Tag Archives: David Hallett

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.

Exyn and Sandvik OptiMine auto drone integration tested at Rupert Resources project

Exyn Technologies has announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to integrate its data into Sandvik’s analytics and process optimisation suite, OptiMine®.

By synthesising critical data and capabilities, Exyn and Sandvik are helping mining customers transform their underground operations to be safer, more productive and more efficient, the companies say.

Back in July, the two companies signed an agreement to work together “to provide efficient solutions for mapping and visioning underground mines, which will make a substantial difference when it comes to mine locations that are hazardous, hard to reach or conventionally time-consuming to survey and inspect”.

In the latest release, the two said: “Using Exyn’s industrial-grade autonomous drone, ExynAero, mining companies can harness completely pilotless flight to access impossible-to-reach data with maximum safety. The data collected is processed using Exyn’s on-board 3D mapping technology – powered by ExynAI – which is then integrated with Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer solution for analysis and optimisation of underground mining production and process.”

The partnership allows mining customers to benefit from comprehensive underground aerial 3D mapping with progressive visualisation that increases overall transparency of mining operations – including for GPS-denied, hard-to-reach, or hazardous areas, or locations that would be time-consuming to survey and inspect using conventional methods, according to the companies.

Exyn and Sandvik deployed this integrated solution at gold exploration and development company Rupert Resources’ Pahtavaara project in Finland, using the ExynAero drone to autonomously create a 3D point cloud of an underground stope. This 3D data was then uploaded to Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer and georeferenced to the CAD mine model for further analysis and visualisation.

David Hallett, Vice President, Business Unit Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “This step in our partnership with Exyn is critical. Our teams have been working closely together to ensure the connection between Exyn and Sandvik’s systems would be seamless and easy for operators to use. When this feature gets rolled out to the market as part of OptiMine, it will allow our customers to analyse Exyn’s high-resolution, aerial maps in OptiMine.

“After this demonstration, we look forward to further developing our partnership and integrating our hardware and software systems in the coming months.”

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, added: “We’re very proud to expand our partnership with Sandvik and to deliver the key benefits of safety and operational efficiency to all the humans involved in the mining industry.

“By offering world-class software and technology, we have given customers the ability to map areas underground they could never before reach. Our end goal is to be an integral part of fully autonomous mining operations and I’m confident that through our partnership with Sandvik, we’re one step closer.”

Exyn and Sandvik have more product integrations in the plans, they said.

Sandvik debuts fully autonomous, battery-electric, cabin-less AutoMine Concept vehicle

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has unveiled the direction it thinks the underground mining industry is heading: fully-electric, autonomous and cabin-less.

During its virtual Innovation in Mining event on September 29, David Hallett, Global Product Line Manager, Automation, and Jussi Puura, Research and Technology Development, Digitalization Lead, unveiled its next-generation AutoMine® Concept vehicle to back up this view.

Based on the latest technologies and equipped with completely new sensing capabilities and artificial intelligence to enhance mining operations, the AutoMine Concept vehicle perceives its surroundings and environment in 3D and reacts to it in real-time, Sandvik says.

These technologies provide clear customer advantages by allowing vehicles to adapt and plan their own routes, and to find the most suitable paths even in continuously changing environments, according to the company. The obstacle detection, collision avoidance and 3D online mapping capabilities, meanwhile, improve adaptability and increase flexibility.

During a demonstration of the machine tramming, loading and dumping material at the Sandvik Test Mine in Tampere, Finland, Hallett and Puura explained how this cabin-less, fully-electric machine worked.

“With this concept vehicle, we have the ability to not only showcase our future technologies, but build the platform and foundation for our next-generation automation products,” Hallett said.

“Subsequently, we will start to gradually deploy these technologies to our existing AutoMine products providing opportunities for our current customer base to realise value with the products they have today, and make them readily available for future customers, as well.”

Sandvik says the vehicle represents a foundation for using the AutoMine technology in various equipment types and can be applied to any vehicle.

Hallett added: “The AutoMine concept is not a manual machine we have adapted for automation, but rather the opposite in which the machine has been designed for automation in mining.”

Puura stated a key differentiator of this concept vehicle compared with the company’s existing AutoMine range.

“Our target is to make these autonomous machines work safely with people and manual machines in the same area without the need for area isolation or safety gates.”

Riku Pulli, Vice President, Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said the AutoMine Concept is the world’s first fully autonomous underground mining machine built specifically for automation.

“This technology raises ease-of-use, effectiveness of asset utilisation and adaptability to a new level, resulting in higher productivity,” he said. “These technologies will truly change the face and pace of autonomous mining.”