A data acquisition system for geotechnical instrumentation and design

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 956, 1992

E.M. De Souza, Department of Mining Engineering, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

The mining industry has developed a strong need for monitoring underground openings since bulk mining, used for increased productivity, has become the dominant mining method industry wide. The large stapes associated with bulk mining methods generally have to remain open and stable for several months, and monitoring is essential to provide an indication of ground response to mining and stope stability. The instrumentation data is also important during design optimization, which is used to maximize recovery, to minimize the dilution of ore and to minimize costs. Monitoring is essential to implement safety and is also critical in stope and mining sequence designs. The safety related aspects of monitoring include the protection of underground workers and the prevention of accidents by providing early warnings of the onset of any ground instability. The design related aspects of monitoring involve the development of data bases used for stope dimensioning and mine sequencing and timing and the monitoring of ground behaviour as a result of mining to verify the validity of the design thus allowing for remedial action during operation. Manual instrumentation data collection is, in a number of cases, economically unfeasible and, in many situations, dangerous as instrumented areas become inaccessible or extremely unstable. Also, because more and more complex instrumentation is being installed in underground operations, in several cases it becomes practically impossible to collect readings manually. The design and development of low-cost acquisition systems for mine wide monitoring would thus constitute an important step toward automation in excavation instrumentation. A unique menu-driven automatic 32-channel analog data acquisition and analysis system with a built-in rock failure warning mechanism has been designed and developed. This low cost acquisition system is capable of receiving, processing, displaying and storing the transmitted instrument data remotely and automatically. Computer software has been designed to provide data reduction and analysis immediately in the field and to automatically display results in graphical form for quick interpretation. Automatic data interpretation is used to show trends in rock mass behaviour and the system can be used to provide early warning of rock failure to the mine personnel working in the area so that immediate remedial action can be safely taken.
Mots Clés: Data acquisition system, Computer applications, Rock mechanics, Geotechnical instrumentation.