Dwyka Mining Services, an authorised reseller of Maestro Digital Mine, has used the 2022 Investing in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, South Africa, to premier a new robotic solution that is fitted with Maestro’s IIoT gas sensor.
Boston Dynamics Spot Enterprise robot, equipped with Maestro’s IIoT gas sensor, can be operated on mine sites to detect hazardous gases like carbon monoxide, without putting mining and ventilation teams in danger, the companies say. Ventilation and mining teams will easily be able to add different gas sensors onto the connected Zephyr Air Quality Station, capturing critical environmental data to proactively identify gas or temperature challenges, according to the companies.
Dwyka and Maestro have invested over 10 years of effort and partnership in Africa, all predicated on improving worker safety and productivity in the African mining industry.
Jamie van Schoor, CEO of Dwyka Mining Services, says the established client base of Maestro Digital Mine environmental sensors is allowing both companies to establish mobile technology for broader applications.
“We’re very excited about this integration with Maestro Digital Mine as a future partner payload for Boston Dynamics Spot Enterprise solution and look forward to continually improving worker safety for whole-of-mine deployment with our new best friend, Spot,” he said.
Boston Dynamics Spot Enterprise is an agile mobile robot designed to navigate all types of terrain, allowing organisations to automate routine inspection tasks, capture data securely and safely, and allow for streamlined operations in complex and dangerous environments, the companies say.
Using the Spot Enterprise on-board processing the data is shared wirelessly over Wi-Fi, and gas and temperature sensor readings are captured while the robot is in operation and displayed in real-time via the Maestro Link™ Server application. With the addition of a SLAM scanning unit sensor, like the Emesent Hovermap, readings can be saved with precise coordinates in a high-fidelity point cloud that can be exported and examined in a variety of mining software packages, the companies say.
Michael Gribbons, CEO and Co-Founder of Maestro Digital Mine, said: “Collaborating with our mud-in-boots partner, Dwyka Mining Services, who are always pushing the envelope with technology integration with pioneering brands like Boston Dynamics, is in turn pushing us to innovate and collaborate with our core purpose of enhancing lives by the pursuit of productivity and safety excellence. This relationship will open up immediate opportunities to Dwyka Mining Services and Maestro in Africa and extend mobile environmental monitoring to our current installations at over 170 mines in 38 countries globally using our patented edge-based IIoT sensor technologies once the solution is fully embedded.”
van Schoor added: “We are excited about extracting value from ‘no-go’ and ‘fly low’ mining areas typical at the majority of narrow reef mining operations in southern Africa where the use of enterprise GPS-denied drones become limited. The Spot Enterprise package allows us to access confined spaces and this information could be used to undertake remote gas inspections so that we can accelerate re-entry to target getting ore to surface sooner without comprising safety.”
Mining Indaba delegates are able to see Spot ‘in the metal’ with a Zephyr AQS at booth 908 at Dwyka Technology Showcase Co.<LAB’s booth in its custom see-through kennel, ready to deploy and dock back onto its charging station ahead of its next mission.
With Spot set to perform a number of ‘tricks’ from the stand, the four-day conference will involve experimentation with a series of partner payloads. These devices that can be attached to Spot, extend the robot’s ability to capture and process data, acting as remote sensing devices this will allow Spot to hear, see and smell in a virtual capacity.
Rethabile Letlala, Operations Director Dwyka Mining Services, said: “Spot is an amazing platform with almost unlimited applications. The ability to get live environmental monitoring data ‘on the go’ by extending our remote sensing capability to ‘smell’ for hazardous gas detection from our new robot dog is very exciting.”