Engineering & Mining Journal

MAR 2019

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Page 28 of 67

MACHINE AWARENESS MARCH 2019 • E&MJ 27 warning functions, which work even when adaptive speed control is not engaged." One example of a solution designed to be part of an ADAS system, but capa- ble of stand-alone operation, is PreView Sentry. It can be deployed to a shovel to prevent it from dinging haul trucks. Preview Sentry leverages a radar and requires no additional software or hard- ware. "The system includes sensors, ca- ble, and the operator interface, all con- figured to work together as a system," Loutzenheiser said. "They could build a primary awareness system for a shovel us- ing multiple radars and our new display." The idea is to put "the operator in a near 360° cocoon of safety," he said. The radar detects both moving and sta- tionary objects and reports the distance visually, on the display, and audibly, by a buzzer. "The way this works is the sensor transmits and receives low-power 24 GHz radar signals," Loutzenheiser said. "It then processes the returned signals to de- termine if an object has reflected any en- ergy to the sensor and reports this to the operator display. The sensor is designed to process and report detections within 240 milliseconds, allowing the operator to respond to any object within the detec- tion zone quickly." On a shovel, Sentry alerts the operator if the swing of the shovel will hit an ob- ject. "This functionality would not be dif- ferent on an autonomous hauler because the radar still detects objects and sends a signal to the vehicle from the loader," Loutzenheiser said. "Integrated with ADAS, the system can prevent, for exam- ple, an operator from turning an excavator if there is a risk of collision." Many drivers quickly adapt to operating rigs equipped with ADAS and other PRE- CO safety solutions, the company reported, and come to appreciate the added conve- nience and safety. They see it as protect- ing them from other drivers' mistakes, not their own. "Although the ADAS features that take over operation of the vehicle to avoid accidents are still quite controversial, its adaptive speed control, night vision and blind spot monitoring capabilities are more widely accepted," Loutzenheiser said. ADAS systems are used in mine sites around the world and have more recently seen an uptick in interest from sites in South Africa, where new legislation man- dates automated safety solutions on large equipment. For example, "we have done a lot of ADAS with operational machin- ery in the Sishen mine located in central South Africa in Kathu, Northern Cape," Loutzenheiser said. Sishen, with some of the largest iron ore reserves in the country, originally sought an active braking system for Kumba's haul trucks. It ultimately adopted some PRECO solutions as part of a bigger strategy to im- prove mine site safety in general. The move could prove to be part of a trend for which PRECO is well-positioned. "With our many international dealers, such as APS and Trysome in South Africa, PRE- CO is able to integrate our systems with machines already in different stages of au- tomation and ADAS," Loutzenheiser said. "We have also partnered with BEML in In- dia where we work our systems into their haul trucks," he said. "In the mines in India they require collision avoidance sys- tems on haul trucks, so they have a high level of interest in ADAS and automation." Such interest is backstopped by the company's long history in the space. "We estimate they have more than 930 haul trucks set up with our systems," Loutzen- heiser said. "PRECO has been developing this technology for more than 10 years, and has been a part of the safety technol- ogy industry for more than 70 years." Giving Situational Awareness Hexagon Mining reported two capabilities within MineOperate Pro OP help coordi- nate the tasks of shovels, trucks and doz- ers to increase productivity and reduce safety risks. High- and low-precision shovels and dozers can leverage the onboard software and that of a centralized server, Hexagon's Fleet Management System (FMS), to co- ordinate cleanup at the loading site. The flipside of the coin is a capability that coor- dinates trucks and dozers at the dump site. Both capabilities "come from a cus- tomer who wanted to avoid metal-to-metal accidents and become more productive," Marcelo Romero, senior product portfolio manager, Hexagon Mining, said. "After the customer tested them, they expanded the good practice for the rest of their mines." At the loading site, the goal is to keep the dozer out of the way of the haulers. "It is an unproductive situation because now the shovel and truck are waiting for the dozer to finish cleaning up," Romero said. "In contrast, when a customer has OP Pro and FMS, both equipment are feed- ing and fed with real-time data, and know when the next truck will arrive," he said. "It informs operators of the time needed by the dozer for the cleanup task." Contrast that with the more tradition- al methods. "Cleaning up is a common task and relies on radio communication," Romero said. "Usually, the radio chan- nels are busy and don't give enough time for people to coordinate." The onboard software, MineOperate OP Pro, which runs the cleanup functionality, "is configurable," Romero said, and it "com- municates with FMS, which "facilitates the communication between equipment and keeps records of the communications." Assignments are queried and accepted using onboard FMS panels. If the loading area needs to be cleaned, either the shovel or the dozer operator can query the other for cleanup task execution. "The operator uses the panel for this request," Romero said. Either operator starts by selecting the shovel. "For instance, shovel SH01," Rome- ro said. "The system creates this relation and provides information on the dozer panel when the next truck will arrive at SH01." The recipient of the request, which can be either the dozer or the shovel, can either accept or reject the request. "Addi- tional to the workflow, the dozer operator can select which shovel side, left or right, to clean up," Romero said. With the impending release of new hardware, "the communication will pass directly between equipment without the need to rely on Wi-Fi infrastructure," Romero said. "It will help the equipment interaction in areas where the mine doesn't have network wireless infrastructure." Coordinating dozer and truck tasks at the dump site is made possible and bene- fitted by the same systems. "Because the areas can be huge, the truck operators are not always clear where they need to dump the material," Romero said. "Additionally, as a normal process, the truck dumps the material and a dozer pushes the material. When the operators don't know or remem- ber where they need to dump, the materi- al is spread out all over the place, which makes dozer work inefficient and unsafe." The solution offers both guidance to truck operators and the next truck arrival time to the dozer. "Heavy equipment have a lot of blind spots," Romero said. "Be- cause all equipment positions are on the equipment screens, it gives situational awareness to avoid potential risks."

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