With its focus on innovation in mining, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has introduced AutoMine® Core, a comprehensive automation platform for mass mining applications.
According to David Hallett, Vice President: Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, the platform supports customers ramping up from manual operation to fully autonomous production. Three trends drive innovation in the mining sector, says Hallett: electrification, digitalisation and automation.
“When it comes to automation in particular, the focus is on improving productivity and safety,” he says. “Safety considerations include how people can be removed from hazardous environments, as well as gaining more productivity by operating during a shift change, for example.”
As automated machines operate in a more controlled manner than those in manual operations, there is also a significant reduction in total cost of ownership with regards to equipment, he notes. The launch of AutoMine® Core builds on the success of AutoMine®’s Fleet and Manual Production Monitoring (MPM) offerings, which are used in over 100 mines globally. Some mines have been able to reduce their fleets by up to 50% through efficiency gains with automation. There have also been reports of 55% increases in production.
“AutoMine Core is a combination of 20 years of experience built on our AutoMine Fleet and MPM products,” he says. “We have now consolidated our systems under one platform, ensuring that our systems are interoperable, which greatly benefits our customers.”
A unique feature that differentiates AutoMine® Core is its advanced traffic management system that enables operators to easily control the traffic flow of multi-machine operations. It allows them to handle complex operating situations, resulting in greater flexibility and mining output. Hallet adds that the platform allows a fleet interface with secondary or external systems – such as crushers – that are available in the area.
Furthermore, the AutoMine® Core platform is designed to accommodate multiple levels of interoperability for third-party OEMs. The platform’s safety system allows miners to segment large extraction areas, allowing the simultaneous operations of both manual and automated equipment. Hallett highlights that a large part of the success of the company’s automation offerings is based on working closely with its customers and understanding their unique requirements.
“We engage with key customers in the early stages of our product development and engineering, incorporating their feedback and input into new solutions,” he explains. “This close relationship allows us to develop products that can address the majority of the needs within the market.”