Engineering & Mining Journal

DEC 2018

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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32 E&MJ • DECEMBER 2018 www.e-mj.com COMPANY PROFILE-PAID ADVERTISEMENT As surface drill manufacturers continue to roll out automation packages and suites, there is some confusion regarding the different levels of automation opera- tors can use to elevate their operation. A common misconception is that automa- tion needs to be all or nothing. The reality is that full automation isn't right for every mining operation. There are scalable solutions out there that serve to upgrade different aspects of the operation. At Sandvik, surface drilling automation solutions are categorized into three different levels: remote-controlled operation, tele-remote operation and ful- ly-autonomous operation. The goal is to help mining operations reach the next level of automation that's most rele- vant to their current fleet status, while increasing production, reducing costs and improving health and safety. Remote-Controlled Operation Automation starts with features such as electrohydraulic controls, chair enhance- ments, touch screens and digital gauges, resulting in a more ergonomic design improving operator performance. These features paired with newer drills allow the operator to activate automated drill func- tions. The term implies that the operator is in line-of-sight of the machine and all functions are controlled by the operator. Tele-Remote Operation Tele-remote operation is similar to remote-controlled operation with one important caveat—line-of-sight is not required. That means the operator con- trols equipment at a remote location with the use of cameras, sensors, soft- ware and vehicle telemetry—operators are required to rely on the rig automat- ed functions. This level of automation results in benefits such as increased con - sistency, extended equipment lifetime, lower expertise requirements and quicker shift changes. By pairing a Sandvik intelligent drill with automation software like AutoMine ® for surface drilling, an operator can control automated functions from a remote location. In addition to the obvi- ous advantage of removing the operator from a hazardous environment, Sandvik's tele-remote operation products allow for multi-drill control by one operator and continuous drilling over shift changes. It's easy to see how upgrading to this level of automation can revolutionize a drilling operation. Fully-Autonomous Operation Fully-autonomous operation is where the operator serves as more of a supervisor. This level of automation means the over- all drilling process is controlled via a cen- tral system, where operations only require human intervention to handle exceptions and issues. This enables one operator to monitor the fleet and increases efficien - cies. The term can refer to a single unit or an entire fleet of machines. Hopefully this sheds some light on any confusion surrounding the budding world of autonomous surface drilling. As automation reshapes everything, from the way we work to the way we drive, it's vital to stay current with the latest new tech- nologies that power our industry forward. Sandvik prides themselves on a long history of innovation dating back to their founding in 1862. They work tirelessly to advance surface mining technology and usher in a new era of industry pow- ered by automation. To learn more about Sandvik's scalable, autonomous solutions visit www.rocktechnology.sandvik/en/land- ing-page/surface-drilling-automation/. Understanding Automation Levels in Surface Drilling Technology Despite the Perception, Automation is Far from One-Size-Fits-All

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