Coal Age

OCT-NOV 2017

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October/November 2017 www.coalage.com 33 stockpiles continued stockpile volumes for several reasons, foremost of which is cost-savings, Mark Myhra, fuels and logistics coordinator, Great River Energy, said. "Previous to us- ing the drone, our auditors required an- other form of surveying besides the scales, so we had a fixed-wing airplane do a fly- over and send us results, which was very expensive and not very convenient if the weather did not cooperate," he said. "We paid for our drone and software just after a few flights." Drones also save time, and are con- venient to use," Myhra said. "The other alternate we had was to have someone go out with a Topcon stick and shoot points, which was very time-consuming, taking several hours instead of 15 minutes of flying and a few minutes uploading the data," he said. "Pix4D software takes a few hours to run after you hit go, but we usual- ly run it overnight." Third, drone-based models are suf- ficiently accurate, Myhra said. "Our coal stockpile can have a lot of steep slopes if stocking out or reclaiming," he said. This made it difficult to survey accurate- ly. "With the drone, it seems to pick up the sharp edges rather well," Myhra said. "We usually get within a percent of our belt scales." Finally, drones are safe to use. "In the winter the conditions can get very difficult to walk on, so this was found to be a much safer option," Myhra said. "Some months we were not able to complete the survey in the past due to conditions of the stockpile." Once adopted, drone-based volu- metrics prove to be a threshold to other drone-based solutions, he said. "It opened the doors to many other aspects of using a drone on the plant site, such as doing contours, taking construction photos and helping with inspections." November 7-9, 2017 Chicago, IL The premier gathering place that addresses international opportunities and critical challenges in the coke, coal and steel industry today. www.metcokemarkets.com/metcoke-home Great River Energy runs Pix4D software overnight to process drone-captured data. The drone-based volumetrics solution is accurate and saves both time and money, the company reported. (Image: Great River Energy)

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