Less than two years after the launch of the AutoMine® concept underground shovel, Sandvik surprised the entire mining industry at a global customer event held at its test mine in Tampere, Finland with a fully automated underground machine designed for mine automation. -AutoMine® concept underground dolly.
The unveiling of this AutoMine® concept underground dolly showcases new technologies and features of Sandvik’s current and future products. Some features will be offered as stand-alone products, while some will also be offered as upgrades or options to existing products or equipment.
Our AutoMine® concept underground dolly is not intended to be launched as a commercial product,” says Johannes Välivaara, Sandvik’s vice president of product development and product management for mining and rock technology. Instead, it will serve as an important internal platform for us to test and develop new technologies that are critical to our customers’ mine operations.”
The AutoMine® Concept Underground Drilling Rig is a fully autonomous, automated, two-arm boring dolly capable of drilling without human intervention. This cabless-battery electric dolly can plan and execute all operations for the entire drilling cycle, from driving to the workforce, setting up the hole, executing the drilling operation, returning to recharge, and preparing for the next cycle.
Like the AutoMine® concept scraper, the AutoMine® concept dolly has no cockpit, creating space for an onboard water tank and battery, which in turn eliminates the need for cable or hose connections during operation. This self-contained dolly optimizes the use of energy and power as needed to keep the machine working for longer periods of time.
The drill rig only needs to know which roadway and working face it should travel to, after which it can use data from the mine planning software to autonomously plan its remaining tasks. The iSURE is used to plan and design the roadway profile and develop drill and charge maps to ensure optimal hole placement, blasting results, and roadway shaping quality. The rig also has access to the mine’s 3D model generated through mapping, and it can update and optimize the mine’s 3D model in real time based on feedback from the onboard camera and scanner.
The drill rig learns and adapts to the ever-changing environment during excavation to safely complete the entire task from entry to exit of the pallet face. It can navigate flexibly in tight underground spaces, allowing large equipment to work efficiently in a limited space. Once it reaches its destination, it uses the “Auto Drill Plan Adjustment” feature to optimize the drill map and complete the entire drilling task.
The AutoMine® Concept underground drilling rig is compatible with conventional security access systems but works without area separation. It requires personnel assistance for refilling consumables and recharging, and operator intervention is sought if unsure of changes in the environment.
During the drilling process, the AutoMine® concept underground drill uses an AI-guided automatic bit changer to identify if a bit is worn and replace it automatically. The rig is also equipped with a bottom-hole pipe installer that simplifies the workforce loading process. Drill data is reported back to iSURE or Deswik to optimize the results of the next round of drilling. The rig also uses Rock Pulse® AI for continuous rock feedback to optimize drilling performance.
The unveiling of this AutoMine® concept underground drilling rig represents not only another expansion of Sandvik’s product range, but also another step forward in the mining automation industry!