Sandvik says it has released a new solution that will allow automated underground trucks to continue seamlessly through ramp portals to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.
Having offered a sneak peek of this product at the Digitalization in Mining event in Brisbane, Australia, in December, the company has now gone public with the launch.
AutoMine® for Trucks is a first for autonomous ramp haulage applications in the underground mining industry, providing autonomous truck haulage not only in underground environments but also now on the surface, according to the company. “It turns Sandvik’s intelligent mining trucks into unmanned robots; robots that keep running,” Sandvik said.
For many years, mining operations across the world have benefitted from Sandvik’s intelligent AutoMine systems for autonomous and unmanned truck haulage. “They help to reduce equipment damage, repair work and add the highest levels of efficiency and fleet utilisation, giving a lower cost per tonne,” the company says. They are scalable for different mining applications and can be supervised from remote locations.
Riku Pulli, Vice President, BU Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Continuously setting the industry standard, we have now developed the industry-first, fully autonomous underground trucks that can operate in mining levels and mine declines including both underground and surface sections. These trucks are set to revolutionise the mining industry, bringing significant improvements in mine’s productivity and safety.”
A key requirement for an autonomous ramp haulage application is to enable the capability for trucks to operate autonomously not only underground but also on the surface. With this product release, Sandvik has unlocked this capability for its customers, it says.
The different elements of the newly added capabilities have been tested at many of mine sites with existing experience of AutoMine for Trucks, a Sandvik spokesperson confirmed.
A core innovation behind the new capability is the smart handover technology that allows trucks to switch from underground to surface navigation mode in real time. This allows trucks to continue through the ramp portal seamlessly to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.
AutoMine also connects directly to Sandvik OptiMine®, enabling production planning and automatic dispatching of tasks to AutoMine for production execution, according to Sandvik. The progress of production tasks is reported back to OptiMine giving mines real-time visibility of their automated and manual operations and enabling them to make informed decisions on their operation.
Other benefits of OptiMine include equipment and people location tracking, 3D mine visualisation and predictive analytics to transform data into actionable insights. Integration with My Sandvik Productivity allows mines to keep track of their trucks’ condition and know the real-time status of the fleet, the company says.