Tag Archives: Hexagon

Mineral Resources partners with Hexagon for ‘autonomous road train first’

Mineral Resources Ltd (MRL) says it has partnered with Hexagon to develop an autonomous road train solution as part of a plan to unlock “stranded tonnes” in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

Part of its mining services infrastructure supply chain solution, the autonomous road trains will form an essential part of the cost-efficient supply chain for the Ashburton Hub iron ore project, MRL said.

To support the development of the 30 Mt/y Ashburton Hub, the company plans to run a fleet of 425 t Gross Combination Mass (GCM), triple-trailer road trains operating across multiple convoys, with each road train convoy consisting of up to five prime mover trucks, with three trailers each, hauling the ore from the mine site to the Port of Ashburton.

The autonomous road train solution integrates Hexagon’s drive-by-wire technology with an autonomous management system to orchestrate vehicle movement, MRL explained. A successful pilot project is already underway at MRL’s Yilgarn operations (pictured) using 385 t GCM triple-trailer road trains, which have been tailored for the specific economic constraints of iron ore and other bulk commodities. During the next two years, the testing will continue, ramping up to 425 t GCM in time for the development of the Ashburton Hub project in the December quarter of 2023.

In this final configuration, a remote operations centre would monitor the trucks, with one operator in control of the platoon.

“An autonomous road train configuration of this scale is a world first and reflects MRL’s approach to continuous improvement and innovation,” it said. “We will initially adopt the technology for our own operations, with a view to offering the solution to our large Tier One customer base, further growing MRL’s mining services business.”

Mike Grey, MRL’s Chief Executive – Mining Services, said: “MRL has always been at the forefront of providing innovative and low-cost mining services solutions. In recent years, we have implemented a number of new technologies which have enhanced the safety and operational efficiency of our long-distance road train haulage fleet, reducing the risks of driver fatigue and increasing fleet availability. The autonomous road trains will take us to the next level again. They provide a safe, cost-efficient solution for hauling ore, which is key to unlocking stranded tonnes in the Pilbara.”

He added: “Being part of the MRL Group, our Mining Services division is in a really good position to trial all of our new technologies on our own mine sites prior to offering additional services to our customers. Our autonomous road trains, combined with our other innovations, are all part of our growth strategy to expand our capability to provide full pit-to-ship, low-cost infrastructure solutions.”

Hexagon and RCF Jolimont donate blasting tech to Curtin Uni and WASM

Hexagon and RCF Jolimont have teamed up to provide 1,920 Blast Movement Monitors, a GP5300 Detector Kit, HxGN MineMeasure sensor software and training, valued at A$1 million ($712,570), to Curtin University and the WA School of Mines.

Recently launched by Hexagon at MINExpo in Las Vegas, MineMeasure (pictured) allows mines to safely and accurately track blasts to minimise loss and dilution with blast movement sensor software. Measuring 3D blast movement and translating ore polygons with Blast Movement Monitors and GP5300 Detector Kit to account for displacement are, meanwhile, critical steps in achieving optimal ore yield, RCF Jolimont said.

“This is great news for mining students at WASM,” Rob Daw, Chief Technology Officer, Hexagon’s Mining division, said. “MineMeasure is the only portfolio of its type and generates significant profits for customers in every blast at over 120 open-pit mines globally.”

The ability to accurately track blast movement is a huge benefit for mines striving to be smarter and more sustainable. Blasting is a highly variable process and ore loss during blasting can cost mines millions of dollars in lost revenue per year. MineMeasure provides customers with accurate blast information that is used to recover all of a mine’s resources, allowing the valuable ore to be sent to the mill, avoiding dilution and misclassification, according to Hexagon.

Sabina Shugg, Director – Curtin Kalgoorlie Campus, said: “We are delighted with this donation from Hexagon and RCF Jolimont. It enables us to provide our students with training in this best practice blast measurement solution.”

Lex McArthur, from RCF Jolimont, said: “WASM is a recognised global leader in mining engineering studies and we are delighted to have provided part of the funding to enable this donation to come together.”

Hexagon, Volvo Construction Equipment to collaborate on autonomous safety systems

Hexagon’s Mining division has announced an agreement with Volvo Construction Equipment to provide autonomous safety systems for the mining industry.

This pact would allow Volvo CE off-road mining vehicles to be equipped with Hexagon Level-9 vehicle intervention technology, the companies say.

The independent and interoperable HxGN MineProtect Vehicle Intervention System (VIS) provides brake and drive-by-wire technology, automatically taking control of the propulsion system of the truck in defined situations, if the operator fails to do so, Hexagon explains. VIS is now being deployed in three continents across 20 mines with trucks expected to be deployed by the end of 2022.

Today’s agreement empowers customers of both companies to accelerate their pursuit of zero harm, they say. Visitors to MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas this week can see VIS integrated and demo-ed at the Volvo CE booth. Demonstrations of Hexagon’s latest autonomous capabilities are also scheduled today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. These include a preview of Hexagon’s autonomous mission management system, which provides intelligent routing in the mining environment, and Hexagon-AutonomouStuff’s drive-by wire capabilities.

Hexagon offers a holistic and integrated platform for proximity detection, collision avoidance and operator awareness as part of a broader sensor, software and autonomous portfolio.

Nick Hare, Hexagon’s Mining division President, says: “We are thrilled to have this agreement with Volvo Construction Equipment, who share Hexagon’s belief that the most important assets coming out of a mine are the people who make mining possible. VIS is a key enabler of autonomy in our drive towards delivering a truly autonomous connected ecosystem, helping customers to improve efficiency and effectiveness safely and sustainably.”

Hexagon to deploy MineOperate OP Pro fleet management system at Sepon gold mine

Hexagon’s Mining division is set to deploy its HxGN MineOperate OP Pro in trucks, excavators and auxiliary equipment at the Sepon gold mine in southern Laos as part of a new fleet management project.

Sepon is an open-pit gold and copper mine located in Savannakhet Province in southern Laos. The mine is owned and operated by Lane Xang Minerals Limited, one of the largest gold producers in Laos.

Since operations commenced in 2003, Sepon has produced 1.2 Moz of gold doré and more than 1 Mt of copper cathode. In 2020, Sepon produced more than 39,730 t of copper and 64,809 oz of gold doré. The mine already uses Hexagon’s drill and blast solutions.

Commenting on the HxGN MineOperate OP Pro installation – to be completed by the end of the year – Shane Boak, Business Manager & General Manager Sales, Hexagon’s Mining division, said: “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Lane Xang as they enhance operations at Sepon mine. OP Pro helps mines maximise efficiency while improving safety, and we are excited to see Lane Xang implement our system across their fleet.”

Jimmy Yana, Senior Superintendent – Mining Operations Excellence and Contracts, Lane Xang Minerals Limited, said: “HxGN MineOperate OP Pro will be critical for LXML to optimise the use of our mining fleet. We are excited to start this new journey in Sepon and look forward to working with Hexagon to maximise the value from their solution in our operation.”

Blast Movement Technologies bolsters post-blast data acquisition with FED 2.0

Blast Movement Technologies, part of Hexagon, has released a new flight enabled detector to safely and expediently retrieve post-blast location data.

FED 2.0 is a specially fitted UAV that comes with improved detection depths of up to 12 m. By adhering to strict ‘stand-off’ guidelines, it enables the swift retrieval of BMM (Blast Movement Monitor) location data, post blast, without the need to walk the muckpile, according to BMT.

BMT released its first UAV detector in November 2019, establishing an alternate, semi-automated solution to retrieve BMM sensor data.

Like its predecessor, FED 2.0 is based on the DJI Matrice M600Pro flying platform, but now features an automated Winch mechanism to lower the detector closer to the surface and away from the main UAV body. This not only ensures greater detection depths but also lessens the interference from the motor and blades, according to BMT.

The Winch was developed in partnership with Australia-based, unmanned systems specialist, Insitu Pacific, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Insitu ensured the new winch technology worked seamlessly with the existing FED ground control software, as well as introducing several other user experience improvements, BMT said.

FED 2.0 features an automated flight control and customisable flight plan. It has a built-in GNSS receiver to enhance positioning information and a vertical and horizontal collision detection system. It can also resume the mission after low battery replacement from the point where it was suspended. The on-board computer allows for immediate processing of incoming data, ensuring access to the movement data while resolving safety and environmental considerations.

BMT CEO, Jacques Janse, said: “With many mines focused on recovering more ore quickly and safely, our FED 2.0 continues our journey towards an autonomous future. This safety aspect, along with the increased detection depths, opens up the ability to use our BMM system in more mines.”

Hexagon adds colour to drill and blast process with HxGN Split HSL

Hexagon has, once again, looked to improve fragmentation analysis within the drill and blast process by adding split colour features to its offering.

HxGN Split provides technologically advanced image-analysis techniques to help mines optimise fragmentation, saving significant costs while improving drill and blast processes, the company says.

New to Split’s solution suite is HSL (Hue, Saturation and Luminance), a colour analysis feature that empowers mine operators with real-time detection of ore types.

“Real-time tracking of product types allows for immediate decision making to optimise rock-size reduction and product-type treatments,” Hexagon says. “The new feature further supports operational efforts to improve product throughput and ore recovery.”

This is important when mining operations are continuing to maximise existing resources, using value-added technologies.

HSL’s key benefits include:

  • The ability to monitor product type blending for optimum processing;
  • Reduce ore dilution by tracking product source mining;
  • Maximise throughput with consistent product delivery to the plant; and
  • Immediately adjust ore recovery treatments based upon product type.

“Hue, Saturation and Luminance values are measured during live plant production and provide a statistically relevant sample required to aid decision making,” Hexagon says. “A colour wheel is applied to the images to provide calculated HSL values for every processed iteration. Evaluation of the Split HSL values are correlated to the mine geologic product types to find the unique image property signatures.”

The HSL values are measured for the image samples to be trended on live operator screens. Step changes in the Split results provide immediate indicators for product type changes that signal the need for operational responses, Hexagon says.

Timely decisions surrounding the operating conditions lead to improved plant throughput and product recovery, while additional detailed measurements for individual rock particles can be measured using the same Split HSL measurements to find the ratios of the product type blends.

The company concluded: “Drill and blast is a notoriously complex, multi-layered process. HxGN Split’s image processing technology delivers high-quality information, ensuring the key step of fragmentation analysis is managed from drill to mill, thus improving mine profits.”

Gold Fields installs CAS safety solution at Tarkwa gold mine

Gold Fields is upping the safety stakes at its Tarkwa gold mine in Ghana, employing a collision avoidance system (CAS) that should reduce the number of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-personnel interactions at the open-pit operation.

Having installed a fatigue management system back in 2012-2013 – which saw equipment interactions and accidents decrease – the company has now purchased the HxGN MineProtect Collision Avoidance System Pro as part of a “discrete, dedicated project”, a company spokesperson confirmed to IM.

Hexagon says the CAS Pro system protects all mining vehicles, assets and vehicle operators within 500 m of the installed cab-based unit in open-pit mines.

The solution provides 360° awareness for surrounding vehicles and selected assets, as well as a collision avoidance function based on path prediction, the company explained.

Using GNSS and RF technologies, the solution enjoys high operator adoption because of minimal nuisance alarms and enhanced safety for all mine and vehicle types, according to Hexagon.

The Gold Fields spokesperson said CAS Pro was being used in line with Earth Moving Equipment Safety Roundtable (EMESRT) guidelines. The solution includes operator awareness and advisory controls, the spokesperson added.

As part of the project, Gold Fields has issued 150 personal tags to employees working near operating equipment, including spotters and samplers. The operating equipment to benefit from the new solution includes 84 dump trucks, 21 excavators, 65 pieces of ancillary fleet (including loaders, dozers and service trucks) and 100 light vehicles (50 with fixed CAS units and 50 with removable units).

While the CAS solution does not include anti-braking functionality, it does have a range of other intervention procedures, according to the spokesperson.

“Stopping a plus-200 t haul truck in milliseconds in an open-pit environment may create other hazards,” the spokesperson explained.

Hexagon’s Mining and Trysome commit to South Africa mine safety partnership

Hexagon’s Mining division has announced a five-year partnership with Trysome Auto-Electrical Engineering in South Africa.

The long-term agreement renews a relationship established more than a decade ago to support Hexagon’s integrated life-of-mine solutions, particularly its MineProtect safety portfolio, the company said, adding that systems ensuring collision avoidance, operator alertness, personal protection, reverse assist and vehicle intervention are among the solutions offered.

Both companies believe the agreement will be particularly welcome news for mines seeking the technology and service to comply with South Africa’s safety regulations for all Trackless Mobile Machinery, such as trucks, Hexagon said. This includes Level-9 autobraking and intervention controls, which require technologies that automatically intervene and take some form of machine control to prevent or mitigate an unsafe action.

“Backed by global support and product development, trained technicians in Hexagon and Trysome’s Johannesburg offices are well situated to help customers meet new DMR (Department of Mineral Resources) standards,” Hexagon said. “Hexagon’s MinePlan portfolio integrates the market-leading collision avoidance system (CAS) with a vehicle intervention system (VIS). VIS automatically takes control of a machine if the operator does not react appropriately to a CAS warning.”

Andrew Crose, EMEA Managing Director for Hexagon’s Mining division, said: “Like our customers, we’re serious about safety so this is a timely agreement between our companies. We’re proud of the work we’ve done with Trysome over the last decade and excited to extend this relationship to help companies pursuing zero harm throughout southern Africa.”

Trysome COO, Gunter Haacke, said:”Hexagon’s international experience and Trysome’s 28 years of African market expertise, infrastructure, and coverage are ideally suited for customers complying with safety legislation. With more than 150 skilled technicians and a team of specialist engineers, Trysome is well geared to meet local demand.”

Hexagon MPPE brings about new era in strategic mine scheduling space

Hexagon’s Mining division has announced the introduction of HxGN MinePlan Project Evaluator (MPPE), a strategic planning software tool that, the company says, optimises ultimate pits and life-of-mine strategic schedules.

MPPE is part of the Engineering suite of products in the MinePlan portfolio, which built on almost 50 years of development and is proven in mines worldwide, Hexagon said.

“Today’s release provides mine planners with the familiar methodology to generate ultimate pits, plus an abundance of new functionality when it comes to strategic scheduling,” the company added.

Featuring a modern interface, MPPE allows planners to consider multiple potential scenarios both in the pit optimisation and scheduling process using robust case management tools. Reports are integrated into the interface and can be exported to many formats for inclusion in other documents. Pit-by-pit graphs can also be quickly created to identify the ideal ultimate pit.

Dustin Meisburger, Product Manager, said MPPE begins a new era in the strategic scheduling space: “MPPE scheduling uses the same MILP (Mixed Integer Linear Programming) optimisation technology that has made MinePlan Schedule Optimizer the industry standard.”

He added: “Together, these solutions make for a formidable engineering package that enables pit optimisation and strategic scheduling to maximise net present value.

“Planners will be able to quickly generate a large number of mining schedule scenarios, with NPV optimised over the life of the mine using multi-period schedule optimisation. This will help to increase overall project NPV by ensuring the best mining strategy is selected.”

Hexagon to fill the rockfall monitoring void with IDS GeoRadar RockSpot

Hexagon AB has announced the launch of IDS GeoRadar RockSpot, a radar system that fills a gap in the monitoring of natural and engineered slopes.

The system detects, tracks, and analyses the slightest movements from rockfalls, avalanches, and other fast-moving landslide debris flow, according to the company.

“RockSpot creates real-time alerts that can be connected to on-site alarms (eg sirens, automatic road closures or other alert devices). Georeferenced, recorded event data provides advanced statistics and analytics for risk assessment and vulnerability zone mapping, the company said.

Ola Rollén, Hexagon President and CEO, said Hexagon is committed to empowering customers to put data to work and, in the case of RockSpot, “they’re able to leverage data to protect workers and the general public in high-risk areas of potentially catastrophic events”.

He added: “This intelligent safety solution, designed to withstand all weather conditions, continuously monitors day and night.”

RockSpot can identify rockfalls up to 2 km from the slope, as well as avalanches and other fast-moving events, like mudflow and debris flow, up to 4 km from the slope.

With a coverage field of 40° vertical and 80°horizontal, the system can consistently monitor an entire mine wall or natural slope at high resolution with a single radar unit, according to the company.

Hexagon said: “RockSpot’s alerts can be customised sector by sector using advanced algorithms that distinguish rock movements from other moving objects, such as haul trucks, animals and people.”