Normet’s Charmec Revo remote controlled charging takes the operator away from the face

Normet has introduced its latest innovation in improving operator safety underground – Charmec Revo – which it describes as a revolution in underground explosives charging. The system involves a remote-controlled robotic arm which places the initiating system into the borehole and, in conjunction with the emulsion kit, dispenses emulsion, allowing the operator to remain in a supported tunnel area away from the danger zone.

Explosives charging is one of the most hazardous work processes in modern underground mining. Easily available ore deposits are depleting – forcing mining companies to go deeper underground where risks of rockfalls and rock burst accidents are increasing. Normet states: “The only tangible way to improve operator safety is to remove the operator from the high exposure danger zone, meaning the unsupported area of the tunnel – like Charmec Revo does.”

The system is developed for tunnels from 4 x 4 m up to 6 x 6 m, which covers most of the underground mining tunnels. The charging manipulator consists of an in–house developed servo-robotic arm with extremely agile movements – built robustly to fulfil the needs of underground mining conditions.

Drilled borehole maps from the drill rigs can be uploaded to the system to locate the boreholes in the face wall, when a machine vision system, fully developed by Normet, guides charging hose automatically to the drilled boreholes. If the map is not available, the machine vision helps the operator to locate the boreholes. Once the borehole is found, the charging hose delivery system will take care of the priming unit and explosive delivery to the borehole.

The system uses collision free path planning to define the safest route for the arm during the operation. If an obstacle or operator appears in the arm’s operating area, the arm slows down and stops its movement before contact.

The Charmec Revo system can be adapted to use any commercially available wired, semi-wireless or wireless initiating systems. The priming unit can be handled manually or by magazines provided by explosives suppliers. The initiating system magazine is placed on the platform next to the charging arm, enabling priming unit’s unique pick and deliver –method to be deployed.

The Charmec Revo platform is the latest generation front cabin carrier available with either the latest diesel engine emission rating or SmartDrive battery-electric architecture with zero local emissions. The load capacity of Charmec Revo is 6,000 kg, meaning up to 4,000 kg matrix capacity can be mounted safely onto the rear platform away from the hot surfaces. A large bulk tank capacity reduces the need for back and forth driving between charging sites and the explosives warehouse, which increases productivity significantly and helps to keep the charging machine in good condition. As with initiating systems, Charmec Revo can be used with all commercial bulk emulsion systems.

“We have extensively tested the Charmec Revo technology in underground mining and it has demonstrated its ability to improve operational safety while retaining similar productivity. Ease of use and low learning curve ensure effortless implementation of this technology” says Anssi Mykkänen, Normet Product Line Director of Explosives Charging.

The technological development of this project has been part of the IMOCO4.E project. This project has received funding from the ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU) under Grant Agreement No 101007311. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, Latvia, Portugal, Germany, Finland, Romania and Switzerland.