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Automation of Combined Stacker/Reclaimers

Bucket-wheel excavators for combined stacking and reclaiming are efficient in handling bulk materials such as pellets, fine ore, coal and coke. Although the diversity of the bulk material makes the automation very challenging, iSAM was successful in developing the first fully automated, driverless stacker/reclaimer for iron ore and coal handling in the late 1990s. This solution is based on a combination of 3D laser and GPS technology which has already proven itself over 15 years and is today in use also in iSAM automated ship loading and unloading systems.

The highlights of the iSAM solution:


Real-time terrain model of the whole stockyard


Output at least comparable to values that can be achieved in manual mode

zentraler Leitstand

Operation of all stacker/reclaimers from a central control station


Neat representation of the overall stockyard with color-coding for stockpile heights; support for a simple terrain and job planning

The advantages of the system:

  • Significant reduction in personnel costs: One operator in the central control station handles six stacker/reclaimers and two train loading stations
  • Increased productivity as additional scanning runs are no longer required
  • Automated 24/7 operation under virtually any weather conditions
  • No restrictions on storage capacity
  • Very uniform stockpile stacking with a smooth surface and a trapezoidal form
  • Less wear and tear because mechanical performance limits are respected in automated mode
  • Reduced environmental impact by a minimized distance between boom and stockpile
  • Improved working conditions


Europees Massagoed-Overslagbedrijf (EMO) B.V.

the Netherlands

ArcelorMittal Bremen GmbH


Alabama State Port Authority

United States

Vale Malaysia Distribution Center


Corus Strip Products

the Netherlands

Hansaport Hafenbetriebsgesellschaft mbH


Westshore Terminals Limited Partnership




The technology developed by iSAM for the full automation of stacker/reclaimers was sold to the Danish company FLSmidth & Co. A / S with headquarters in Copenhagen in 2012 and has been distributed exclusively by FLSmidth since that.