Longwall mining is an underground coal mining method that is widely used. A shearer traverses the coal panel to cut coal that falls to a conveyor. Operation of the longwall can benefit from knowledge of the cutting forces at the coal/shearer interface, particularly in detecting pick failures and to determine when the shearer may be cutting outside of the coal seam. It is not possible to reliably measure the cutting forces directly. This paper develops a method to estimate the cutting forces from indirect measurements that are practical to make. The structure of the estimator is an extended Kalman filter with augmented states whose associated dynamics encode the character of the cutting forces. The methodology is demonstrated using a simulation of a longwall shearer and the results suggest this is a viable approach for estimating the cutting forces. The contributions of the paper are a formulation of the problem that includes: the development of a dynamic model of the longwall shearer that is suitable for forcing input estimation, the identification of practicable measurements that could be made for implementation and, by numerical simulation, verification of the efficacy of the approach. Inter alia, the paper illustrates the importance of considering the internal model principle of control theory when designing an augmented-state Kalman filter for input estimation.

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