Deswik, noting a growing industry focus on road audit and compliance, is highlighting the use of an application that, it says, semi-automates the road auditing process and reduces reporting turnaround times while increasing consistency.
The company says: “In a large open-cut mine, you will often find 300-plus tonne trucks running in multiple directions on haul roads, together with a mix of light vehicles and ancillary equipment. This means that the construction and maintenance of compliant roads is a crucial element to running mine operations, especially when there is a growing focus on road audit and compliance.”
However, conducting road audits is usually a manual and time-consuming process, according to Deswik. It is also difficult to maintain in an environment where roads and safety bund requirements are changing and labour is expensive, the company says.
A common road audit process involves surveyors or engineers measuring gradients manually in the field. They may also use the combination of a manual CAD and spreadsheet process – by taking periodic slices through the LIDAR or DTM modules and manually measuring the distances and gradients of the road.
“This often takes more than 40 hours of work for a single operation,” Deswik says. “As a result, the process is completed rarely, with high cost and potential disconnection from the current operating environment.”
Deswik has identified this as a high-value area for process automation, enabling faster feedback and reducing cost. This is where the Deswik Road Audit tool comes in.
The tool measures road and bund physicals, compares them with site requirements and highlights non-compliant areas in a single process, according to the company.
“This has seen a reduction in the typical road audit process – what may have taken over 40 hours to complete for 20 km of roadway, is now down to less than 30 minutes,” Deswik says. “The automated outputs of this process include new refined road centrelines, road sections, polygons showing non-compliance for plotting and reporting, bund non-compliance areas, and so on.”
By completing the process using the integrated Deswik solutions, productivity analysis can be run on the outputs to determine the potential production uplift gained by modifying the roads, the company says, with detailed designs created and sent directly to machine guidance systems for rectification works.
“By using the Deswik Road Audit tool, sites can complete the road audit process much faster, allowing operations to get quicker feedback and free up personnel to complete value-add tasks,” it said.
As well as being much more efficient than the standard road audit process, the Deswik Road Audit tool is easy to use, the company claims. The simple, repeatable process requires less inputs and setup time, while producing consistent outputs with much less manual work. “This means that even users new to Deswik can produce the road audit reports required to ensure continued safety on-site,” Deswik says.
BHP’s Alex Rowell, a Deswik Road Audit tool user, backs up the company’s opinion.
“The Deswik Road Audit tool is super simple to use and provides some fantastic outputs,” Rowell said. “I had never used the tool before, but in less than 30 minutes I was able to create the required inputs to audit all of the primary haul routes for a large open-cut coal site in the Bowen Basin.
“All that is needed is rough centrelines for the haul routes to be audited and the design parameters. I was able to run checks on ramp gradients, cross gradients, road widths and bund heights against the design parameters.”