Tag Archives: Chris Havenga

RealWear assisted reality devices help IMDEX overcome travel restrictions

IMDEX personnel are using assisted reality devices from RealWear to, the company says, guide Australian and international clients isolated by COVID-19 as they install and use its latest products.

Using RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 devices delivered to its mining clients, IMDEX hardware and software engineers and product developers can assist on-site workers from thousands of kilometres away.

IMDEX turned to the solution to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions, which prevented support personnel being on site.

The RealWear technology is a rugged, head-mounted, voice-controlled, device that offers hands-free operation for frontline workers, according to IMDEX. The devices are equipped with a high-definition camera to take pictures and video from the wearer’s perspective, enabling IMDEX experts to guide the worker and provide advice.

Two-way audio with optional noise cancellation and a high-resolution micro-display that sits below line of sight, allowing for maximum peripheral vision, give workers and IMDEX experts the real-time data they need to operate, inspect and maintain equipment, according to the company.

Use of the assisted reality devices emerged after IMDEX grappled with how to support clients in South Africa when sending support teams was not possible because of border closures.

IMDEX Global Equipment Integration Engineer, Chris Havenga, said the hands-free aspect of the RealWear devices meant they had particular application for underground mining, where operators sometimes had to hold tools and tablets while working above eye level.

“COVID inspired innovation and change at IMDEX to ensure we continued to support our clients,” Havenga said. “There are endless possibilities with the RealWear device. It’s worth having a device supplied to clients along with our products and tools and, if there are any issues, operators can put it on and get the experts to assist for that particular site at the time they are having the problem.

“We can join them remotely while they are working, assess the issues and provide a solution.”

He said the devices could become a standard inclusion for IMDEX client support, along with manuals and tutorials. Offering the same functionality as a tablet, the devices enabled operators to consult manuals and other written material while dealing with on-site issues.

IMDEX is using the devices on sites in South Australia, New Zealand, the US and South America, it said.

Realwear Asia Pacific Vice President, John Higgs, said: “HMT-1 devices provide a reality-first, digital-second experience. Previously, industrial workers have not been able to use wearables, as they were overly immersive and not rugged enough.

“RealWear is unique in its ability to deliver hands-free connectivity without distracting the worker on a very rugged device capable of being deployed even in explosive environments.”

IMDEX SRU technology delivering water savings for drillers

With the search for new mineral discoveries increasingly occurring at depth and undercover in remote locations, the pressure to find better ways to reduce water consumption during exploration drilling programs is vital as companies meet their environmental, social and governance obligations.

Global mining technology company IMDEX says it is meeting the challenges with solids removal units (SRUs) that can reduce water consumption by up to 80% during drilling. The savings mean less draw on water from sources including rivers, dams or underground aquifers, and a reduction in water transported to the drill sites.

Adoption of the technology has increased significantly in Europe to meet strict environmental guidelines, along with North America and some South American countries, IMDEX says. IMDEX SRUs Global Product Manager, Chris Havenga, said there had also been a dramatic increase in adoption in Africa in the past two years.

He said mining companies were increasingly directing drilling contractors to use SRUs because of the environmental benefits.

As an example, Havenga said a hole to be drilled to 500 m would require a ground sump with a capacity of 22,500 litres, but this would be reduced to 5,000 litres by using an SRU: a water saving of 77%.

Other benefits include a 75% reduction in drilling fluid consumption; water cartage and disposal costs reduced by up to 75%; and a saving of up to A$10,000 ($7,132) on digging and remediating sumps.

“With minerals being deeper and underground, deeper holes need to be drilled so holes of 1,000 m or more are no longer uncommon,” Havenga said. “Using the traditional sump method alone means increasing the number of sumps and the footprint of the drilling operation. The centrifuge in our SRUs means we speed up settling speeds and contractors can drill the same hole with less fluid and less solids retained in the fluids.”

Other benefits include improving relationships with land owners, gaining access to sensitive or remote areas, and reducing the risk to waterways and local wildlife.