Coal Age

OCT-NOV 2017

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October/November 2017 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. 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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