Tag Archives: Automine

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.”

Sandvik expands battery-electric drill range with new top hammer DL422iE

Sandvik is continuing to grow its battery-electric equipment offering, launching its fully automated and electric driveline-equipped DL422iE top hammer longhole drill.

The driveline system on the new rig eliminates diesel emissions while tramming, increasing productivity while reducing environmental impact and fostering a healthier work environment, the company says.

Back in October after Sandvik’s Innovation in Mining virtual event, the company confirmed to IM that it was testing a battery-equipped prototype DL422iE unit in Canada ahead of a planned launch in the March quarter of 2021.

The zero-emission Sandvik DL422iE joins the Sandvik DD422iE as the company’s second battery-driven underground drill, with the company expecting to offer a full range of battery-tramming rigs covering all underground drilling applications by the end of 2021.

The new Sandvik DL422iE is designed for underground mass mining in 4 x 4 m or larger production drifts. It features the latest intelligent technology to enable continuous and unmanned operation, with automation and teleremote for drilling during shift changes and breaks, Sandvik says. Through these and other features, combined with data collection and transfer through wireless networks, the Sandvik DL422iE helps to ensure improved equipment utilisation and productivity.

The new longhole drill is capable of drilling vertical and inclined fans and single or parallel Ø89-127 mm long holes up to 54 m in depth using ST58 and ST68 tube rods. It is equipped with the powerful 33 kW HF1560ST longhole rock drill, which is based on a proven concept in terms of drilling capacity, reliability and operating cost, the company said.

With an impact frequency of 40-45 Hz and optimised percussion dynamics for ST68 tubes, the Sandvik DL422iE delivers optimal bit-to-rock contact for improved energy transfer, according to Sandvik. This leads to decreased stress level in rock tools, lower coupling/front housing temperatures and extended service life for shank adaptor and tube.

As standard, the Sandvik DL422iE is equipped with Sandvik’s Platinum drilling automation package for continuous and automated production drilling. This is combined with the i-Class iSOLO drilling control system to maximise productivity and enhance accuracy in drilling fans and parallel long holes. “It acts as a full-time stinger control and is used in uploading drill plans to the control system, with drill plan management direct at the user interface to ensure one-hole automation drilling to a predefined depth,” Sandvik says. “Furthermore, feed and boom positioning to the next hole are automatic, while data is transferred via WLAN ethernet connection.”

In addition to the standard Platinum package, the Sandvik DL422iE can be equipped with an optional automatic bit changer, enabling autonomous drilling of complete fans and working through shift changes.

On top of being equipped with MySandvik remote monitoring, units can also be integrated with AutoMine® and OptiMine®, providing multi-unit control and fan-to-fan remote tramming, Sandvik says.

“As the industry’s focus on sustainability increases, Sandvik’s latest drilling solutions specifically address the challenge of providing enhanced operational drilling performance combined with reduced emissions,” the company explained.

The Sandvik DL422iE is mounted on a C400E 4-wheel drive frame steered carrier equipped with an electric driveline system (battery package and electric motor) for zero diesel emissions and reduced operating costs. The batteries can be charged during drilling in a newly patented feature, while electric power can be drawn from the electrical supply system from the mine’s network.

“[The] Sandvik DL422iE helps mines reduce overall emissions and ventilation and fuel costs, and to create a healthier working environment,” Sandvik says. “Thanks to shorter cycle times and increased drilling capacity, [the] Sandvik DL422iE has the potential to help mines increase drilled meters per shift by up to 10%. Productivity can increase by up to 20% via improved equipment utilisation.”

The longhole drill is equipped with the ZR35 telescopic boom and horseshoe type boom support with telescopic jacks for maximum drilling stability, the most effective foundation for accurate longhole drilling in mass mining, according to Sandvik. The wide 3,000 mm total boom offset and 620 mm telescopic extension allows a pivot line height of 2,100 mm, which is typical for a wide range of mining methods.

The 360º feed roll-over, large boom tilt and swing angles ensure fan drilling versatility in 4 x 4 m or larger cross sections and, to ensure maximum accuracy in alignment, the boom is instrumented with electronic parallelism. An optional extended boom support allows for up to +/-45° feed tilt in drilling fans or long holes, which, Sandvik says, increases versatility in downhole drilling in stopes at the end of the orebody, in drilling long holes in the ore/waste contact and in slot raise drilling.

Net penetration rates with air-mist flushing are up to 15% higher on the Sandvik DL422iE when compared with water flushing, according to the company. The drill rig can be equipped with a CT80 onboard screw compressor (8 cu.m/min at 7 bar), which ensures efficient flushing and high net penetration rates. The use of the on-board air supply, meanwhile, is a cost-efficient alternative to mine air infrastructure or portable units, the company says.

Sandvik to automate new LHD fleet at Codelco’s El Teniente copper mine

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it will deliver its AutoMine® Fleet system to automate a new fleet of Sandvik LHDs running at Codelco’s Pacifico Superior and Pilar Norte GTI operations, part of the El Teniente underground mine in Chile.

This partnership, Sandvik says, supports Codelco’s vision to create one of the most sophisticated mines in the world.

AutoMine Fleet is a highly advanced automation system for a fleet of Sandvik underground loaders and trucks sharing the same automated production area. It provides automatic mission control and automatic traffic management for the equipment fleet, while system operators remotely supervise the process.

The system will enable Codelco to operate its new fleet of Sandvik LH517i 17 t and Sandvik LH621i 21 t loaders autonomously at the El Teniente mine, one of the world’s largest underground copper mines. The project implementation started in December and is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Codelco’s objective is to dramatically increase the productivity, safety and efficiency of its operations with AutoMine, and this project is a continuation of Codelco’s 10-year strategic program to prolong the life of its existing mines, Sandvik says.

The two companies started their automation journey together at El Teniente with the first-ever AutoMine Loading system installation in 2004. The AutoMine system is already in operation at Diablo Regimiento and Panel 2, the other two blocks of the El Teniente mine.

Juan Mariscal, Senior Business Manager, Codelco, said: “Being able to use mining automation technology that is well proven, as well as working with a supplier that understands our needs and is capable of adapting to our operating philosophy, are key drivers for Codelco’s operations. That is why we have chosen our long-term partner Sandvik to go on this journey with us. Above all, Sandvik’s enhanced local presence and expertise will ensure successful implementation of these projects and strong support.”

Codelco is the number one copper producer in the world and is owned by the state of Chile. It controls about 19% of the world’s copper reserves and is also the second-biggest producer of molybdenum worldwide.

Riku Pulli, President, Rock Drills and Technologies Division, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “We are proud to continue supporting Codelco on its automation and digitalisation journey at El Teniente mine, making its operations smarter, safer, more productive and sustainable through digitalisation.”

Sandvik releases ‘totally new’ Toro LH410 underground loader

Sandvik says it is getting ready for an eventful loader and truck year in 2021, both in terms of launching new equipment and introducing upgraded versions of existing models, with the first such release being the “totally renewed” 10-t-payload Toro™ LH410 underground LHD.

The new Toro LH410 loader builds on the best parts of its predecessor, the Sandvik LH410. However, following the footmarks set by Sandvik’s large intelligent loaders, the now introduced Toro LH410 is full of new features, making it, in practice, a totally new machine, Sandvik says.

The Toro LH410 offers best-in-class performance in productivity, for example, by means of high ramp speeds and fast bucket filling. To make truck loading easy, it features superior lift height compared with any other loader of the same size class, Sandvik says. The renewed loader also features Sandvik Intelligent Control System, with a 7 in touch screen display as a user interface, enabling multiple new options to tailor each loader according to customer needs.

Kimmo Ulvelin, Product Line Manager Small and Low Profile Loaders at Sandvik, said: “With all its features, this truly is an advanced and intelligent piece of equipment, definitely comparable to the large i-series loaders – but naturally in a smaller package.

“We want to offer our customers possibilities for sophisticated and intelligent equipment also in the middle size class; and therefore Toro LH410 has the same Sandvik Intelligent Control System as the large Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i loaders, with the available traction control, operator speed assist and integrated weighing system, to name a few. Also, Toro LH410 is fully compatible with AutoMine® solutions. From new features specifically relating to safety, we could mention eg a new retrieval hook, updated door interlock, improved access ways and new type of fire suppression system options.”

The engine range of the Toro LH410 loader includes multiple different diesel engines, starting from a powerful and fuel-efficient Tier II and ending up with the Stage V engine option. The Stage V engine uses passive DPF regeneration taking place during normal operation, minimising downtime. Its modulating engine brake provides better control of vehicle speed downhill while also minimising brake and transmission overheating and brake wear, Sandvik said.

During 2021, new product launches and upgrades are expected to be released to further strengthen the Toro family.

Sandvik’s McCoy on ‘getting the basics right’ in digital transformation projects

The application of digital tools is key to continuously improving efficiencies in underground mines, Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says.

McCoy says the choice of digital tools needs to be based on each operation’s key performance indicators (KPIs). This is because the solutions that are implemented will be focused on monitoring and managing those KPIs. He then recommends a phased approach to introducing digital tools to an operation.

“The starting point is always machine telemetry and basic production or productivity reporting,” he says. “From there, the solutions can be expanded.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has extensive experience in designing and implementing digital tools, including equipment health monitoring and process management. Its AutoMine® automation offering operates on 59 mining sites globally, while its OptiMine® suite of digital solutions is active on 66 connected sites. The ‘My Sandvik’ customer portal, a web-based digital hub, serves 214 sites and its Newtrax technology in wireless IoT connectivity is operating on 115 sites.

“Monitoring equipment health through My Sandvik Digital Services Solutions allows users to draw down telemetry data from their equipment in real time,” he says. “The data is automatically compiled into the required report format for quick analysis and response.”

The next aspect to be addressed is the actual management of the process being monitored, he says. This is where Sandvik’s Task Management and Scheduler – part of its Optimine suite of digital solutions – can be applied.

“This allows a tablet to be fitted to an item of equipment so that an underground operator can accept tasks and provide real-time progress reports on those tasks,” he says. “The more advanced the equipment, the more data can be extracted and communicated automatically without operator intervention.”

The solutions allow for data to be recorded on equipment’s key operations – such as the weight of loads in a loader bucket. Telemetry on the equipment gives valuable insight into the equipment’s availability and performance so management can respond.

“When starting digital journeys, the focus must be on improving current operations,” McCoy says. “This means getting work started on time, for instance, before moving onto optimisation efforts. Most digital implementations will battle if the starting point is trying to increase productivity before getting the basics right.”

Sandvik overcomes COVID-19 challenges to continue machine, solutions commissioning

Despite the travel restriction difficulties associated with COVID-19, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says it has found novel and innovative solutions to overcoming these challenges, ensuring the company maintains its leading positions in the automation and digitalisation fields.

Considering the company first introduced automation solutions into its product offering some 15 years ago and digital technologies 10 years ago, it has been leading the way in helping the mining industry adopt and embrace the modernisation revolution.

“The African mining industry has traditionally shied away from embracing new technologies, but COVID-19 has been the push factor in accelerating the necessity to adopt change, and this has happened rapidly as mines have had to learn to operate remotely and with limited resources owing to COVID-19,” Simon Andrews, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Vice President for Sales in Southern Africa, says.

The adoption of new technologies, however, is no longer the primary objective. Finding ways to implement them remotely has now become the focus, Andrews says.

With the philosophy of working towards finding a solution for any challenge, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has  introduced a headset to enable personnel to walk and talk anyone through the process of commissioning a machine and associated software without having ever seen it before.

Niel McCoy, Automation Business Development Manager for Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This offering removes all barriers associated with the inability to connect physically on the ground and is a mechanism of training in itself.”

Coupled with this new skillset and offering is Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s ability to utilise its highly skilled personnel.

“Our top-level experts within the business are no longer time restricted by travel and are able to utilise their skillset across multiple mines on a more frequent basis, something we had never considered in the past but is an exercise already reaping great success,” McCoy says.

As a result of the company’s efforts in ensuring digital technologies, and the implementation thereof, remain a top agenda for clients – regardless of remote working conditions, lockdown restrictions, etc – Sandvik has established a new communication process with its clients that, it says, is paying off.

“Never before have we communicated so effectively or as frequently with our clients as we do now,” Andrews says. “We know more about our sites now than we ever did before, which naturally provides us with the ability to better assist our clients in any areas that we can contribute towards and give input on.”

LKAB warms to Sandvik’s ‘renewed’ LH625iE as second electric LHD heads to Kiruna

Having been on a journey to electrify its operations with Sandvik since the mid-1980s, LKAB says the latest addition to its electric fleet, a Sandvik LH625iE, is performing well at its flagship Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden.

The company took delivery of the “renewed” Sandvik LH625iE electric loader for field testing earlier this year and, according to Per Brännman, Section Manager for sublevel caving at LKAB in Kiruna, the machine’s performance has picked up recently after some adjustments, mainly to the cable reeling system.

“It has completed 350 hours without any error codes or stops, and loaded over 140,000 t of crude iron ore,” he said.

The machine in question is operating down on block 15, level 1022, at the iron ore mine, and the company is expecting to put another LH625iE into action on this level in early November.

“The future looks bright and carbon dioxide free,” Brännman said.

The underground loader, which features a 9.5 cu.m bucket and 25,000 kg payload capacity, is designed specifically to operate in the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. It comes with a total length of 14 m, bucket width of 4 m and cabin height of 3 m.

The basic LH625iE design is well-proven (and based on the LH625E), according to Sandvik, with the equipment manufacturer delivering electric loaders powered by a trailing cable for more than 35 years.

In addition to using the proven design and robust structures, Sandvik says its LH625iE belongs to its i-series, featuring advanced technology, the latest digital solutions and smart connectivity. This sees the new Sandvik LH625iE equipped with Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ as standard. To use the payload capacity it offers, the loader can also be fitted with Sandvik’s Integrated Weighing System, as well as AutoMine® and OptiMine® solutions, Sandvik said.