Numerical Simulation of Cable Shovel Resistive Forces in Oil Sands Excavation


The cable shovel is an important primary excavator in surface mining operations. The production function of this shovel becomes more critical in the Athabasca oil sands formation with little or no pre-production blasting. The random occurrence of shales, dolomites and limestones in this formation causes a high digging resistance, mechanical wear, tear and failure, resulting in high maintenance costs. Research is currently underway to develop an intelligent navigation technology to provide smart shovel excavation in this formation. This paper contributes to this research by developing a numerical simulation model for determining the resistive force on a shovel dipper during excavation. The spatial dynamics of the dipper geometry and the loaded material weight are modelled using ordinary differential equations and solved using the Runge - Kutta algorithm. Numerical simulation results show that the depth of cut increases with an increase in crowd arm extension speed and a decrease in hoist rope retraction speed. The results also show that the dipper digging and loading rate is proportional to the speed of crowd arm extension and hoist rope retraction. For a constant hoist rope retraction speed, the optimum dipper trajectory is defined for crowd arm extension speeds and vice versa. Also, the digging time for crowd arm extension and hoist rope retraction speeds sampled from a uniform distribution between 0.15 and 0.35 m/s follows a triangular distribution with minimum 6.12 s, mode 7.26 s and maximum 13.7 s. Using these results, production engineers can parameterize shovel excavation schemes for optimum production performance.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Cable Shovel Excavation; Digging Time Characterization; Geometric Modelling; Numerical Simulation

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2006 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2006