Digital Open-Pit Mining with RWE Power

  • Energy and Mining

RWE Power AG is responsible within the RWE Group for electricity generation from lignite, hydropower, and nuclear power. The power plants operated by RWE contribute a total capacity of around 16 gigawatts to the grid.

RWE Power AG operates three lignite open-pit mines in the Rhineland region. These primarily serve to supply their own power plants; however, the extracted lignite is also processed into solid fuels and refined into filter materials.

In what is Europe’s largest lignite mining area covering 130 square kilometers with an annual extraction capacity of approximately 90 million tons, 19 excavation machines and 17 dumpers operate around the clock. The conveyor systems for material transport have a total length of 260 kilometers, and about 20 coal trains transport the coal to their destinations.

Processes in the open-pit mines are already highly digitized today. One significant system is named SAMABUESA, which was developed jointly with RWE Power AG. The core functions of the system include:


A 3D representation of the mining model, updated in real-time


Satellite-assisted, highly precise positioning of excavation and dumping equipment


Seamless real-time tracking of the entire material flow

The SAMABUESA system now serves as the basis for effective and efficient planning, flexible production, high productivity, and meeting ever-growing quality standards. The system’s functionality is continuously expanded, adapted, and optimized to meet current requirements.

For continuous 24-hour production operations, SAMABUESA places highest demands, particularly in the following areas:

  • Availability
  • Fault tolerance
  • Handling large volumes of data from site and terrain information
  • Expandability
  • Maintainability

Integrating the SAMABUESA system into an existing, complex IT infrastructure with a network of distributed systems was a necessity.

For several years, Macrix GmbH has been a competent and reliable partner for RWE Power AG in the development of SAMABUESA. Macrix GmbH is responsible for IT design, integrating solutions into the existing IT infrastructure, translating production requirements into software solutions, software development, commissioning the created software, and providing support.

SAMABUESA is further developed collaboratively by a team consisting of representatives from production, the technical department, and experts from Macrix GmbH using the SCRUM method.

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