February 21, 2017

If this question was posed a few decades ago, the answer would have been no, automated machines don’t maximise production. Today, well, things have changed. Automated mining equipment is helping to ensure continuous production. What’s changed over the last twenty years? In order to answer that question, we need to look at a dynamic mining complex.


When we call the mining equipment “dynamic” we’re not referring to machinery that works faster, although that is often the case. Neither are we talking about volume and bulk material transference, a methodology that incorporates huge trucks and wide screens. What’s really being implied is an active programming set up, a system that sequentially processes multiple material streams and electronically curates those streams. Of course, this is still a relatively dumb automation system, so where does the dynamic element enter the processing line?


A systemic circuit is the only practical way forward. It adds a feedback branch to the automated screens and high-volume crushers. Imagine it as a timing belt in a car engine. That belt regiments every mechanical action and maintains cylinder synchronicity. The crankshaft turns the drive system, and every mechanical part has its sequenced moment. Automated mining equipment works in much the same manner, except it’s an invisible digital thread that functions as the timing belt. This feedback is discharged from each piece of equipment as a slice of informational data, all the information a central control station requires to maintain a continuously operating mining complex.


While the geological architecture in an open or subterranean mine pulls the geotechnical strings, it’s the mining equipment that forms the utilitarian heart of the process. The machinery monitors the basic profile of the stream, its velocity, volume, and the discrete size of the sorted aggregate. Belt and slurry velocity are then incorporated into the automated whole so that the processing stations have time to adapt to changes in the flow characteristics. In point of fact, all of these modulated changes occur in real-time, with the equipment addressing the continuity factor by actively adapting to any and all output variables.

Greater processing parallelism is the result here, but it takes bigger trucks and bigger feed systems to accommodate this setup. In order to keep the high-volume throughput continually on the move, a real-time sorting and crushing management system has been implemented. This data-active component then adjusts the mining sequence to comply with the flow of the extracted throughput.


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