Since the launch of the iRIS (Intelligent Risk Identification System for safer mines) innovation project, 5,000-10,000 controls have been distributed to the Swedish market, according to EIT Raw Materials.
The iRIS innovation project started back in 2015 when the GRAMKO (Mining Industry Environment Committee) initiated a meeting following the release of statistics on vehicle-related fires in Swedish mines. The project was further developed and supported by the EIT RawMaterials funding, with the committee represented in the innovation project by the mines of Boliden, LKAB, Björkdalsgruvan and Zinkgruvan.
EIT Raw Materials, which helped fund the official launch of iRIS in Sweden, in January, said: “The goal of the innovation project iRIS is to decrease the number of vehicle-related fires in the mining industry by 20% within the first five-year period. The iRIS inspection tool and the database will be open for use in other fields as well. In order to make it easier to evaluate the future effect of implementing the iRIS system, evaluation indicators are currently under development.”
EIT RawMaterials says the project has since developed educational material for both educators of inspectors and vehicle fire inspectors, with the project team currently working on a certification system to be introduced later this year.
The estimated cost for fires in Swedish mines is €2 million/y ($2.2 million/y), most of which start in vehicles, according to EIT. “Initial studies show similar problems in other countries. Hence, this is a tremendous potential market expansion and commercialisation for a system like iRIS.”
Currently, there are three other potential markets that could benefit from the iRIS intelligent system, such as construction equipment, bus and insurance sectors, EIT said.
The system will now be licensed to create business opportunities for the project partners, with SMEs being sub-suppliers for the mining industry. This should lead to “a safer, more sustainable and more cost-effective mine”, EIT said.
From a national perspective, the iRIS system will include mandatory use of the inspection and reporting tools for necessary information, in the case of fires within the GRAMKO jurisdiction in Sweden.
The team is now moving on to an innovation project FIREM-II (Fire and Rescue in Mines II), which focuses on a combination of wearable technology and wheel loaders aiming to put out fires in underground mines, it said.
The members of the iRIS innovation project consortium includes:
- RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Sweden (Lead Partner);
- Agio System och Kompetens AB, Sweden;
- Aptum AB, Sweden;
- Björkdalsgruvan AB (Mandalay Resources), Sweden;
- Boliden Mineral AB, Sweden;
- DMT GmbH & Co. KG, Germany;
- Luleå University of Technology (LTU), Sweden;
- Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB), Sweden;
- RISE Research Institutes of Sweden Holding AB, Sweden;
- SMP Svensk Maskinprovning AB, Sweden;
- Zinkgruvan Mining AB (Lundin Mining Corporation), Sweden.