Tag Archives: collision avoidance system

Mining3 equips miners with tools for proximity detection decision making

Mining3 has launched an online sensor technology capability tool that provides users with, it says, unbiased information on Proximity Detection System (PDS) sensors to assist in their decision-making process.

The PDS Toolkit is part of the Mining3 ACARP funded project titled, ‘PDS Validation Framework – Phase 3’. The interface provides a high-level summary of the six most prevalent PDS sensors available to the market, according to Mining3.

This information has been extracted from the PDS Sensor Capability Assessment document developed by the PDS Project Team comprised of Mining3, the University of Pretoria and The University of Queensland. The document, in its entirety, will also be published and made available to industry shortly, Mining3 said.

Mining3 Chief Operating Officer, Susan Grandone, said: “The purpose of this toolkit is to provide a fundamental understanding of how various sensors operate, both individually and in combination. This, in turn, will aid in a user’s decision-making process by providing unbiased information and data on each sensor.”

As well as providing individual sensor information, the toolkit contains a spider attribute chart that enables users to toggle between the sensors, identifying strengths and weaknesses for a specific application or attribute. A searchable scoring system with the ability to filter is also available in a table format underneath.

Finally, sensor technology usage in the PDS/Collision Avoidance System industry and references used in compiling the assessment document and developing the toolkit are also provided.

Free access to the PDS Toolkit is available to the industry, however users will need to register as a method of accepting the usage disclaimer, Mining3 said.

Click here to access the toolkit.

Wabtec on the evolution of collision awareness systems in mining

In an article arguing proximity detection and collision awareness technology makes for not only a safer, but more productive mine, Craig Hoffmann, Senior Product Manager – Collision Awareness & Geospatial Systems at Wabtec Corp’s Digital Mine division, has revealed that the company is currently working on conducting single and multiple machine testing on a production mine site using its collision awareness system.

In an opinion piece titled, Pioneering collision awareness technology enables safer mining practices, Hoffman went into the history of this technology, as well as the milestones the Wabtec team have achieved.

Mining has always been seen as a risky business, whether undertaken above ground or deep beneath the earth’s surface. But, thanks to a combination of government regulation in South Africa and a concerted industry effort by mining companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), further enabled by cutting-edge technology, it’s becoming a lot safer, he writes.

In several respects, South Africa is leading the way in this drive towards the ideal of a mining industry with zero avoidable fatalities. Collision awareness is a crucial component of this quest, contributing to the layers of protection against significant risk associated with vehicle interactions.

A collision awareness system (CAS)* is an integral part of mine safety management tools that helps workers make the right decision at the right time in order to mitigate vehicle interaction risk while helping to increase productivity and improve situational awareness.

The need for a CAS in South Africa was identified as far back as 1995, when the Leon Commission of Inquiry into Safety and Health in the Mining Industry identified haulage and transport accidents as the second largest category of accidents in mines.

The government wasn’t slow to respond. A year later, the Mine Health and Safety Act was enacted, which places the responsibility on employers to ensure mines are safe and workplaces healthy.

At the same time internationally, there was a concerted move towards making interactions between vehicles, vehicles-to-persons and vehicles-to-environment significantly safer. The Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT) was established in 2006 by six global mining companies. From the outset, engagement with OEMs was seen as crucial to the success of its efforts.

Since its formation, EMESRT, as part of the Vehicle Interaction Systems Performance Requirements PR-5A, has defined 24 surface vehicle interaction scenarios and established nine levels of vehicle interaction defensive controls, namely: level 1 – site requirements, level 2 – segregation controls, level 3 – operating procedures, level 4 – authority to operate, level 5 – fitness to operate, level 6 – operating compliance, level 7 – operator awareness (proximity awareness – alerts the operator), level 8 – advisory controls (proximity detection – advises the operator) and level 9 – intervention controls (collision avoidance – takes control from the operator). EMESRT has also driven the mining industry development of a standard communications protocol between the proximity detection system (PDS) and OEM machine for the practical implementation of level 9 – intervention controls as part of the standard ISO 21815.

The importance of level 7 – operator awareness and level 9 – intervention controls was highlighted on February 25, 2015 when the South Africa Minister of Mineral Resources signed the Amendment of Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act. This legislation makes it necessary to implement a system which provides proximity awareness (level 7) and collision avoidance (level 9), which will automatically apply the brakes to trackless mobile machinery (TMM) without any human intervention at any mine where there is a significant risk of such collisions.

This functionality essentially requires the traditional level 7 PDS to mature to provide full machine interventions of a level 9 collision avoidance system. The final date for implementation is still to be confirmed but the mining industry is targeting late 2020.

The legislation requires that each mining operation conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to determine the risk exposure introduced by TMM. Based on the risk assessment, the mining operation is then able to define a collision management system user requirements specification with regards to CAS required on the TMM fleet.

The need for such measures was underlined when it emerged that fatalities attributable to TMM-related accidents increased nearly 50% from eight in 2016 to 14 in 2017.

Wabtec Digital Mine has been the global provider of a best of breed high integrity level 7 PDS system for the past 14 years and, therefore, was perfectly positioned to take on the journey to progress towards a fully compliant level 9 CAS system. At this level, the PDS automatically applies full intervention controls to the vehicle and takes control from the operator when a dangerous vehicle interaction situation is detected after the operator has failed to respond to the earlier level 7 proximity alerts and level 8 advisory controls.

It is recognised by Wabtec and the mining industry that CAS alone should not be viewed as a ‘silver bullet’ for mitigating the risk of vehicle interactions, as the initial focus should be on maximising the maturity of the more effective mine site defensive controls at levels 1 – 6 and supplemented by PDS/CAS levels 7 – 9 where required. This approach has also been adopted through a new initiative by the International Council on Mining & Minerals (ICMM) as part of the program for ‘Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles’, where the mining industry globally has an ambition at the CEO level to eliminate all fatalities from vehicle interactions in mining by 2025.

The Minerals Council of South Africa is currently coordinating the development and testing of all the CAS suppliers by providing a best practice framework with the aim of fast tracking the industry developments. This work is also being integrated into a new EMESRT initiative to develop a unified, integrated industry PDS testing methodology and validation framework.

Milestones

The first milestone for the CAS supplier is to conduct independent lab scale testing done by the University of Pretoria (UoP) at the Gerotek testing facility, in South Africa. The UoP uses high precision measuring equipment to test and log the performance of the CAS system as is capable of providing a detailed independent report on the capability of the CAS system. The tests provide invaluable insights into the capability of the system and level of technology readiness.

The second milestone, which the Wabtec Digital Mine Collision Awareness System team conducted on an independent machine OEM site, is single and multiple machine testing. These tests were successfully performed, as real-world scenarios were created and tested against. These tests were conducted in dry and wet conditions and to speeds up to 40 km/h.

The third key milestone that the Wabtec team is currently working towards is to conduct single and multiple machine testing on a production mine site. The range of machines being tested include rigid body haul trucks, articulated dump trucks and a rubber-tyred wheel loader, which represent the typical high risk TMM found working on a mine site.

In order to address the significant challenges in achieving a level 9 – compliant CAS system, Wabtec Digital Mine has developed proprietary software algorithms that are able to interpret and anticipate the complex scenarios presented during normal mining operations. This enables the Wabtec systems to operate seamlessly with the operator.

If Wabtec’s experience has shown anything, it’s that proximity detection and collision awareness technology makes for not only a safer, but a more productive mine, thanks to the wealth of data the systems are able to gather, analyse and feed back to the mine operators we support. We remain committed to delivering a world class, Level 9 CAS system to the global mining community.

* “CAS” has been alternately referred to as collision awareness system or collision avoidance system. Wabtec CAS solutions should be understood as collision awareness systems

Polyus looks for safety gains with Orlaco collision avoidance system rollout

Polyus, Russia’s largest gold producer, is to rollout Orlaco’s collision avoidance system (CAS) across its mining fleet following the successful implementation of a similar system at its Krasnoyarsk business unit in 2017.

VIST Group, which is part of the ZYFRA Group and the exclusive dealer of Orlaco’s CAS in Russia and the CIS, will carry out the installation.

German Popov, Head of the Division at VIST Group, said: “With 30% of all accidents in the workplace, in 2018, caused by mobile equipment, according to the International Council of Mining and Metals, health and safety surrounding vehicle usage is critical. At VIST, we have proved our capability in increasing the safety of mining operations through the implementation of cutting-edge solutions.”

The Orlaco CAS consists of a set of cameras and radars mounted on mining equipment. The information collected from this hardware is communicated to the driver via a monitor, allowing them greater spatial awareness of their vehicle and the surrounding area.

The features include a built-in warning system, which automatically alerts the transport operator to any equipment, people, boulders, poles and stationary structures within a 30-m radius.

The system has been designed to provide operators with greater control over their vehicle for manoeuvring, mainly where space is tight, other vehicles or people may be present in large numbers, and/or weather conditions prove prohibitive.

The implementation of this latest safety solution follows VIST’s 2017 installation of an Orlaco video surveillance and collision avoidance system at the Krasnoyarsk business unit of Polyus. This project was well received by equipment operators, according to a survey, with 77% “fully satisfied” with the installed system and its ease of use, 78% noting an increase in the level of safety in work, and 75% reacting positively to the additional visibility provided by cameras when operating in the dark.

Robotics and automation projects among latest METS Ignited funding recipients

Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, has announced seven mining supply businesses as the recipients of A$4.1 million ($2.9 million) in innovation funding under the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds.

The recipients of the funding will now be able to launch eight collaborative industry projects delivering highly-advanced solutions to a variety of mining challenges and contribute to the growth and capability of the METS sector, according to METS Ignited.

This funding is part of a four-year, A$15.6 million commitment made by the Australian Government to incentivise collaboration and address METS sector priorities. The funding established the METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds, which support industry-led projects to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity in the METS sector.

Today’s announcement at Mineral Technologies, on the Gold Coast of Australia, is the third tranche of funding. METS Ignited received 26 grant applications and has awarded the funds to businesses specialising largely in robotics and automation, data analytics, data platforms, Internet of Things and business and professional services. The recipients are: Mineral Technologies, Premron, Austmine, Roobuck, Process IQ, AMOG (x2) and Magotteaux.

Acting CEO of METS Ignited, Ian Dover, said: “Active collaboration across the ecosystem is core to accelerating commercialisation of innovation and has been lacking in the METS and mining sector, where historically relationships have been in the main transactional.”

“Facilitating such innovation is part of the mandate for METS Ignited. It’s vital we support the application of influential future technologies across the METS sector and maintain Australia’s competitiveness.”

Recipients of the Collaborative Project Funds are required to secure equal or greater investment from an industry partner. As a result, the total value of the eight projects is A$11 million.

The largest fund recipients were Queensland-based Mineral Technologies and Premron, awarded A$1 million each. Mineral Technologies’ automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export, METS Ignited said.

Roy Hill CEO, Barry Fitzgerald, said: “I am delighted the government is supporting our partnership with Mineral Technologies – a project that seeks to enhance the operational efficiency of our mine, delivering more high-grade product while reducing waste for the same operational cost.”

The automation of spiral control in the Roy Hill beneficiation plant will materially improve the concentration of ore into high value product for export, according to Roy Hill. More high-grade product and less waste will be produced for the same feed and processing cost, delivering value to both the environment and Roy Hill’s bottom line, the company said. Once proven effective at Roy Hill, the technology can be commercialised and rolled out at similar operations across the world.

“This innovation project will deliver a step-change improvement through real time control of our 720 spirals, enabling our processing plant to dynamically respond to the natural variability of the material it is treating,” Fitzgerald said.

Premron’s Continuous Haulage System (CHS) project, meanwhile, will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines, according to METS Ignited. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine (dead time). CHS will see the coal go straight to a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Other projects that received funding in this round include: sensor technology to monitor the location of people and equipment underground; artificial intelligence technology to emulate the role of a grinding expert; automated sensor detection for oversized rocks; a predictive analytics tool that pinpoints the best time for equipment descaling; a METS career pathway programme; and a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating.

METS Ignited said: “Collectively, the projects will benefit the mining sector by optimising the value chain, increasing productivity for mining and mineral processing, supporting and enhancing environmental management, and improving operational safety.”

The project fund recipients include:

Automation of the Roy Hill Iron Ore beneficiation plant

  • Recipient: Mineral Technologies
  • Partners: Roy Hill
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1 million
  • This project automates the gravity separation spiral process used in the mine to optimise the concentration of lower-grade ore into higher value ore for export.

CHS

  • Recipient: Premron
  • Partners: Gauley Robertson Australia, Kestrel coal mine
  • Collaborative project funds: A$1 million
  • Industry investment: A$1.13 million
  • Continuous haulage will revolutionise coal mining in underground mines. It eliminates the use of shuttle cars, which are used to take the coal cut from the wall of the mine to a transfer point further away in the mine. CHS will see the coal go straight onto a conveyor belt and out of the mine.

Austmine METS career Pathway Program

  • Recipient: Austmine
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$240,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.76 million
  • This project places university students as interns in METS companies around Australia, increasing the interest level and uptake of graduates into the METS sector

The OVERwatch Platform

  • Recipient: Roobuck
  • Partners: Redpine Signals, Northparkes Mines, University of Wollongong
  • Collaborative project funds: A$600,000
  • Industry investment: A$1.5 million
  • This project develops sensors and software to track the location of people and machinery working in underground mines and ensure that collisions are avoided. This is a complex project as there is limited communication options underground (eg no Wi-Fi).

Remote grinding optimisation and support centre

  • Recipient: ProcessIQ
  • Partners: Orway Mineral Consultants, Jamieson Consulting, Curtin University
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$620,000
  • Industry investment: A$780,000
  • This project enables grinding experts to interact directly and in real time with grinding circuits on remote mine sites to ensure they are operating at their most productive levels. The project will develop automated artificial intelligence software to emulate the experts as there is very limited supply of this specialist expertise, leading to increased processing efficiency globally.

Automated Oversize Detection

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Omniflex
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$150,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing sensor equipment that alerts the mine when rocks are too big to process through the crushing and grinding equipment. Blockages in the crushing and grinding circuits are costly and time consuming. Haulage trucks with oversized rocks will be diverted to a separate location in the mine, which avoids stoppages.

Smooth Operator leach circuit process optimisation

  • Recipient: AMOG
  • Partners: Lithium Consultants
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$220,000
  • Industry investment: A$220,000
  • This project involves developing a predictive analytics tool that allows copper and nickel mines to pinpoint when they should close equipment for descaling. Closing equipment too late or early is very costly. There is a very large global market for this product.

Commercialisation of pulp chemistry monitor for the mining industry

  • Recipient: Magotteaux
  • Partners: Hydrix, Manta Controls, Newcrest Mining
  • Collaborative Project Funds: A$250,000
  • Industry investment: A$310,000
  • This project involves developing a device to give more detailed information on the chemistry inside the grinding mill while it is operating. Grinding and flotation circuits use many chemical inputs in order to extract minerals from the ore. Getting the chemical balance right in the mill and the next stage of floatation is critical to removing as much of the valuable mineral as possible. The percentages of the yield vary between 85% and 95% and a 1% improvement in yield will deliver a very large financial benefit to the mine.

Hexagon’s CAS to protect workers and equipment at Conuma Coal Resources ops

Hexagon’s Mining division has signed a safety solution deal with Conuma Coal Resources Ltd that will see its HxGN MineProtect collision avoidance system employed at the miner’s metallurgical coal operations in British Columbia, Canada.

The three-year subscription package will cover Conuma’s Brule (pictured), Willow Creek and Wolverine mines, near Tumbler Ridge, in north-eastern BC. These operations employ about 800 staff and have a fleet of exceeding 180 pieces of equipment.

Hexagon said: “Used in more than 30,000 vehicles and in over 60 mines worldwide, HxGN MineProtect CAS will give Conuma vehicle operators 360o proximity detection at any speed and in all conditions via unobtrusive cabin display units.”

The system is fully integrated with HxGN MineProtect Fatigue Pro, which uses computer vision technology to monitor operators unobtrusively while driving, according to Hexagon.

“Further integration with HxGN MineProtect Tracking Radar will help characterise a potential threat’s position and motion, providing drivers and operators the information they need to prevent incidents,” Hexagon said.

Conuma will also use HxGN MineEnterprise Platform, a web-based reporting and analytics solution, to monitor and control critical risk events by connecting a multitude of data sources via live dashboards. This will help visualise all aspects of CAS, according to Hexagon.

Hexagon Mining President, Josh Weiss, said: “We’re hugely impressed by Conuma’s commitment to safety. This is a great example of how subscription licensing and an integrated portfolio package adds flexibility while allowing mines to maximise safety. We share Conuma’s core belief that protecting people and equipment is the smartest investment a mine can make.”

Conuma President, Mark Bartkoski, said: “We are extremely excited to be partnering with Hexagon to implement an integrated safety solution that provides protection for our employees. We are truly dedicated to providing our people with the tools to run a safe, productive and efficient operation that provides security for all of our partners.”