Tag Archives: Automine

Sandvik merges automation, cable electrification and battery tech with Toro LH514BE

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has merged three of its established technologies into one loader with the Toro™ LH514BE. This loader is an AutoMine® compatible cable-electric loader, boosted with battery technology.

The Toro LH514BE, which IM first talked about in 2020, looks like a traditional electric loader while in operation, with a trailing cable connected to the mine electric grid, but the technology is not “ordinary”, Sandvik says.

“When this loader needs to be moved to another area or to the maintenance bay, the difference is clearly visible: the power cable is disconnected from the electric grid,” the company explains. “While the operator drives the loader to the new location, Toro LH514BE gets its power solely from its battery. This battery-assist enables easy relocating and suitability for ramp drive.”

One of the noteworthy features of the new loader is the elimination of refuelling or recharging stops. There is no diesel engine that would require fuelling, and the battery does not need to be swapped because it is recharging during operation.

The loader produces no exhaust emissions and significantly less heat than conventional equipment based on combustion, supporting mines in improving sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions, Sandvik says. As a battery chemistry, the Toro LH514BE uses lithium-iron phosphate chemistry, which, the company says, is a fit-for-purpose choice for underground mining environments.

The Toro LH514BE is available with Sandvik’s automation system AutoMine, which allows a fleet of equipment to be converted into an autonomous production system, providing significant safety and productivity improvements for mine operations. The Toro LH514BE can be delivered with AutoMine, or the system can be easily retrofitted later during the loader’s lifetime.

As standard, the loader features Sandvik’s intelligent control system and a 7-in touchscreen display, providing easy access to data. General battery health and status monitoring data, as well as battery charge information, is also available on the control system diagnostics. As usual in Sandvik’s large loaders, the integrated weighing system option measures payload data and records the results to My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™. The Knowledge Box transfers the data to the My Sandvik internet portal for visualisation of fleet health, productivity and utilisation. The OptiMine® solution can also use transferred data for improving mining process efficiency.

Sandvik enables fully autonomous drill fleet operation with AutoMine AutoCycle

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it is enabling fully autonomous fleet operation of multiple Leopard™ DI650i drill rigs from a remote control room with the launch of AutoMine® Surface Drilling AutoCycle.

The AutoCycle capabilities expand the iDrill automated drilling cycle with autonomous hole-to-hole tramming, path planning, obstacle detection and geofencing.

“With the growing demand for surface drilling automation, we have developed together with key customers our new AutoCycle capabilities to enable fully autonomous fleet operation through the drilling cycle,” David Hallett, Vice President of Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “These capabilities include hole-to-hole tramming without operator involvement for continuous autonomous drilling through the entire pattern. From a control room, an operator can oversee the autonomous operation of multiple surface drill rigs remotely, improving operational safety and increasing productivity and fleet utilisation.”

The Leopard DI650i iDrill automated drilling cycle covers all steps from boom positioning, drilling and pipe handling to finishing the hole, and ensures consistent high-quality drilled holes, according to Sandvik.

AutoMine Surface Drilling with geofencing functionality sets the drilling area where remote operation is allowed. The system prevents movement of the rig outside of the defined area. Autonomous hole-to-hole tramming enables automatic drill rig relocation according to the drill plan, with an operator assigning the hole sequence using a touchscreen interface.

The AutoMine obstacle detection system can automatically stop the rig and interlock tramming in case of detected obstacles in the stop-zone to avoid collision.

“The AutoMine Surface Drilling safety system is made according to international safety standards, providing functionality to operate the autonomous drilling system with peace of mind,” Sandvik said.

AutoMine Surface Drilling AutoCycle, together with iDrill intelligent sequences, increase efficiency and productivity through consistent and accurate performance as well as the operator’s safety and comfort.

AutoMine Surface Drilling offers scalable automation with three remote operation packages:

  • ‘Line-of-Sight’ package is optimised for quick setup when an operator remains close to the drilling area;
  • ‘Control Room’ package includes enhanced features for locating an operator away from the drilling area into a control room; and
  • ‘Autonomous’ package includes all capabilities to enable AutoCycle with a fully autonomous operation for a fleet of Leopard DI650i drill rigs.

Sandvik celebrates 50 years of the Toro load and haul heritage

Sandvik is celebrating the 50th birthday of its renowned Toro™ family of loaders and trucks for underground hard-rock mines.

This name has been recognised for decades, with the bull figure and the word Toro symbolising both a rich history and a promising future, Sandvik says.

The history of the bull at Sandvik dates to September 3, 1971, when the first Toro loader started its engine in Tampere, Finland. It was a Toro 100DH loader with a “massive” (at the time) 1.5-t carry capacity. Later on, the design and production facilities moved to Turku, which became the home base of the Toro family.

In 2020, after 15 years of dormancy, Sandvik reintroduced this old family name again.

“Today, the Toro family is characterised by design principles of safety, strength and intelligence,” Sandvik says.

“Safety is everything for those who work underground with heavy equipment, and it is the number one driver in the product design.

“In addition to safety of operators and maintenance personnel, the design needs to be sound from a sustainability perspective. Strength and power are at the very heart of the old Toro heritage and robust design, reliability and performance in the most demanding conditions are also the foundations for the current offering.

“The third element, being smart, evolves quickly. Sophisticated digital systems such as Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offerings are fine examples of intelligence, but smart solutions are needed all over the equipment, including operator ergonomics, easy maintenance access and component layouts.”

On August 31, Sandvik introduced a new i-series 15 t loader, the Toro™ LH515i, which was launched in Canada.

The Toro family includes loaders and trucks in all size classes and for all market areas. The key technologies are diesel-powered loaders and trucks, cable-electric loaders, and, as a newcomer, a battery-assisted loader that, according to Sandvik, is making an entry on the marketplace very soon.

Sandvik bolsters Toro LHD line up with LH515i

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it is launching a new, higher-capacity 15-t size class loader as a next generation model for the current 14-t Sandvik LH514.

The 15-t Toro™ LH515i has one tonne greater capacity than its predecessor, yet it is designed to operate within the same footprint. This new member of the Toro family has been redesigned from the ground up, leveraging all of the benefits of its predecessor, while improving the design based on customer feedback, according to the company.

The new loader has been designed following the principles of intelligence and simplicity, Sandvik says. The Toro LH515i features a totally new Sandvik intelligent control system with 12-in touchscreen colour display, making loader health monitoring easy, providing quick access to data and enabling new solutions for efficient troubleshooting, the company says.

“With a multitude of smart technologies and optimised for use with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® systems, Toro LH515i brings digitalisation to the operator’s fingertips, enabling optimal productivity,” Sandvik says. “To ensure quick and efficient maintenance, the loader features easy access to service points, roomy component layout organised to facilitate servicing and excellent access to systems, both in the cabin and on top of the equipment.”

The loader features an entirely new cabin designed to provide an ergonomic working environment for operators during long shifts, including increased leg space, new seat and dashboard and improved visibility over the extremely flat rear frame of the loader.

The Toro LH515i is available with two different engine configurations from Volvo Penta: the 265 kW Stage V diesel engine, and the 256 kW Tier III engine.

Equipped with selective catalytic reduction exhaust gas technology and a new diesel particulate filter, the Stage V configuration meets very stringent emission regulations. To further help to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint, both versions of engines are fully compatible with paraffinic diesel fuels meeting the EN 15940 standard, Sandvik says.

The launch of the new loader is part of Sandvik celebrating the 50-year journey of Toro loaders and trucks.

Sandvik Technology Centre starts to unlock mine site productivity in southern Africa

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ newly launched technology centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, is, the company says, assisting the region’s mining industry on a journey into the digital future.

The Sandvik Technology Centre has already begun working with technology-focused customers in underground hard-rock mines locally to raise the productivity bar. According to Sandvik Technology Centre Manager, Hosea Molife, the facility’s key aim is to use digital technology to make mines safer and more productive.

“Our starting point was an OptiMine implementation for the monitoring and tracking of underground mobile equipment and customer support for a MySandvik project,” Molife says.

He explains that hardware is installed on the equipment, together with the software, to gather and transmit operational data, allowing mine management to view equipment location and productivity at any time. The data is automatically analysed giving the customer decision-making dashboards.

Ian Bagshaw, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Territory Manager, says the technologies employed by the company essentially ‘take the lid off’ the mine, revealing vital real-time information such as tonnes mined and holes drilled. The technology centre can make use of various Sandvik solutions to render the data useful to the customer. These include MySandvik for equipment monitoring using up-to-date information, OptiMine for integrating resources and optimising processes and AutoMine for automating mining activities.

Bagshaw highlighted that the Sandvik Technology Centre has been welcomed by technology-focused customers in the region.

“These customers are certainly leading the way globally in the platinum mining sector,” he says. “There is a strong safety element in the digital journey, as machine automation can help keep operators away from the workface and other potentially hazardous areas of the mine.”

There are already three projects underway at the technology centre, according to Molife. The MySandvik solution is being provided to 100 machines on one site, while OptiMine is being installed on a 76-unit fleet and AutoMine is initially being used to create a trucking loop for a single unit pilot project.

“The beauty of our facility is that it can be quickly ramped up as demand grows, allowing us to serve a growing customer base as mines see the practical value of applying digital technology,” Bagshaw says. There has been considerable interest expressed by the region’s mines to date, with potential projects for the technology Centre emerging in South Africa, Botswana and possibly further afield.

According to Bagshaw, applying Sandvik’s digital solutions is the beginning of a journey for mines, as they move away from paper-based and static data platforms.

“In addition to installing the hardware and software to generate real-time data for mines, we also work closely with customers on how best to utilise the reports,” he says. “Building these reports into their daily operations and real-time decision making will bring the productivity value add.”

OZ Minerals, Titeline investigate hydrogen-powered surface diamond drilling opportunities

OZ Minerals, in partnership with Titeline Drilling, has commenced a trial to test a hydrogen direct injection system to improve engine combustion efficiency for surface diamond drill rigs.

The system has the potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and particulates, as well as improve fuel consumption, according to the company.

The news came out with the release of the company’s June quarter results, which saw a 22% quarter-on-quarter uplift in copper production following a strong performance from the company’s South Australian operations (Prominent Hill and Carrapateena).

In addition to the trial of hydrogen-powered surface drill rigs, OZ Minerals said the mining tri-alliance it has in place with Byrnecut and Sandvik – designed to identify and introduce smart and innovative ideas – had progressed during the quarter, with in-roads made on several associated projects.

Significant work was undertaken towards trialling the use of tele-remote loading of trucks, which has now been implemented in a key stope in July, it said.

OZ Minerals previously said it was working with Byrnecut and Sandvik to roll out Sandvik’s AutoMine® platform at its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia. This followed a project between the two to implement an automation upgrade for a Sandvik DD422i development drill at the operation.

RUC Cementation bolsters Edna May fleet with Sandvik Toro LHD

RUC Cementation Mining Contractors has acquired a new Sandvik Toro™ LH517i loader for its underground mining operations, looking to deploy it at Ramelius Resources’ Edna May gold operation in Western Australia.

The Toro LH517i loader represents the latest in LHD technology to improve performance and reliability as well as enhanced machine data and performance analytics, RUC Cementation said.

Barry Upton, RUC Cementation Managing Director, said the company was pleased to take delivery of the new machine, which is planned to significantly enhance LHD performance across the fleet at Edna May, and it was looking forward to tapping into the benefits the intelligent series of loaders was able to offer.

The Toro LH517i loader is a matching pair with the Sandvik TH551i truck, considering the designed payload capacities.

It features the latest Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ on-board hardware as standard. The unit is also fully ready for automation, requiring just a few days for AutoMine® retrofit implementation, according to Sandvik.

The Edna May operation produced 26,632 oz of gold in the June quarter.

Agnico’s Kittilä clocks up full year of autonomous haulage with Sandvik

Agnico Eagle’s automation journey at the Kittilä gold mine in northern Finland has recently seen the operation run a full year of autonomous truck haulage using Sandvik’s AutoMine® system.

The operation has been using the AutoMine automation system for Sandvik loaders in production for several years, but the autonomous truck haulage fleet milestone is more recent.

Kittilä, the largest gold mine in Europe, uses AutoMine on its Toro™ TH663i truck to keep running as long as possible. It is loaded by an autonomous Toro LH621i up to surface dumping.

Jari Kolehmainen, Production Manager at Kittilä Mine, said: “Nowadays our miners can monitor the machines’ operation and autonomous production cycles from the comfort and safety of the control room. The mine’s productivity and safety have increased, and we are excited to see what the future will bring, as we know that there is even more potential to be gained with Sandvik’s cutting-edge technologies.”

Back in February, Agnico said production in the December quarter came in around 6,000 t above forecast thanks, in part, to improved fleet management and an increased usage of automation. It said the operation had been testing autonomous trucks and tele-remote equipment and was targeting to achieve 50% of production drilling and 15% of hauling remotely in 2021.

OZ Minerals, Byrnecut, Sandvik working on remote LHD operation at Prominent Hill

OZ Minerals says it is working with Byrnecut and Sandvik to roll out Sandvik’s AutoMine® platform at its Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia.

As part of these efforts, a new system has been installed in the company’s Adelaide office that allows an operator to remotely to control a Sandvik LHD underground at Prominent Hill – over 600 km away – as if they were directly onsite.

Back in April when announcing the delivery of its 100th loader connected to AutoMine in the Asia Pacific region, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions said it had recently demonstrated the capability to simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room in a successful trial of a LH621i LHD at Prominent Hill.

“The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home,” it said.

The three companies, in 2020, successfully navigated COVID-19 challenges to implement an automation upgrade for a Sandvik DD422i development drill  at Prominent Hill. This saw Byrnecut Australia become the first underground operator in the world to successfully use a new automation and tele-remote package for Sandvik development drills.

Sandvik delivers 100th automated loader in APAC region

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it has delivered its 100th loader connected to the AutoMine® platform in the Asia Pacific region.

A Sandvik LH621i loader was delivered to Byrnecut Australia in March, making it Sandvik’s 100th automated load and haul unit to be delivered in APAC.

Sandvik has 30 AutoMine systems installed across Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, with customers including Barminco, OceanaGold, Redpath, and Byrnecut, who now have 11 sites in Australia connected to AutoMine. The first AutoMine system in the region was delivered and commissioned in 2008 for Mount Isa Copper Operations, now owned by Glencore.

AutoMine is Sandvik’s automation system for autonomous and tele-remote operation for a wide range of Sandvik and non-Sandvik underground and surface equipment. It provides a safe and controlled process to increase mine productivity and profitability, as well as protect operators and other mine personnel in underground and surface operations.

AutoMine can be scaled from tele-remote or autonomous operation of a single machine to multi-machine control and full fleet automation with automatic mission and traffic control capability. Operators can simultaneously control or monitor multiple machines from the comfort and safety of a remote control room, Sandvik says.

Sandvik recently demonstrated this capability with the successful trial remote operation of a LH621i loader at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill mine in South Australia. The LH621i was successfully operated from the Remote Operating Centre in OZ Mineral’s Adelaide office, taking OZ Minerals a step closer to realising its goal of remote operations from home.

“The digitalisation field has developed significantly over the years and we have adapted to meet the industry needs along the way,” Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Technical Support Manager – Mine Automation, Ty Osborne, said.

“We have seen our customers change their mindset from ‘this technology is nice but won’t work in our mine’, to, ‘what do have to do to make this work in our mine?’. Our customers are now seeing the value of including digitalisation in their mine planning and recognise the tangible benefits an automated fleet can bring to their operation.”