Autonomous Drills · Autonomous Trucks · Wireless Network
Autonomy: the next step in automating mine operations.
At Vantaz, we see the challenge of kicking off this transformation towards an autonomous operation not just as a technological change but rather as a new way of operating.
Mining is already on its way to having operations based on autonomous equipment. This involves a system using advanced technology with the support of the global navigation satellite system (GNSS), which makes it possible for a fleet of trucks to:
• Navigate routes and intersections along predefined courses.
• Move within loading areas and back up for loading, along a course defined by the loading operator.
• Move between dumps, back up, and unload.
• Carry out unloading processes in the crusher.
• Optimize the fleet assignment through a system.
The reasons to incorporate these technologies are diverse, such as improving productivity, improving security, and reducing costs. An example of this is the redefinition of future mine designs where this equipment will operate. In fact, the business case is sustained on the benefits obtained from the reduction of costs in the new optimal mine and circuit designs, increments in equipment productivity, improvements in the maintenance and life cycle of assets, as well as the increase in the security of people, sustainable processes with a better control of consumption and emissions, and obtaining valuable information in real time for the development of predictive models that support ongoing improvements.
At Vantaz, we see the challenge of kicking off this transformation towards an autonomous operation not just as a technological change but rather as a new way of operating. It has new processes, safety protocols, ways of interacting, new roles, a broad and much more integrated governance, and the adoption of a rigorous discipline. Autonomy impacts practically every area of the company, such as planning, mine operations, maintenance, technology, support areas, security, and the relationship between suppliers and local authorities.
Therefore, we see this transformation kicking off with in-depth work on the operational model that sustains the change (including work processes and protocols). This is accompanied by a robust change management, which should be incorporated from the beginning, involving stakeholders from different impacted areas who work together with a business approach. A third and very essential component is a complete technological architecture that ensures a solid control of all the variables and a good data highway. For example, a wireless communications network is required, which enables data transmission from the control centre to the equipment within the autonomous operation zone.