The functions of the crawler for mining and driving are all remotely controlled from the control computers on the ship. Various sensors allow comprehensive monitoring of the performance of the crawler. The crawler computer is based on PC/04 modules in collection with a standard industrial field bus system (Interbus) for data acquisition and control. The software used in the sand mining system consists of the process visualisation software in the control room, the control software for development and implementation of the main control program, and the operating systems of the crawler computer and the control computers.
In the beginning of 199 &, the "Institut für Konstruktion Siegen", Germany (IKS) and the National Institute of Ocean Technology, India (NIOT) entered into a joint collaborative programme for the development of technology in the field of deep-sea mining. The programme is divided into three phases. During the first phase of the project, the development, realisation and demonstration of a system for sand mining from water depths up to 500 meters was carried out. For that, a crawler with rubber tracks, which was developed, built and tested at IKS (Schwarz et al., 1992; Rehorn, 1994), was equipped with a manipulator, a cutting device, a flexible riser system with pump and a suitably developed instrumentation and control system. The hydraulic system of the crawler was adapted according to the requirements of the first project phase. The first project phase has been completed successfully in the end of the year 2000. The purpose of this paper is to give an idea of the functions and components of the control system of the sand mining system including detailed technical information. The intention of the authors is to form a basis for discussion with other experts working in the field of sub sea instrumentation and control.