Mining3 says an innovative tramp metal detection system – built into the bucket of mining equipment – is nearing commercialisation.
The company has been working on the new technology over the past few years subsequent to safety concerns and crusher damage caused by tramp metal such as bucket teeth, drill bits, tools and more, often remaining in mined material, it said. This can cause a loss of production and pose a significant safety threat to operators and maintainers.
Mining3 is working with Weir ESCO, an equipment metal parts manufacturer, for the incorporation of the uncrushables technology into its bucket design and will facilitate the commercialisation of the technology, Mining3 said.
“With the new patented uncrushables detection system, obstructive tramp metal can be identified and diverted before reaching the processing plant,” Mining3 said. “A pulse induction metal detector embedded inside the large steel bucket of a digging machine takes on the difficult task of detecting metal items scattered throughout the material. The system’s variable sensitivity is tuned for an object’s target size, focusing on larger, more obstructive uncrushables and allowing for the removal of smaller items further down the processing line. Further, the detection algorithm accommodates changes in ore grade and identifies the type of object.”
When metal is detected, the operator is alerted in real time, allowing for the necessary next steps – usually the dumping and diverting of the material, Mining3 said. In addition to the operator alert, the system integrates into a control centre interface and allows remote management and monitoring of the process.
The tramp metal detection approach requires minimal sensing equipment in the bucket and commercial versions will discreetly integrate the coil into the design, according to Mining3.
Successful site trials have led the project to integrate with larger and more technical machinery. Current prototypes are installed on Komatsu WA1200, Cat 992K, 993K and 994K machines operating on run-of-mine stockpiles in iron ore, gold and copper mines across the globe. Mining3’s research is now focused on deployability, robustness and optimisation, it said.