Hello,everyone.This is Xie Yuan with Xinhua News Agency. I’m standing in front of a blast point at one of China’s largest open mine pits in Shuozhou. In a few minutes there will be a blast in this area. As we can see, the workers are preparing for that.
When thinking about coal production, what comes to mind? The flying dust; the heavy work;or the unfavorable working environment? With the upgrading of the industry, intelligent and even unmanned production is becoming increasingly favored here at the Pingshuo East open Pit mine in northern China. Please follow us to explore this coal mine.
We are now standing in a mine about 200 meters below-ground, and this is Shao Bin, the chief engineer of the mine.
Q：Mr. Shao, please give us a brief introduction to the coal mine.
A：The mine is the largest open-pit mine in Shanxi Province and one of the largest in China. With a mining area about 48 square kilometers, it has identified resources of about 1.8 billion tons, and n annual designed production capacity of 30 million tons.
Q：What are the characteristics of this coal mine?
A: Historically speaking, China Coal Pingshuo Group Co., Ltd. was the first Sino-foreign joint venture since China's reform and opening-up in 1978. We are committed to building a world-class intelligent coal mine.
Q: Energy is an integral part of modern life, but few people know how it is produced. Could you please share with us how coal is converted into electricity?
A: In the case of open-pit mining, after the mining site is determined blasting is carried out, as you have just seen. After the coal seam is stripped and loaded by mining equipment such as electric shovels, the coal will be transported to the power plant for power generation and transmission, and finally reach the power end-stage.
Q: What is this device in the front us?
A: It's a drilling machine. Before blasting, we have to drill into the ground to a depth of about 18 meters, and then fill it with dynamite.
Q: How do you ensure safety?
A: We use thermal imaging equipment to monitor the personnel activity, and only when absolute safety is ensured will we start blasting. Security is much improved compared to the traditional manual inspection.
Q: This machine is very large, what does it do?
A: This is an electric shovel, its main function is to peel and load the coal.
Q: I've never seen such a big machine. It's like a giant Transformer. How tall is it?
A: It's 18 meters high.
Q: That's nearly six stories tall. How much does it weigh?
A: 1200 tons.
Q: 1200 tons, that's incredible. It must be very efficient considering its size.
A:Yes. The capacity of its shovel is about 35 cubic meters, and it can dig about 50 tons of coal per shovel-load. One unit can turn-over 6.5 million cubic meters a year.
Q:Awesome! And what else can we find here?
A: There is a truck over there, and its tire is about two-adults tall.
What is the biggest vehicle you've ever seen? As you can see, I'm about half a tire tall, and I'm 5 '7 ", so it looks like the whole truck is two stories tall. Okay, I'm gonna go check out the cab now.
Q: Hello sir, how tall is the truck?
A: Close to 7 meters.
Q: What is the load capacity of a truck?
A: About 105 cubic meters.
Q: Because it is such a big truck, it doesn’t go very fast, does it?
A: It can travel about 55 kilometers per hour, but to be safe, we usually go about 30 kilometers per hour.
Q:So how many of these trucks do you have?
A: We have 107 trucks. And seven of them are unmanned.
Q:This is amazing. So how does this work?
A: In fact, the traffic situation in the mining area is relatively simple, so it is is one of the important scenarios where autonomous driving technology can be widely used in the future. Let's go check out the control center.
Q: This is the control center. You can see there's a huge screen. What is the function of this center?
A:It monitors the production process, ensures safety and sends out early warning signals.
Q: Can you show us?
A: On the comprehensive display page, you can see the real-time location of each facility in the mine pit, the operation scenario, the daily output, the weather, along with other information.
On the production command page, you can monitor the operation of each piece of equipment, and tell the maintenance personnel in time if there is a failure to ensure the overall work efficiency.
You can also monitor and issue a warning for blasting or landslides.
Q: You just mentioned the driverless technology of trucks, how is this achieved?
A: We hired a team to install cameras, radar, chips and other automatic driving equipment on the truck. Under normal circumstances, only one security officer is required to remotely monitor the truck.
Q: What are the advantages of autonomous driving?
A: The trucks had to stop for personnel rotation before, but now they can run 24 hours.
Q: What other intelligent devices do you have here?
A: Look at this video-game like device. This is remote-controlled intelligent system for the electric shovel. It allows the driver to display the mining scene in real time through the high-definition screen in the clean and bright remote driving room, control the WK-35 electric shovel mining loading truck several kilometers away, and complete a mining cycle in half a minute. This allows drivers to say goodbye to the dusty working conditions.
Similarly,there is the automatic drilling rig system. Through the remote control of 5G technology and the intelligent automatic operation control based on environmental awareness technology, the on-site unmanned management of the rig production process is realized. The failure rate of unmanned drilling rigs decreased by 65%, while the overall operating efficiency improved by about 10% per month. In the near future, one person will be able to control three drilling rigs.
With the continuous progress of China's technology, more and more traditional industries such as coal mining are also accelerating the promotion of intelligent and unmanned technology, significantly contributing to the country's "dual carbon" goal.That's all for today’s Xinhua live, I'm Xinhua correspondent Xie Yuan, see you next time!