Productivity and profitability are two areas virtually every company strives to increase. The mining industry is no exception. While efficient output is key to making money and running a successful operation, there’s perhaps nothing more important to a mine’s livelihood than its safety.
New mining technology is creating opportunities for mines, not only to enhance productivity and profitability, but most notably, improve worker safety. RDO Integrated Controls’ mining technology solutions include companies like Carlson, providing mining technology, software, and solutions to enhance safety for workers in two key areas: on the ground and in the cab.
On the Ground
Survey work on mining sites is a necessity. When done in a traditional way, the manual survey process is time-consuming and doesn’t lend itself to safest practices.
Mines naturally have several hazardous areas such as high walls, existing infrastructure, finished reclamation areas, and uneven, unsafe ground. Additionally, they’re typically busy sites with several pieces of large working equipment, like dozers, excavators, and haul trucks. Anytime workers are on the ground near operating machinery, there’s great potential for serious accidents.
Finally, the manual survey process is labor-intensive, putting surveyors at risk for fatigue or exhaustion-related injuries.
Combining machine control and 3D positioning solutions with site management tools for grade checking and surveying, Carlson mining technology eliminates much of the need for surveyors to be out on the jobsite.
An initial survey of the work area is all that’s required. This can be done traditionally or new survey methods using UAVs are providing benefits for mines. From there, the Carlson equipment and software give equipment operators the tools they need right in the cab. They can see their location relative to an entire work area. The software also produces cut/fill maps, so operators can ensure they’re doing work to the correct specification, without requiring a manual survey of each specific area.
By eliminating the need for surveyors to be out on the site constantly working, they’re taken out of this dangerous environment, as well as putting less physical strain on their bodies.
In the Cab
While workers on foot in the mine work area are more susceptible to dangerous conditions and accidents, equipment operators are also at risk. An operator may accidentally collide with other machines, especially if he or she isn’t paying close attention.
Just as mines have areas hazardous to those on foot, some of those same areas still would be dangerous if encountered in a machine. Site hazard areas include high walls, existing infrastructure, and finished reclamation areas.
By implementing Carlson technology on machines, operators can be fully aware of their surroundings, while still doing the job well – likely, more efficiently and accurately than without it.
Additionally, the machines are collecting and sending data back to review in real-time. Managers can review the data immediately as it comes in or collect and review larger sets from an entire day, week, or longer, then analyze to further encourage safe operation from operators.
For immediate issues, alerts can signal if an operator is close to a hazardous area or another machine, and a potential encounter can be quickly diffused. Longer-term reviewing of the data can help managers see if operators are doing anything that could jeopardize their safety or the safety of others around the site, such as driving too fast or repeatedly getting too close to hazardous areas.
When it comes to improving productivity and profits, the advantages of implementing Carlson mining technology are easy to recognize. Looking a bit closer, it’s clear that many of these same advantages can also greatly impact safety – both for workers on the ground and those in the cab.
About The Author
Chris Nelms is an expert in Carlson technology solutions for the mining industry. In his role as Account Manager, he helps mining operations improve productivity, profitability, and safety through machine intelligence, machine control, and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) / drone technology solutions.
To learn more about mining equipment for sale and other heavy equipment for sale, including new and used equipment, contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.