Tag Archives: Robert McEwan

MacLean and Sandvik making headway on automation zone interoperability

Sandvik and MacLean have completed the first phase of a collaboration to provide mining companies with more options for expanding automation in the underground environment, they say.

MacLean and Sandvik are working together to improve automation zone interoperability of production and support fleets, with the installation of the Sandvik AutoMine® system at the MacLean Research & Training Facility and the demonstration of a surface-controlled MacLean utility vehicle, a BT5 Boom Truck, activating multiple AutoMine automation zones delimited with light curtain safety gates.

With this phase now complete, the first key steps in the companies’ interoperability collaboration have been successfully achieved: automation communications infrastructure installation and the testing of a piece of non-Sandvik mining equipment activating the safety gate system.

In a separate press release, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions referred to its part of this solution as AutoMine Interoperable Access Control System (ACS), a new feature for its AutoMine Core underground system for autonomous mining operations. Designed to improve productivity and increase operational flexibility, this new capability builds on the proven AutoMine Flexible Safety Zone by enabling non-Sandvik, third-party autonomous equipment to operate seamlessly in AutoMine access-controlled isolated zones, it said.

The solution enables a mixed fleet of underground loaders, trucks, drills and auxiliary equipment to be managed with one seamless safety system, as long as third-party equipment designs conform to the functional safety requirements specified for AutoMine operations. Non-Sandvik equipment can be retrofitted with an AutoMine ACS Onboard Box to provide the needed interface between ACS and the machine’s safety circuit, according to the OEM.

AutoMine Interoperable ACS, Sandvik says, increases the flexibility between Sandvik automated equipment and third-party equipment by allowing access to a shared automated zone at different times. Each machine can be independently controlled by its own system while operating within the unified AutoMine Interoperable ACS system. This leverages optimised control of each OEM’s machine while maintaining a safer working environment.

Patrice Corneau, MacLean Director of Advanced Vehicles and Technology, said: “If we want to advance the mine of the future where an increasing amount and complexity of automation is available as an option for mining customers around the globe, we need to work differently. Realising that broader, longer-term goal will require collaboration between original equipment manufacturers in the industry, who historically have perceived each other primarily as competitors as opposed to mining technology development co-practitioners.

“This collaboration between MacLean and Sandvik embodies that new way of thinking about the mine of the future and how mining equipment manufacturers can help successfully deliver it to mining companies.”

Robert McEwan, Product Line Manager, Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “While we are confident that customers will achieve optimal performance with Sandvik equipment, we understand the importance of maximising automation’s potential across all equipment, regardless of manufacturer. This technology enables mixed-fleet customers to benefit from enhanced safety and improved productivity with the support of AutoMine.”