SiTRACK Dozer Safety for Mines using Trimble GNSS

July 7, 2019 Sponsored

The SiTRACK Collision Detection system was designed to provide a high-tech way to monitor potential collisions between a Dozer and any other fixed or mobile asset on a mine stockpile using GNSS (GPS). The system can enhance dozer safety at mining operations.

The fully adjustable Geofence boundaries and 3D models allow the system to monitor all possible collisions at 50 Milliseconds thus providing in Cab alerts to the Operator improving safety around Coal Valves or Iron Ore intake Vaults.

The system is always easy to install and highly intuitive and uses Trimble GNSS and Rajant Wi-Fi mesh to maintain connectivity between Assets, it has also been designed to integrate into Teleremote and Autonomous systems as required.

This has been achieved by using High Precision (HP) GNSS equipment to measure and detect the proximity of the moving assets in the potentially hazardous areas of a stockpile to an absolute accuracy of around the +/-25-mm range.

While the software utilises the accuracies of these solutions, it can be teamed with a bespoke machine interface solution provider to deliver the operator with the ability to control the dozers semi-autonomously by dovetailing with RCT’s Control Master® Teleremote system to avoid the possibility of collision between assets and other dynamic elements like overhead Stackers, this interface is the next step beyond that used at the Rix mine which is an In-Cab system at this point.

SiTRACK and Coal (Technology)

Post SiTRACK Version 1, that was designed for use on an Iron Ore Stockpile at a large mine in Western Australia, today SmartTech and its partners are pleased to announce we have recently installed SiTRACK on a project that supplied two collision and void detection systems at Bloomfield Collieries at Rix’s Creek coal mine in Singleton in NSW.

The daily operation of Dozers on and around the Valves on the Coal Stockpile has raised many issues in the past related to Dozer safety on and around the intake.

SiTRACK next-gen provides modifications to the Iron Ore version that provides an early warning system for the Dozer operator when the Coal Valves are open or closed using auto on-off switching via a control room interface. It automatically alerts the Operator of the footprint of the void that forms as the Coal is drawn down and measures the thickness of the crown pillar over those vaults providing visual alerts if the pillar is too thin to allow the Dozer to safely move across the void.

Additionally, SiTRACK also allows the Dozer operator to “see” and be alerted in near real-time of the presence of other fixed and mobile assets on the stockpile whether visible or not.

SiTRACK collision detection system which utilises a Trimble TD520 Android Tablet which resides in the Dozers cabin with the Operator as a visual heads up warning system. The SITRACK collision detection system that SmartTech Australia has developed, allows the Dozer Operator the ability to operate near key assets and drawdown vaults that present a clear and real danger to the operator and the Dozer. 

Onboard each Asset a moving Tablet is attached to both a Trimble SPS855 Heading and a SPS555H Position GNSS Receiver /Antenna combination which transmit a high precision spatial position to all other tablets in the network. Using the time stamp and the location information the system calculates the 3-Dimensional separation between each Asset in near real time.

Bloomfield Collieries Rix’s Creek Mine setup

It is through this spatial engine that the system can alert the Operator of potential collisions thus increasing dozer safety. Because of the high precision nature of this engine, SiTRACK has the ability to model the environment the Dozer is working within through Geofences, Digital Models (BIM), Digital Elevation Models (DEM’s), Orthophotography and Lidar Scans and thus alert for any Asset (buried or above ground) that may be a safety risk to the operation.

Within the model of the project we have tools built in that will allow a Shapefile of a Boundary to be modelled in such a way that it becomes a Geofence which is “live and active” in the digital World of SiTRACK.

SiTRACK in Action

As described above SiTRACK relates the operation of the Stockpile, Stacker and Valve through Coordinate Geometry and defines potential collisions using a Zone bubble around the Asset to be monitored. Using up to 10 independent zones layered into three adjustable levels of alert, being Blue (Heads Up), Orange (Slow Down) and Red (Stop), the system provides a safety system near the sites intake valves that is at the very edge of Autonomy.  

For the Bloomfield Collieries mine site in NSW, SiTRACK worked with Tim Gentle, Technical Services Manager to create two working areas (Active Projects) where SiTRACK 2 alerts for one digitally modelled fixed stacker and one GNSS tracked D11 Dozer operating near a multitude of vaults, most of which are covered with Coal.

Due to the mines operation requirement to Open and Close Valve at regular intervals, SiTRACK also “talks” to the control room through a Rajant Wi-Fi industrial mesh radio network that allows them to automatically turn each digital model of the Valves on or off in SiTRACK thus providing the Operator with a further layer of Safety where red is closed and open is green.

Active Terrain Modelling

The latest version of SiTRACK also models the terrain it is traversing at high precision and speed by “picking-up” a Digital Terrain elevation reading at Track level at regular intervals and modelling the surface it is working over at regular intervals.

This ability allows SiTRACK to accurately and quickly display the real-world model of the Coal Stockpile as the Operator progresses thus allowing us to calculate the top of the batter leading down into a Green (Open) Vault in near real-time.

This alerts the Operator that he is about to traverse onto the unstable ground that covers the Valve, part of this alerts is a heads up reading of the amount of vertical cover of coal on the bridge over the Valve. Dozer safety is greatly enhanced by this feature.

This feature also allows the software to calculate where the floor of the ROM pad is thus alerting for penetrations of the floor as well a Geofence that tells the Operator when he is approaching the outer limits of the Stockpile.

Teleremote Operation 

SiTRACK has an inbuilt Tele-remote connection that can be connected to any remote operations area through the Rajant Mesh which includes not just Dozers but any other plant including Trucks, Loaders, Excavators, LV’s and any other piece of Mobile plant. Using Rajant wireless communications allows a non-break to connect communication protocol that prevents not only critical data loss but also gives us the ability to model at least 50 mobile assets at the same time. 

The Future 

As SmartTech Australia and its partners are fully committed to Safety within Mining we have many ideas on the table for future development and would welcome any ideas about how our system can help to keep your people and Assets safe each day. 

For any inquiries please call Brad Dalton on 0488 588 211 to discuss. 

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