Tag Archives: Optimine

Sandvik expands battery-electric drill range with new top hammer DL422iE

Sandvik is continuing to grow its battery-electric equipment offering, launching its fully automated and electric driveline-equipped DL422iE top hammer longhole drill.

The driveline system on the new rig eliminates diesel emissions while tramming, increasing productivity while reducing environmental impact and fostering a healthier work environment, the company says.

Back in October after Sandvik’s Innovation in Mining virtual event, the company confirmed to IM that it was testing a battery-equipped prototype DL422iE unit in Canada ahead of a planned launch in the March quarter of 2021.

The zero-emission Sandvik DL422iE joins the Sandvik DD422iE as the company’s second battery-driven underground drill, with the company expecting to offer a full range of battery-tramming rigs covering all underground drilling applications by the end of 2021.

The new Sandvik DL422iE is designed for underground mass mining in 4 x 4 m or larger production drifts. It features the latest intelligent technology to enable continuous and unmanned operation, with automation and teleremote for drilling during shift changes and breaks, Sandvik says. Through these and other features, combined with data collection and transfer through wireless networks, the Sandvik DL422iE helps to ensure improved equipment utilisation and productivity.

The new longhole drill is capable of drilling vertical and inclined fans and single or parallel Ø89-127 mm long holes up to 54 m in depth using ST58 and ST68 tube rods. It is equipped with the powerful 33 kW HF1560ST longhole rock drill, which is based on a proven concept in terms of drilling capacity, reliability and operating cost, the company said.

With an impact frequency of 40-45 Hz and optimised percussion dynamics for ST68 tubes, the Sandvik DL422iE delivers optimal bit-to-rock contact for improved energy transfer, according to Sandvik. This leads to decreased stress level in rock tools, lower coupling/front housing temperatures and extended service life for shank adaptor and tube.

As standard, the Sandvik DL422iE is equipped with Sandvik’s Platinum drilling automation package for continuous and automated production drilling. This is combined with the i-Class iSOLO drilling control system to maximise productivity and enhance accuracy in drilling fans and parallel long holes. “It acts as a full-time stinger control and is used in uploading drill plans to the control system, with drill plan management direct at the user interface to ensure one-hole automation drilling to a predefined depth,” Sandvik says. “Furthermore, feed and boom positioning to the next hole are automatic, while data is transferred via WLAN ethernet connection.”

In addition to the standard Platinum package, the Sandvik DL422iE can be equipped with an optional automatic bit changer, enabling autonomous drilling of complete fans and working through shift changes.

On top of being equipped with MySandvik remote monitoring, units can also be integrated with AutoMine® and OptiMine®, providing multi-unit control and fan-to-fan remote tramming, Sandvik says.

“As the industry’s focus on sustainability increases, Sandvik’s latest drilling solutions specifically address the challenge of providing enhanced operational drilling performance combined with reduced emissions,” the company explained.

The Sandvik DL422iE is mounted on a C400E 4-wheel drive frame steered carrier equipped with an electric driveline system (battery package and electric motor) for zero diesel emissions and reduced operating costs. The batteries can be charged during drilling in a newly patented feature, while electric power can be drawn from the electrical supply system from the mine’s network.

“[The] Sandvik DL422iE helps mines reduce overall emissions and ventilation and fuel costs, and to create a healthier working environment,” Sandvik says. “Thanks to shorter cycle times and increased drilling capacity, [the] Sandvik DL422iE has the potential to help mines increase drilled meters per shift by up to 10%. Productivity can increase by up to 20% via improved equipment utilisation.”

The longhole drill is equipped with the ZR35 telescopic boom and horseshoe type boom support with telescopic jacks for maximum drilling stability, the most effective foundation for accurate longhole drilling in mass mining, according to Sandvik. The wide 3,000 mm total boom offset and 620 mm telescopic extension allows a pivot line height of 2,100 mm, which is typical for a wide range of mining methods.

The 360º feed roll-over, large boom tilt and swing angles ensure fan drilling versatility in 4 x 4 m or larger cross sections and, to ensure maximum accuracy in alignment, the boom is instrumented with electronic parallelism. An optional extended boom support allows for up to +/-45° feed tilt in drilling fans or long holes, which, Sandvik says, increases versatility in downhole drilling in stopes at the end of the orebody, in drilling long holes in the ore/waste contact and in slot raise drilling.

Net penetration rates with air-mist flushing are up to 15% higher on the Sandvik DL422iE when compared with water flushing, according to the company. The drill rig can be equipped with a CT80 onboard screw compressor (8 cu.m/min at 7 bar), which ensures efficient flushing and high net penetration rates. The use of the on-board air supply, meanwhile, is a cost-efficient alternative to mine air infrastructure or portable units, the company says.

Exyn and Sandvik OptiMine auto drone integration tested at Rupert Resources project

Exyn Technologies has announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to integrate its data into Sandvik’s analytics and process optimisation suite, OptiMine®.

By synthesising critical data and capabilities, Exyn and Sandvik are helping mining customers transform their underground operations to be safer, more productive and more efficient, the companies say.

Back in July, the two companies signed an agreement to work together “to provide efficient solutions for mapping and visioning underground mines, which will make a substantial difference when it comes to mine locations that are hazardous, hard to reach or conventionally time-consuming to survey and inspect”.

In the latest release, the two said: “Using Exyn’s industrial-grade autonomous drone, ExynAero, mining companies can harness completely pilotless flight to access impossible-to-reach data with maximum safety. The data collected is processed using Exyn’s on-board 3D mapping technology – powered by ExynAI – which is then integrated with Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer solution for analysis and optimisation of underground mining production and process.”

The partnership allows mining customers to benefit from comprehensive underground aerial 3D mapping with progressive visualisation that increases overall transparency of mining operations – including for GPS-denied, hard-to-reach, or hazardous areas, or locations that would be time-consuming to survey and inspect using conventional methods, according to the companies.

Exyn and Sandvik deployed this integrated solution at gold exploration and development company Rupert Resources’ Pahtavaara project in Finland, using the ExynAero drone to autonomously create a 3D point cloud of an underground stope. This 3D data was then uploaded to Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer and georeferenced to the CAD mine model for further analysis and visualisation.

David Hallett, Vice President, Business Unit Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “This step in our partnership with Exyn is critical. Our teams have been working closely together to ensure the connection between Exyn and Sandvik’s systems would be seamless and easy for operators to use. When this feature gets rolled out to the market as part of OptiMine, it will allow our customers to analyse Exyn’s high-resolution, aerial maps in OptiMine.

“After this demonstration, we look forward to further developing our partnership and integrating our hardware and software systems in the coming months.”

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, added: “We’re very proud to expand our partnership with Sandvik and to deliver the key benefits of safety and operational efficiency to all the humans involved in the mining industry.

“By offering world-class software and technology, we have given customers the ability to map areas underground they could never before reach. Our end goal is to be an integral part of fully autonomous mining operations and I’m confident that through our partnership with Sandvik, we’re one step closer.”

Exyn and Sandvik have more product integrations in the plans, they said.

Sandvik’s McCoy on ‘getting the basics right’ in digital transformation projects

The application of digital tools is key to continuously improving efficiencies in underground mines, Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says.

McCoy says the choice of digital tools needs to be based on each operation’s key performance indicators (KPIs). This is because the solutions that are implemented will be focused on monitoring and managing those KPIs. He then recommends a phased approach to introducing digital tools to an operation.

“The starting point is always machine telemetry and basic production or productivity reporting,” he says. “From there, the solutions can be expanded.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has extensive experience in designing and implementing digital tools, including equipment health monitoring and process management. Its AutoMine® automation offering operates on 59 mining sites globally, while its OptiMine® suite of digital solutions is active on 66 connected sites. The ‘My Sandvik’ customer portal, a web-based digital hub, serves 214 sites and its Newtrax technology in wireless IoT connectivity is operating on 115 sites.

“Monitoring equipment health through My Sandvik Digital Services Solutions allows users to draw down telemetry data from their equipment in real time,” he says. “The data is automatically compiled into the required report format for quick analysis and response.”

The next aspect to be addressed is the actual management of the process being monitored, he says. This is where Sandvik’s Task Management and Scheduler – part of its Optimine suite of digital solutions – can be applied.

“This allows a tablet to be fitted to an item of equipment so that an underground operator can accept tasks and provide real-time progress reports on those tasks,” he says. “The more advanced the equipment, the more data can be extracted and communicated automatically without operator intervention.”

The solutions allow for data to be recorded on equipment’s key operations – such as the weight of loads in a loader bucket. Telemetry on the equipment gives valuable insight into the equipment’s availability and performance so management can respond.

“When starting digital journeys, the focus must be on improving current operations,” McCoy says. “This means getting work started on time, for instance, before moving onto optimisation efforts. Most digital implementations will battle if the starting point is trying to increase productivity before getting the basics right.”

Sandvik expands productivity and safety-focused offering with new OptiMine modules

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says it has devised the most comprehensive solution for optimising underground hard-rock mining production and processes with new OptiMine® functionality.

Continuing the development of this platform, the newest OptiMine modules expand the existing offering focused on increasing productivity and improving safety, the company says. The new functionalities include smart scheduling, evacuation assistance, and a playback feature.

“Sandvik has always worked with customers around the world to address the key issues that affect productivity and safety,” it said. “And, with customer focus in mind, our engineering team develops new digital solutions to increase operational effectiveness. These tools connect thousands of pieces of Sandvik and non-Sandvik equipment around the world. The latest extensions to the OptiMine suite of solutions add enhanced visibility and control.”

OptiMine Evacuation Assistant (pictured) visualises an evacuation mode, searching for the nearest safe places underground and providing the visibility of personnel locations, according to the company. It guides personnel to the nearest rescue chamber depending on their locations and rescue chamber capacities, making sure they were able to reach a rescue chamber safely. It helps to execute evacuation timely and to focus on things that matter the most, Sandvik says.

OptiMine Playback is built on the 3D Mine Visualizer module and allows to view historical recorded data of locations and statuses of all assets and people that were underground during the selected time period.

OptiMine Smart Scheduling allows automatic adjustment of production plans based on actual shift completion results. It substantially streamlines the process for the execution of the mine’s production plan most efficiently, according to Sandvik.

OptiMine is a powerful suite of digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes. It integrates with Newtrax IoT devices, delivering data from all assets, people, and equipment – including non-Sandvik equipment – into one source, providing real-time and predictive insights to improve operations, according to the company.

“OptiMine is open and scalable, giving customers the flexibility to build at their speed and incorporate other equipment, systems, and networks,” Sandvik added.

Petri Mannonen, OptiMine Product Line Manager, BU Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Understanding and improving operations in real time changes the game. Our customers are gaining higher efficiency and producing more tonnes each day as they act on these insights. Information and visibility of the operations make mining safer, more productive and more sustainable.”

De Beers taps Sandvik expertise for Venetia underground diamond mine transition

De Beers Group has ordered 19 units of high-tech equipment from Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology for its Venetia Underground Project (VUP), in South Africa.

According to Simon Andrews, Managing Director at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Southern Africa, the company will supply a range of intelligent equipment including LHDs, ADTs, twin-boom drill rigs, roof bolters and cable bolters. Amongst the advanced models are the 17 t LH517i and 21 t LH621i LHDs, 51 t TH551i ADTs, DD422i face drills, DS412i roof bolters and DS422i cable bolters.

Partnership will be the watchword in the technological collaboration between the global diamond leader and mining OEM.

South Africa’s largest diamond mine, Venetia has been mined as an open pit since 1992. De Beers Group is investing circa-$2 billion to start mining underground from 2022, extending the mine’s life beyond 2045. The VUP represents the biggest single investment in South Africa’s diamond industry in decades, according to the company.

Allan Rodel, Project Director of the VUP, says the use of new technology is critical in building the mine of the future and will ensure the safety of its people, as well as create unique employment opportunities.

He adds that the successful implementation of this technology holds the key to further improve the mine’s productivity and cost effectiveness, enabling the quality and accuracy required for precision mining. This will also provide real-time geospatially referenced data that supports digitalisation of processes and provide a wealth of data for analysis and continuous improvement.

The underground mine will use sublevel caving to extract material from its K01 and K02 orebodies. Initially the ore will be hauled to surface using a combination of underground and surface haul trucks. As the operation matures, the hauling systems will transition to an automated truck loop in combination with vertical shafts for steady state production.

Sandvik’s Andrews said: “As important as the equipment itself is, De Beers Group was looking to partner with a company who would support them through the VUP journey. Taking a mine from surface to underground has many challenges, including the change in operational philosophy.”

Andrews highlighted that change management processes are as crucial to success as the capacity and performance of the mining equipment. The implementation of the new technology is seldom a straightforward process, and always requires a collaborative effort.

“The expectation of the customer is for a strong relationship with a technology partner who will help them to apply, develop and fine-tune the systems they need, over a period of time,” he says. “This way, the technology is assured to deliver the safety, efficiency and other positive results that the new mine will demand.”

Andrews believes Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology leads the pack from a technology point of view, having introduced its intelligent i-Series machines to enhance remote operation capability. This advanced range combines automation with data management capacity, aligning with the philosophy that De Beers Group has applied to this world-class operation, which prioritises the safety of its people.

Also included in the package for VUP is the Sandvik OptiMine® control system which enables continuous process management and optimisation, focusing on key areas such as face utilisation and visualisation of the operation in near real time. Using data generated by the i Series machines, OptiMine helps mining operations to achieve the lowest operating costs and highest levels of productivity.

Andrews noted that Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is not new to the Venetia site, having worked with Venetia’s surface operations for some years, providing tools for drilling as part of a performance contract.

“We’ve been following the VUP with great interest and were ideally placed to contribute as we have extensive South African experience with mining customers in transitioning from opencast to underground,” he said. “This has involved providing equipment, implementing the systems and getting a full operation running with the latest equipment.”

He added: “Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has successfully completed numerous large and ambitious projects, and it reflects our experience in applying automation technologies from first principles. The learnings from these projects will be seen in the VUP as the mining systems are rolled out. We will take the very latest technology and assist the mine to implement it in an underground environment through a collaborative approach using local skills and supporting it from a local base of expertise.”

He emphasises that the automation will be applied through a phased approach, beginning with manual operation and closely monitoring performance through data analytics. Automation can be gradually introduced with the necessary training and experience, ensuring consistency of operation which is the key to success.

“This will allow costs to be driven steadily lower, using the data from the operation of the fleet to guide the transition to automation,” he says. “We will work with the mine to introduce automation and further data management as work progresses deeper into the mine, and as mine employees become more comfortable with this way of working.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions) is geared to support the trackless systems implemented at the mine through the full lifecycle of the machines by supplying spare parts, tooling and components from an on-site Vendor Managed Inventory stockroom and its other South African based facilities.

Sandvik overcomes COVID-19 challenges to continue machine, solutions commissioning

Despite the travel restriction difficulties associated with COVID-19, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says it has found novel and innovative solutions to overcoming these challenges, ensuring the company maintains its leading positions in the automation and digitalisation fields.

Considering the company first introduced automation solutions into its product offering some 15 years ago and digital technologies 10 years ago, it has been leading the way in helping the mining industry adopt and embrace the modernisation revolution.

“The African mining industry has traditionally shied away from embracing new technologies, but COVID-19 has been the push factor in accelerating the necessity to adopt change, and this has happened rapidly as mines have had to learn to operate remotely and with limited resources owing to COVID-19,” Simon Andrews, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Vice President for Sales in Southern Africa, says.

The adoption of new technologies, however, is no longer the primary objective. Finding ways to implement them remotely has now become the focus, Andrews says.

With the philosophy of working towards finding a solution for any challenge, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has  introduced a headset to enable personnel to walk and talk anyone through the process of commissioning a machine and associated software without having ever seen it before.

Niel McCoy, Automation Business Development Manager for Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This offering removes all barriers associated with the inability to connect physically on the ground and is a mechanism of training in itself.”

Coupled with this new skillset and offering is Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s ability to utilise its highly skilled personnel.

“Our top-level experts within the business are no longer time restricted by travel and are able to utilise their skillset across multiple mines on a more frequent basis, something we had never considered in the past but is an exercise already reaping great success,” McCoy says.

As a result of the company’s efforts in ensuring digital technologies, and the implementation thereof, remain a top agenda for clients – regardless of remote working conditions, lockdown restrictions, etc – Sandvik has established a new communication process with its clients that, it says, is paying off.

“Never before have we communicated so effectively or as frequently with our clients as we do now,” Andrews says. “We know more about our sites now than we ever did before, which naturally provides us with the ability to better assist our clients in any areas that we can contribute towards and give input on.”

LKAB warms to Sandvik’s ‘renewed’ LH625iE as second electric LHD heads to Kiruna

Having been on a journey to electrify its operations with Sandvik since the mid-1980s, LKAB says the latest addition to its electric fleet, a Sandvik LH625iE, is performing well at its flagship Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden.

The company took delivery of the “renewed” Sandvik LH625iE electric loader for field testing earlier this year and, according to Per Brännman, Section Manager for sublevel caving at LKAB in Kiruna, the machine’s performance has picked up recently after some adjustments, mainly to the cable reeling system.

“It has completed 350 hours without any error codes or stops, and loaded over 140,000 t of crude iron ore,” he said.

The machine in question is operating down on block 15, level 1022, at the iron ore mine, and the company is expecting to put another LH625iE into action on this level in early November.

“The future looks bright and carbon dioxide free,” Brännman said.

The underground loader, which features a 9.5 cu.m bucket and 25,000 kg payload capacity, is designed specifically to operate in the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. It comes with a total length of 14 m, bucket width of 4 m and cabin height of 3 m.

The basic LH625iE design is well-proven (and based on the LH625E), according to Sandvik, with the equipment manufacturer delivering electric loaders powered by a trailing cable for more than 35 years.

In addition to using the proven design and robust structures, Sandvik says its LH625iE belongs to its i-series, featuring advanced technology, the latest digital solutions and smart connectivity. This sees the new Sandvik LH625iE equipped with Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ as standard. To use the payload capacity it offers, the loader can also be fitted with Sandvik’s Integrated Weighing System, as well as AutoMine® and OptiMine® solutions, Sandvik said.

Sandvik underlines interoperability policy for mining’s digitalisation journey

The COVID-19 pandemic means less people in the mining area, working to achieve the same output; this makes digitalisation no longer a nice-to-have but a vital efficiency mechanism for survival, according to Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology.

McCoy says the challenge when it comes to applying digitalisation successfully is often getting the ‘vision’ right from the outset.

“Most mining companies have for years been working to digitalise their operations, but the difficulty is to know exactly what this process is meant to achieve and where managers want their mines to be in the future,” McCoy says. “Bringing in new technologies means fundamentally changing the way your operation runs, so you need to be ready for the change management that this will require.”

The result is many mines still struggling to develop and apply digital strategies, the company says.

Effective digitalisation, McCoy says, involves nothing less than moving away from the traditional style of management. It means bringing everything towards a more centralised point.

“Digitalisation allows the whole underground mining operation to become visual – as if the ‘roof’ has been lifted off the mine – and to be managed from an operational management centre,” he says. “This gives management a view of all operations in real time, and the ability to optimise the various processes.”

Before any digital implementation can begin, the goal must be clear in everyone’s minds – a picture of what their ‘mine of the future’ looks like, he says. This will then guide the roadmap to be followed for adoption of digital tools.

“Without an end in mind, this will become just another initiative,” McCoy says. “Operations people will be unable to contextualise what the digital solutions mean within the big picture, and how it will improve their day-to-day activities and outcomes. This is mainly due to the data not being used in day-to-day management and decision making. It can never be a ‘side project’.”

McCoy emphasises that digital solutions are not just for managers to see more clearly what is happening on their mines; it is also vital for the people on the ground to run their operations more effectively and efficiently. As a result, there needs to be full buy-in from the start if the intended efficiencies are to be realised in practice.

“The only way of making mining operations more efficient is to understand what is happening and where, and to react accordingly as quickly as possible,” he says. “One of the main shortcomings with traditional, hard copy reporting methods on mines is that it simply takes too long for managers to sort through the raw reports from each shift and identify problems in time to make a meaningful intervention.”

This means that operations can never be properly optimised, according to Sandvik. Digital tools play a valuable role in addressing this challenge, helping mines achieve their key performance indicators.

“A good example of a key performance indicator in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is this: how do we get the best out of a reduced workforce?” he says. “Once a mine has clarified how it plans to approach this, it can start selecting the appropriate digital tools to achieve its goals.”

Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology

Change management is at the heart of the process, based on short interval control and process management, according to the company, with Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s core focus in digitalisation being process management and optimisation, through its OptiMine® product.

There are five different modules within OptiMine that we offer customers, depending on their digital requirements,” McCoy says. “Further digital solutions are also available, relating to aspects including telemetry of non-Sandvik equipment, face utilisation, ventilation monitoring, personnel tracking and ventilation-on-demand through our Newtrax platform.”

McCoy says Sandvik’s experience in this field is substantial, demonstrated by the fact that OptiMine has been installed at about 66 sites worldwide.

He also emphasises that, while industry technology providers have their own specific focus areas, mines need to ensure the different systems integrate effectively.

“As a manager on a mine, you don’t want to have dozens of different login points and dashboards to manage your operational data,” he says. “Rather, you want just a few key interfaces from which you can gather the overview you need. That is why it is so important to have your digital vision and understand what solutions you will require to achieve this vision.”

Interoperability is, therefore, a vital aspect of this digitalisation planning – this is, again, an area Sandvik has been working on, with many of its digital solutions now able to be integrated into platforms supplied by other vendors.

“Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s leading interoperability policy commits the company to working with any other type of information system that a customer has on site,” it says. “This is to achieve the effective transfer of data between systems, to make it more useful for the customer.”

McCoy added: “We are very proud of this policy, and are one of the first original equipment manufacturers to make such a policy public. It shows our understanding of the bigger digital picture and our role within it – aimed at ensuring that the customer is empowered to use their data the way they choose.”

Sandvik goes back to Toro legacy for underground load and haul line

Sandvik is reintroducing the Toro™ family name to its underground hard-rock loaders and trucks, with some of its i-series models set for the treatment later this year.

The Toro family name has been recognised by Sandvik underground mining customers for decades and now Sandvik is bringing back the bull, firstly with the large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i, it said.

“Toro, ‘the bull’, has traditionally symbolised the strength of Sandvik underground hard-rock loaders and trucks since the first model was introduced in the early 1970s,” Sandvik said. “Even though the family name has not been used for 15 years, it has never disappeared from the thoughts of the company and many of its customers.”

For the new generation of Sandvik loaders and trucks, the Toro stands for safer, stronger and smarter, according to Sandvik.

Wayne Scrivens, VP Product Line, Load and Haul, explained: “Safety is at the forefront of our product design and crucial for those who work in or around our loaders and trucks. We also believe that environmentally-sound solutions and sustainability principles firmly belong with safety.

“Being strong and powerful is at the very heart of the old Toro. To be robust, reliable and productive in the most demanding of conditions is part of our heritage, and we will keep that with us going forward. Being smart involves seamless integration with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offering, but it is also about innovation and smart design: eg how we arrange maintenance access, improve efficiency and reduce waste. Developing intelligence on all frontiers is, and will be, one of the key elements of the Toro going forward.”

The large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i now come with several design upgrades aimed to further boost productivity, reduce total cost of ownership and improve operator experience, Sandvik said.

Both loaders can now be equipped with a Stage V engine, meeting the most stringent current emission regulations. Operator speed assist, a new feature that will be available with the Stage V engine option, specifically supports downhill tramming and preserves the equipment brakes as the Sandvik Intelligent Control System can be set to limit maximum speed, the company said.
A new traction control system, available as an option, reduces wheel spin and slippage when penetrating the muck pile, extending tyre lifetime.

Finally, a Digital Trainer training simulator has been added to the load and haul equipment range, offering a compact and flexible solution for the safe training of operators, with authentic controls and real loader control system, Sandvik said.

As matching pairs for the large loaders, the 51 t Toro TH551i and 63 t Toro TH663i trucks will be among the first equipment models to acquire the Toro family name.

Both trucks have recently benefitted from several significant design upgrades including, for example, a new transmission, heavy-duty cooler, AutoMine for Trucks with on-surface navigation possibility and an ongoing Stage V engine trial.

Scrivens said: “Customer feedback on the i-series trucks indicates that overall maintenance costs have decreased compared to their predecessors, the Sandvik TH551 and Sandvik TH663: we have also received the same customer feedback on LH517i and LH621i loaders. Reducing costs in addition to the already-reported positive operator feedback clearly shows we are on the right track, which befits the Toro family.”

The fifth model acquiring the Toro family name is the world’s largest payload capacity underground loader, Toro LH625iE. This features a 25,000 kg payload capacity and is electrically powered by a trailing cable.

The Toro LH625iE loader builds on well-proven technology, but also features the i-series intelligence needed for connectivity and digital solutions, Sandvik said.

Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik achieve teleremote drilling first

Contract miner Byrnecut Australia has become the first underground operator in the world to successfully use a new automation and teleremote package for Sandvik development drills.

Byrnecut introduced a Sandvik DD422i development drill featuring the package to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill gold-copper mine, southeast of Coober Pedy, South Australia, in March.

With COVID-19 travel restrictions preventing Sandvik staff from attending site, Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik experts collaborated via phone, teleconference and email to complete remote commissioning of the rig.

The two-boom rig, which can be monitored and controlled from the surface and features a sophisticated boom-collision-avoidance system, has now been in operation for three weeks, according to the companies.

Byrnecut Australia Managing Director, Pat Boniwell, says the new automation features allow for enhanced drill operation across shift changes – a period when, historically, development drilling has stopped or been significantly reduced.

“We’re conservatively looking at a 10% increase in productivity with this machine through being able to drill extra holes and the machine being used more consistently,” he said. “It picks up on the deadtime, and if it does stop for any reason we’re able to remotely reset it.”

The new boom collision avoidance system means both of the rig’s drill booms can be left in operation during shift change – something that was previously not possible. In the first few weeks of operation, the drill has been able to drill 60-70 holes while being operated autonomously and remotely from surface, the companies said.

General Manager of OZ Minerals Prominent Hill operations, Gabrielle Iwanow, says when Byrnecut approached her about trialling the upgraded development drill, she was immediately interested.

“OZ Minerals is a modern mining company,” she said. “We’re interested in innovation and looking for safer, faster, and more efficient ways of doing our work.”

Iwanow said the commissioning of the drill in such trying times is a true credit to all those involved and the positive working relationship between OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Sandvik.

Byrnecut Drill Master, Noah Wilkinson, says a solid working relationship with Sandvik and good communication contributed to the success of the commissioning.

“People from the Sandvik factory in Finland were able to remote into the machine over the internet and adjust settings that were stopping some of the functions from working,” he explained.

Sandvik’s Global Account Manager for Byrnecut, Andrew Atkinson, paid credit to Byrnecut’s openness to adopting autonomous technologies in areas including development drilling, loader operation, production drilling and ore trucks, which are all engineered for compatibility with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® products.

In addition to the collision avoidance and teleremote capabilities of the DD422i, the new automation package allows for semi-autonomous bit changing.

Another handy feature of the setup during the current period of social distancing has been the virtual network computing capability that allows the control panel of the drill to be viewed remotely on a tablet. This means that during operator training, the instructor need not be in the cabin with the operator.