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MINExpo 2012: mining solutions for enhanced productivity

World Coal,

Several companies announced new services and solutions at MINExpo 2012 to help mining companies to improve mine productivity and reduce overheads. Although not as eye-catching as some of heavy machinery, these products are vital tools in an industry that is suffering from weak commodity prices.

Joy Global’s Smart Services

Joy Global announced a global expansion of its Smart Service Centres to offer integrated solutions targeted at total process optimisation. This follows the launch of the first facility in Emalahleni, South Africa in 2009. Centres are now open in Illinois and Arizona, US, and Bautou, China, with centres in development in the UK, other North American locations, Russia, India and Australia.

With Smart Services, mining operations are able to access Joy Global’s resources and expertise, along with its control system technology that delivers real-time date from mining operations to the Smart Service Centres. This allows Joy Global to help its customers with total life cycle management from remote health management and prognostic intelligence to performance optimisation.

As well as its global solutions, Joy Global also offers desktop equipment operator training simulators to help mining companies improve operator performance in P&H shovels and drills and Joy continuous miners and longwall shearer systems. Each simulator uses a set of controls that mimic the feel and touch of controls applied to the actual P&H and Joy equipment. A video screen displays realistic equipment interplay with the mine environment, including equipment performance and communication feedback.

Kennametal automated tool management

Kennametal, a leading global supplier of tooling technology and associated engineering services, announced its ToolBOSS™ automated tool management vending and software system for the mining industry. This allows mining companies to keep track of where tools are and in what lifecycle state they’re in: “Having a better idea of what tools are where, what’s new, what’s approaching the end of service life, and what’s out being re-tipped means less confusion and downtime for mining machines,” says Jay Evans, Kennametal programme manager.

The ToolBOSS cabinet can be easily reconfigured to meet the changing requirements of the user. Access to the contents can be restricted by the use of username, password, biometric identification, card readers,or a combination of these options. The machine also has a built-in tray diagnostic port, facilitating improved remote system support, diagnosis and repair. Rapid search and selection of items via the ToolBOSS software is further enhanced with a complete LED identification system that guides users directly to the correct drawer.

Sandvik Mining Service IQ and AutoMine developments

Swedish mining equipment manufacturer, Sandvik Mining, introduced a suite of service products that can be tailored to the specific customer needs. Customers will be able to select services from a menu of options that will be consistent across all Sandvik support centres. The service portfolio is based on traditional life-cycle, enhanced technical and business services, all of which are aligned to improve the overall safety situation, secure competence and knowledge for mine operations and increase customers’ productivity throughout the life cycle of equipment.

Sandvik also launched four new service packages in what the company is calling Service IQ. The four packages in Service IQ – safety, competence, reliability and productivity – will deliver information to the customer’s desk, ready for decision-making: “By combining Sandvik’s expert knowledge of mining application with detailed machine data and an in-depth understanding of customers’ operations, we are able to deliver ‘decision level’ reports that will, in combination with our advisory services, improve our customers’ bottom line,” explains Dan Allan, president of customer services at Sandvik Mining.

In addition to its service offerings, Sandvik Mining also introduced the AutoMine®  product family, which will deliver fleet automation for drilling, loading and hauling, single loader automation, block cave draw control and process/information management systems. According to the company, the benefits will include improved safety due to fewer people working in potentially hazardous areas, increased productivity due to real time process management and control and reduced maintenance costs due to smoother control of equipment.

BMT WBM improves performance of electric rope shovels

Engineering company, BMT WBM, showed its Pulse TerraMetrix RS system, which helps to manage the performance of electric rope shovels, including the P&H4100 and CAT 7495. Recent developments of the system have included a comprehensive machine health monitoring capability using strain-sensing transducers placed on the A-frame and boom structures. These transducers allow the system to track boom jacking and adverse swing events, identify alarm events and quantify the mechanical damage per swing cycle. Productivity indicators provide online feedback to the operator, including average bucket/truck payload, overall shift production, swing cycle time and operating and delay times. The system can be configured to communicate with any third party truck dispatch system.

Just before the show, the company announced a project to deliver the Pulse TerraMetrix RS to Teck Resources, Canada’s largest mining company, to manage the machine health, production and payload measurement of Shovel 30 (P&H4100) at Teck’s Greenhills mine, near Elkford, in southeast British Columbia. The system developed for this project is configured to communicate through the mine wireless mesh to a server in the mine’s administration offices. Data is saved in a SQL database and is accessible through an advanced server analysis programme located on the mine’s intranet.

Dassault Systèmes and Gemcom Software launch GEOVIA

Gemcom Software, recently acquired by Dassault Systèmes and rebranded as GEOVIA, announced updates to five of its software applications for the mining industry – Surpac, GEMS, InSite, Whittle and MineSched. Rick Moignard, GEOVIA’s CEO, was also at the show to talk about the rationale behind the takeover by Dassault Systèmes and the opportunities that it brings in terms of product development.

The French company is among the largest software developers in the world and is ranked in Forbes’ Top 100 Innovative Companies. According to Moignard, R&D is what drives the firm with a substantial proportion of its revenue and workforce dedicated to developing new and improved products. With the deep engineering and scientific background and financial clout of Dassault Systèmes, GEOVIA will be able to develop a holistic solutions approach, optimising not just industry segments but the whole supply chain.

The new products announced in Las Vegas include: Surpac 6.4, available in the first quarter of 2013; GEMS 6.5, also available in the first quarter of 2013; InSite 4.2, available later this year; Whittle 4.5, which was released at the show; and MineSched 8.0, also available later this year.

Leica Geosystems rolls out a “comprehensive mining solution”

Leica Geosystems Mining announced that it would be opening up its entire product portfolio to the mining industry as a “comprehensive mining solution”. Up to this point, the Switzerland-based company had been best known as a provider of fleet management, production optimisation and high precision guidance. Now the company hopes to provide one point-of-call for all measurement technology requirements.

As a part of this mining solution, the Leica GeoMos software will be fully integrated with Leica Jmineops, the company’s fleet management system. GeoMos is already the present at mines all over the world, monitoring and providing safety alerts for slope stability, integrity of overhead structures, profile displacements, settlements in tailing dams and more, sitting on the Leica Geosystems’ TPS and GNSS. Following the integrations with Jmineops, each GeoMos monitoring project will be fully visible along with all other Jmineops data, helping to improve safety through the precision and reliability of two outstanding and already proven technologies.

Also showcased alongside the GeoMos integration was an entirely new class of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the result of a technology partnership between Leica Geosystems Mining and SwissDrones. The new UAV integrates the Leica RCD30 medium format camera into the SwissDrones Waran TC -1235 UAV. Specifically designed for the mining environment, the UAV can fly over pits and along walls (and wherever else required) for up to four hours via line-of-site remote control. In the near future, the unit will be fully automated.

Maptek launches latest I-Site laser scanning technology

In the field of mine surveying, Maptek launched its latest I-Site laser scanning technology: the I-Site 8810 with I-Site Studio 4.0 software. This retains the long-range and panoramic imaging capability of the I-Site 8800, adds some features from the I-Site 8400 laser scanner and provides some upgrades of its own.

A wireless link means the scanner controller no longer needs to be tethered, while a new interface and layout make for greater flexibility and faster set up. Onboard controls mean that the I-Site 8810 can be operated in the field with no other peripherals attached. Optional onboard USB or tablet PC scan storage makes data easier to handle.

A fully integrated compass enables even easier vehicle scanning and registration, while a new calibration for the vehicle mount removes the impact of the vehicle on the compass, allowing uninterrupted capture of reliable data. Further enhancing the accuracy, Maptek’s new intelligent pulse algorithm automatically analyses the multiple waveform returns, giving the I-Site 8810 scanner an accuracy of 8 mm out to 200 m. This makes it suitable for more detailed survey applications.

The I-Site 8810 is teamed with I-Site Studio 4.0 software for faster processing. Dynamic scan manipulation, and improved photo image registration are just a couple of features. Customised toolbars, point attributes and LAS import are all new to I-Site Studio 4.0.

Written by Jonathan Rowland.

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