Every asset along the supply chain has many sources of variations and interdependencies. The key to improving productivity is dealing with the weakest link in the chain and managing capacity buffers to ensure the weakest part of the chain can perform, even when other parts of the chain become inactive. Hence, material buffers are key to production rates.
Unfortunately, increasing storage space is capital intensive in the bulk materials industry as it requires scarce real estate and capital equipment. Besides that, bulk handling operations generate dust, often requiring covered installations. Consequently, the question can be raised: how a mine can improve buffering capacity and increase production without large capital projects? iStockpile from indurad offers a smart way of increasing live capacity.
WHAT IS ISTOCKPILE?
iStockpile is a sensor-based scanning system, which has been specifically developed for rough conditions in the mining industry. It fulfills the following tasks and services:
- real-time and permanent volume and level measurement of the entire stockpile;
- reliable dead stock measurement for precise timing agendas (e.g. material that always remains in stock);
- works reliably in extreme levels of dust and humidity;
- one-time calibration with zero maintenance; and
- improved stockpile utilization and better-buffering capability.
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iStockpile visualization which can be displayed on the indurad OperatorAssistanceUnit (iOAU).Discover Dry Cargo to get insights
Modern process control systems have contributed significantly to productivity increases within the raw materials industry. Determining stockpile volumes and positions requires multi- dimensional measurements, with slope profiles often scanned two-dimensionally using a machine’s rotation and positioning information. Later, the acquired 3D data can be condensed to a one-dimensional process variable like cubic metres or percentage filling.
But the machines and sensors used to carry out these calculations need to be fit for the job at hand. Carlo Rothschuh, indurad’s Senior Solution Engineer, says ultrasonic sensors such as acoustic solid scanners are slow to update, offer low coverage and are affected by the noise that comes with bulk handling operations.
“While mounted next to the ore stream and water spray on stackers, reclaimers and shiploaders, indurad 3D radar scanners convinced the global iron ore industry of their superior reliability while having an imaging capability comparable to a high-end laser scanner,” he said.
Knowing these issues, Germany-based indurad developed its 360° radar technologies, which have been applied at over 20 iron ore mine sites and ports in Australia, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. Companies focused on other commodities have also favoured indurad’s solutions with installations in Canada’s oil sands, Chile’s copper mines, Russian potash mines and European steel plants.
They also allow for measurements of the volume and volume flow on conveyors, apron feeders, surge bins and silos, according to the company. Furthermore, the technology can be used for anti-collision eg on bucketwheel excavators, stackers and reclaimers. iReclaimer, for example, yields typically 5-10% extra productivity, allowing a return of investment of much less than a year, besides offering process automation and safety benefits, indurad says.
Deploying the indurad iStockpile solution enables advanced stockyard automation and provides significant benefits for clients by using a reliable, volumetric scan of the entire stockpile area. Not only can production planning with live stockpile capacity be enhanced, the total capacity of the stockpile can also be maximised.
Monitoring the performance of drawpoint feeders (level and volume over each feeder/line) and identifying the problem areas are other advantages for indurad clients. With the help of indurad solutions, stockyard operators can use real-time volume data to plan shutdowns and minimise impacts on production, the company says.
The radar hardware and software solutions developed by indurad enable significant process optimisation in rough environments, which traditional sensor technology is not built for. With the indurad solutions, potential can be unlocked in every mining, processing and stockpile operation across the resources industry, the company says. The 2D and 3D iSDR technology has a high impact on safety, process and inventory control, with the radar measuring principle allowing for high accuracy, while being immune to environmental influences like dust, rain, fog or snow. The indurad 3D iDome Solution has already been installed on multiple copper and gold domes in Chile and Canada, the company says.
indurad enables the introduction of a comprehensive stockpile management system by integrating the iStacker and iReclaimer solutions with the iStockpile system. Rothschuh points out: “The major advantage of the indurad approach lies in the real-time measurement of the precise location of the deposited and reclaimed material as opposed to statistical modelling of where the material should have been deposited.”
indurad plays a pioneering role in the development of innovative products in the fields of 3D inventory control, machine positioning, advanced automation and anti-collision, based on proprietary hardware, software and engineering.
Deploying the indurad iStockpile solution enables advanced stacker and reclaimer control, overall stockyard automation and provides significant benefits for clients by using a reliable, volumetric 3D scan.Discover International Mining (IM) to get insights