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Neptec Technologies demonstrates 3DRi-based truck spotting application

World Coal,

Neptec Technologies Corp., a developer of intelligent 3D robotic vision solutions for real time machine automation in harsh environments, has announced the successful proof-of-concept testing of its 3DRi Spot Assist application at Teck’s Fording River Coal Mine. Developed in collaboration with Barrick, Teck Resources, and Peck Tech Consulting Ltd., 3DRi Spot Assist is a sensor-based software application that uses Neptec’s 3DRi (3D Real-time intelligence) software development platform and obscurant-penetrating OPAL 3D laser sensors to improve the productivity and safety operations in the loading area of open-pit mines.

Peter Wan, Teck’s Principal Advisor on Mining Technology, commented: “Backing up a haul truck beside a shovel for loading is a challenging task at the best of times and a system that improves the efficiency and safety of shovel and haul truck interactions offers potentially huge productivity gains for mining operations”.

3DRi Spot Assist uses multiple OPAL 3D sensors mounted on the shovel together with a single computer running the 3DRi SDK and Spot Assist software application to continuously scan the loading area around the shovel and recognise and track haul trucks as they prepare to spot beside the shovel for loading. The application calculates the optimal loading position beside the shovel, determines a valid path for the haul truck to back up into that position, and provides the haul truck driver with cues on a display in the truck during the spotting manoevre. The system supports single and double-sided loading configurations. It also alerts the shovel and haul truck operators to obstacles that may appear in the path, and reports on spotting efficiency to assist with operator training and benchmarking.

Andrew Scott, Barrick’s Senior Director of Mining Information Technology and Automation, said: “Decreased productivity and increasing high costs in the mining industry require us to innovate, it is no longer an option. While full automation if the long term goal, we can see many possible applications of Neptec’s 3DRi and OPAL technologies to create intelligent, real-time 3D solutions that help our operators perform complex tasks more efficiently and with less risk”.

“We are most fortunate to have the support and guidance of our customers and industry partners like Pech Tech. 3DRi Spot Assist is but the first of a portfolio of 3DRi productivity solution we are rolling out for our mining customers”, added Mike Sekerka, CEO of Neptec Technologies Corp.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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