of dragline strips and detailed excavation sequences will require greater engineering input if the productivity and cost effectiveness of dragline stripping is to be maintained or improved.
In the past, increased rates of overburden removal have resulted from improvements to the electric, mechanical and structural components of draglines to increase their availability and reduce their average excavation cycle time. Little attention has been focused on improving the design and implementation of the detailed excavation sequence. As a result, the dragline engineer and operator have very few tools available to guide detailed operating decisions.
This thesis examines the potential for improving the detailed design and implementation through the monitoring and modelling of actual dragline operations. The principle research focus of this thesis is measuring and simulating dragline positioning strategies and detailed excavation sequences to assess this potential.
A method is developed to monitor and analyse detailed excavation practices. This involved:
• monitoring actual dragline positions and block topographies to produce a multidimensional excavation map
• simulating the actual excavation procedure on a scale model
• simulating the actual excavation procedure using a computer model.
The conclusions of this thesis identify the dragline-operator interface and the block design procedure as areas offering significant potential for improved performance. A system utilising Global Positioning Systems, commercial dragline monitor data, and real time photogrammetry is proposed to improve the dragline-operator interface. Computer and scale modelling show substantial potential for improving the design of operations and to assist in the training of dragline operators and engineers.