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A Smart Disc Cutter Monitoring System Using Cutter Instrumentation Technology

In mechanized tunneling, continuous information from the excavation face is essential. The ultimate goals of cutter instrumentation are to monitor real-time individual cutter operation, acquire more realistic cutterhead thrust force values, and gain a better knowledge of the geology in front of the cutterhead. Analysis of this information can provide in-depth knowledge of machine excavation. Information about cutter operation has direct and indirect advantages: It helps better predict and monitor cutter usage rates, and it can reduce the cost of unplanned cutter or ring replacement, which can result in a better planning of inventory, manpower, and cutter rebuild requirements.

Current disc cutter instrumentation technology is designed to be a conveniently mounted instrumentation package that monitors individual cutter rpm, wear, temperature, and vibration. A data logger service receives the cutter information wirelessly using low-power radio technology and displays cutter conditions in real time. With cutter instrumentation, the operator continuously monitors cutter conditions, which results in higher efficiency, lower incidence of down time, and prevents unexpected ring wear-related damage from causing further damage to bearings and hubs. Cutter instrumentation technology has been tested on Robbins’ rock machines and results from previous and recent projects are presented. Design improvements for longer lifetime and increased reliability are discussed.


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