Remote monitoring specialist Omniflex and engineering firm AMOG Consulting have received new funding from industry growth centre METS Ignited that will could accelerate the commercialisation of the companies’ Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) oversize detection instrumentation for the global mining industry.
The award is part of a METS Ignited A$2.5 million ($1.8 million) funding initiative that also saw Safescape, ZERO Automotive, MyPass Global, Universal Field Robots and 3ME Technology awarded funding.
“Mines often operate by blasting mine and pit faces with explosives, producing rubble of various shapes and sizes, from small pebbles to metre-wide boulders,” Omniflex said. “This is then loaded onto large haul trucks and transported to an ore crusher. When oversized rubble reaches the crusher, it can block and damage it, halting production while blockages are removed, or parts are replaced.”
Omniflex and AMOG have collaboratively developed IIoT instrumentation to boost oversize detection capabilities for the global mining industry. The system uses sensors to detect the size of ore rubble as it is loaded into haul trucks to be carried from the blast site to the crushing plant, Omniflex explained. This information is wirelessly communicated in real time to the driver, mine operations and/or remote data storage for later analysis.
David Celine, Managing Director of Omniflex, said: “The sensors, designed jointly by AMOG and Omniflex, detect signals onboard the truck as ore is dumped into the tray. The data is processed using machine-learning techniques to estimate the size of the rocks as they are dumped into the truck. This information is then communicated wirelessly through a gateway on the haul truck to the driver and to mine operations to notify them of the oversize ore load before the truck departs after being loaded.
“The technology has demonstrated a detection accuracy of above 80%, which is a vast improvement on common detection methods that are estimated to be less than 5% accurate. Notably, the technology does not rely on visual detection or cameras and so works in almost all conditions. It is also simple to retrofit and is expandable to numerous other high value applications.”
The initial technology creation was possible thanks to METS Ignited Collaborative Project funds. Based on the success of the first pilot projects, this new project aims to accelerate the scaling up of the business to meet global industry demand. This includes expanding production, testing capabilities, certification, enabling rapid adoption of this innovative digital technology.
In six years of operation as a government-funded industry growth centre, METS Ignited has invested more than A$13 million in 26 projects, with over 60 industry participants.