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Automation in Mining

Victor Schweikart
FIEAust

What is Automation?
From AUTOMatic & OperATION, by D.S. Harder of
General Motors; first used ~1935
Definition
Operation of machinery or processes by devices, such as
robots / machines, that can make and execute decisions
without human intervention. The principal feature of such
devices is their use of self correcting control systems that
employ feedback
Common (more generous) definition for mining:
Includes tele-remote control
Includes advanced telecommunication & tracking
Semi automation, cruise control, tele assist, co-pilot.
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 2

Automated/Remote Mining Levels


Distance - Communications - Latency

Assist

Model
Video
Commands

Augmented
Reality
Tele-Robotic

Supervisory

Augmented
Virtuality

World
Model

Line of
Sight

Tele-Operation

Virtual Continuum

Autonomy Continuum

Manual

Data
Video
Commands

Short
Distance

Long
Distance

Robot !
Autonomous

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30 May 2008

Slide 3

Mining Technology Evolution


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30 May 2008

Slide 4

Key Drivers for Mine Automation


Improved safety
& working
conditions

Lower
cost/ton

Operators located in safe areas


Consistent operation
Predictability
Increased Utilisation
Improved control of operations
Lower Maintenance costs in many areas
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 5

Automation Applications
Fixed plants
Straight forward with good electronics, control and
communication systems
Pumps, fans, hoisting, conveyors, crushers, ventilation,
chutes, trains, etc.

Mobile/relocatable plants
Is more difficult, but underway
Trucks, loaders, explosive loading, shearers, drills, ground
support installation

Mining Systems

OTS ~ a new concept to integrate autonomous mobile


equipment and automated fixed plants
Automated surface mining
Long-wall coal mining

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30 May 2008

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Surface Mining: What is Automated

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30 May 2008

Slide 7

U/G Mining: What is Automated

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30 May 2008

Slide 8

Robots in Australia

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30 May 2008

Slide 9

U/G Automated Haulage


Wireless
net

Operator located in control room


One operator for several units

Semi-autonomous
autonomous LHD

Production area isolation

Fully autonomous truck

Traffic control
Condition monitoring
Production monitoring
Scalable to different applications

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Slide 10

U/G Automated Haulage


Machine Control
Operator Controls
Dashboard
Module

Chair
Module

Operator
Display

CAN Bus

Machine Cabin

InfraFREE
Navigation
Computer

Machine Frame

Rear
Frame
Module

Engine
(DDEC)

Middle
Frame
Module

Steering

Front
Frame
Module

Brakes
Gears

Boom

Bucket
Weighing
System

Bucket

CANopen
Sensors
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30 May 2008

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Slide 11

U/G Automated Haulage


Maintenance
Planning System

Production Planning
System

SCADA

External
Systems

Surface
Control
Room

Backbone

Underground
Production
Area
1

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30 May 2008

Slide 12

Components
Autonomous
of anHaul
Automated
Truck
GPS
Antenna
Truck
Controller
Brake
Control

Indicator
Lamp

Optical
Fiber Giro
Vehicle
Speed
Sensor
Steering
Control
Valve
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Obstacle
Detection
Unit

Steering
Angle
Sensor

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30 May 2008

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Slide 13

Enabling Technologies
Laser Scanner

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SICK scanning laser instrument that provide range and bearing within the field of view
Beam through 1800 and measure the time delay for the return signal that is reflected
from objects in the path.
Range between 30m and 50m and angular resolution is 0.50.
25 scans per second.
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 14

Enabling Technologies
Inertial Measurement Unit
Inertial Navigation platforms typically provide:

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Typical high quality IMU


-25 to 750 C
Gyro stability about 0.050 per sec
Gyro resolution 0.0040 per sec
Accelerometer resolution 0.005 G
Accelerometer stability 0.03 G
Bandwidth DC to 100 Hz
The main problem is the drift and
immunity from external noise.

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An accelerometer is a device
A gyroscope is a
for measuring acceleration and
device for measuring or
gravity induced reaction forces.
maintaining orientation,
Detect magnitude and direction
based on the principles
of the acceleration as a vector
of angular momentum
quantity
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x,y,z acceleration from accelerometers


x,y,z angle (and often rate of turn) from gyroscopes

30 May 2008

Slide 15

Enabling Technologies
Odometry
Typical odometry using two proximity
sensors.
The pulses from proximity sensors
are counted.

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Engineers Australia

Wheel slip is the main problem for the


application of odometry to autonomous vehicles
The rotation of the drive-line (or wheels) is not a
good indication of distance travelled.
As the vehicle turns at least two of the wheels
slip.
The effective radius of the wheel will change
with loading, ware, and temperature.
Even so, odometry is useful if periodic
corrections are made to the vehicle position.
30 May 2008

Slide 16

Enabling Technologies
Angle Encoders
Other Enabling Technologies
Ultrasonic sensors for distance
Linear displacement
Magnetostriction
Bearing-only laser
Ground-Speed Doppler radar
Cameras
Optically encoded disk to measure angle - like
barcodes pasted around the disk.
The disk is fixed to one machine part and the
housing (sensor) is fixed to the other machine part.
Useful for measuring articulation angle and rotation
Provide analog or digital outputs.
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Stereo pair cameras


3-D imaging (photogrammetry
etc.

Slide 17

Conceptual Automated Bolter


Articulated
Joint

Digital
cameras
Operator platform
for driving.

Mesh
control arm

Scanning laser
Scanning
safety laser

Mesh Roll

Video cameras
(up to 4 may
be required)
Drill, Bolt, Grout
tool

Control Computer
and Communications

Note: top and


bottom stingers
not shown.
Pick or
Rotary
Impactor
Scaling
arm

Wheel motors (not in view)

Support jacks
(may expand
diagonally or to
the rear)

Vehicle
platform

Scaling - Bolting - Grouting - Meshing


Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 18

Geologically Intelligent Surface Mining


Hargrave & Ralston

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Haulage Equipment
Materials scanning
Mining machine automation
Forward sensing of ore
Non-ore material management

6. Advanced extraction equipment


7. Extraction control
8. Sub-surface imaging for selective mining
9. Fleet coordination and safety
10. Selective Mining
;

Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

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Integrated Automation Concept


Production
Target

Production
Management
System

SCADA

Mine Planning and


Control Systems

Automated Haulage
System

Production
Reports
Daily Production
Order

Automated
Ore
Transport

Production
Monitoring Info

Crusher Status
Missions
Teleoperation

Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 20

Benefits are maximized when


automation is adapted to mining process...

Mine Production
Production
Ore
Automated
Ore LoadingOre
&
Development Extraction
Transportation
Loading &
Transportation

Back
Filling

Crushing &
Hoisting

and mines design and mining process is


adapted to automation!
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 21

Automation Support
System Operator (Mine)
1. Level

System Operators are trained to handle daily operation and minor


problems

Maintenance Crew (Mine / OEMs)

Maintenance Crew performs automated system (and machine)


maintenance
2. Level

System Specialist (OEMs / Mine)

System Specialist trains on-site personnel, handles automated


system modifications, and maintains the system on-site

3. Level

Remote Support (OEMs)

Remote Support is available to perform system updates, debugging


and problem solving remotely via secure Internet connection

Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 22

Automation Projects
How to Automate
We first need to know
how the current system
works
its weak and strong points

Then
incremental automation
completely new system

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Change Process
Developing a Vision and
Strategy
Generating short-term wins
Establishing a sense of urgency
Creating a guiding coalition
Communicating the change
vision
Empowering employees for
broad-based action

30 May 2008

Slide 23

Automation: the Flip Side


If automated machines are not properly designed & implemented, there
is a down-side:

Safety
People need to be
protected from automated
machines:
Failsafe interlocks
Safety systems independent
from operating control systems
Follow the industry standards
and guidelines

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Productivity
Upstream and downstream
operations must cope with improved
automated operation else improved
productivity is wasted
Isolated automation operation must
not impact on other activities
Maintenance skills must be
appropriate
Implementation phase must be well
planned
30 May 2008

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What is a Robot?
What is a robot?
It can sense the environment
It can manipulate the environment,
It exhibits some level of intelligent
behaviour
Dr. Elliot Duff,

A robot is a mechanical or virtual,


artificial agent. It is usually a system,
which, by its appearance or
movements, conveys a sense that it
has intent or agency of its own.
Wikipedia

Perception

Representation
Of The World

Decision Making
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CSIRO ICT Centre Autonomous Systems Lab

Sensing

Learning

Robotics is the intelligent connection


of perception to action

World

Action

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte


Research Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems
30 May 2008

Slide 25

Mining Automation Challenges


The mining automation industry faces a lack of
standards and platforms, designers usually have
to start from scratch when building their solutions
Another challenge is enabling autonomous machines
to quickly sense and react to their environments.
Decreases in the cost of processing power and sensors
are allowing researchers to tackle these problems
Autonomous machine / robot builders can also take
advantage of new software tools that make it easier to
write programs that work with different kinds of hardware.
But, more processing power is required to speed up
these algorithms.
Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

Slide 26

Where to Now?
Where to now?

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30 May 2008

Slide 27

Questions?

Victor Schweikart
Manager Automation
Rio Tinto
Perth, Australia
Ph. +61 (0)8 9425 8464
Mob +61 (0)4 3899 8527
Email: victor.schweikart@riotinto.com

Engineers Australia

30 May 2008

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