CompactPCI computers control automated systems in open-cast mining operations.
The objective was clear: a control system on a bucket-wheel excavator for mining lignite, a fossil fuel often known as brown coal, needed to be completely refurbished. Despite widespread skepticism, EWG Automation decided on a comprehensive PC-based automation solution. The system integrators developed an efficient and stable application with products from a number of suppliers. Crunching and grating, bucket wheels the size of a delivery van burrow into the black cliff. In summer the temperature in the operator's cabin, suspended just a few meters away, is almost unbearable. A constant, powerful 5Hz vibration shakes the cabin incessantly. The air in the cabin is thick with fine, black coal dust that deposits itself as a thick greasy layer on sweating skin.