Coal Age

MAR 2019

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March 2019 41 operating ideas continued sends automatically the new infor- mation to all equipment." Assignments are relayed using the mine map. "This map is active and the operators can see FMS equipment locations," Romero said. The map shows the area where haulers are to dump the material. "The information is the same for both equipment types," Romero said. "Addi- tionally, on the dozer screen, the dozer operator has what trucks are coming to dump and when they are going to arrive," he said. "With this real-time information, the dozer operator knows when he can push the material." Both the onboard software and FMS are equipment brand agnostic. "Hexagon is committed to offering integrated solutions," Romero said. "We know there are a lot of isolated onboard solutions that struggle to share data between equipment." Integrated solutions further two company missions, he said. "What we are doing here makes the process safe and productive," Romero said. Separately, Hexagon Mining re- ported some of the research it is conducting in partnership with the University of Arizona into hyperspec- tral imaging-based solutions could have machine vision and situational awareness applications. Hyperspectral imaging captures the electromagnetic signatures of tar- gets, such as rock faces or stockpiles. The typical scanner captures a continu- ous measurement for a range of bands. For example, it generates a reflectance count for the 10-nanometer band, one for the 20-nanometer band, and so on. A hyperspectral scan could give instant information on the muck pile. Facilitating Double-side Loading Komatsu subsidiary Modular Mining Systems reported its ProVision Guid- ed Spotting System can in some cases increase shovel productivity by more than a third. The system, announced at the So- ciety for Mining Metallurgy & Explo- ration's annual conference in Denver (SME), provides situational awareness to hauler operators trying to back into place at the shovel. It was developed to nix the procedural shortcomings common to the task, Braden Weisheit, global sales manager, machine guid- ance, Modular Mining Systems, told Coal Age. "Traditionally, mines utilize inefficient practices, such as buck- et spotting and single-side loading, which reduce the productivity of shov- els and trucks," he said. The system guides haul truck op- erators without input from the shovel operator. Instead, it uses advanced guidance technologies, high-precision GNSS positioning and proprietary on- board software "to provide centime- ter-level accuracy for truck and shovel operators," Modular reported. It "automatically tracks, collects, captures, stores and utilizes, in re- al-time, all GPS information on the shovel, including the spotting loca- tion," Weisheit said. "The truck sys- tem also collects and utilizes real-time positional information, dynamically providing truck operators with guid- ance to the optimum load location." Two in-cab LED displays provide the information to the operator. When the hauler approaches the shovel, the displays present detailed guidance. The guidance is based on the specs of a "load zone polygon" at the shovel, Weisheit said during a pre- sentation at SME. When the truck breaches the polygon, instructions on maneuvering into the optimal "spot" are generated, he said. "The shovel operator has to set the spot point on each side when they are setting up their position," Weisheit said. "The spot will stay with the shovel for a short amount of time in terms of movement, so there is some leeway given to the shovel to move within that space around some predefined characteristics," he said. "Today, from a safety standpoint, we eliminate a spot automatically if the shovel was to breach either one of those loading zones as it moves, in which case it prompts the operator to reset that spot on either side." The primary tangible deliverable of the system is exact "continuous guidance and navigation informa- tion," Weisheit said. The benefits are numerous and "include reducing shovel hang time, eliminating re-spotting of a truck, and facilitating double-side loading," he said. The system allows the miner to optimize shovel swing angle and load cycle, and to maximize trucking capac- ity by minimizing total truck wait time. Results include improved com- pliance to plans along with poten- tially big gains in productivity, the company reported. In some cases, it can contribute up to eight additional loads per hour. "Dynamically provid- ing truck operators with guidance to the optimum load location without the need for shovel bucket spotting support can increase shovel produc- tivity by up to 34%," Weisheit said. In deployments this year, the sys- tem could be used to guide hauler op- erators dumping at the crusher site. "Because it is a static, fixed dumping point, it is just a matter of surveying in that dump spot," he said. "Once the truck breaches that polygon around the dump point, they receive guidance to get to the exact designated spot." Beyond 2019, the system could be deployed in other applications, Weisheit said. "When we look down the road a little bit further," he said, "we're seeing dozer spotting and get- ting into some of the autonomous technologies, running a manned and an unmanned fleet together, with paddock dumping and planned dumping, and lane guidance and keeping, with that high precision data being captured on the truck through- out the mine wherever they are at." This article was adapted from Level 1 Automation Gains Ground, which was published in the March 2019 edition of Engineering & Mining Journal (E&MJ).

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