FLANDERS technology improves blasting safety

FLANDERS’ ARDVARC technology aims to eliminate human presence in hazardous surface mining environments, optimizing operational safety.

Mining is a journey of adapting available tools to the changes in orebodies, rock conditions and operational requirements. It’s imperative that methods and tech adapt and constantly improve to keep up with these challenges.

Over the years, surface mining has been faced with keeping people safe in the face of drilling and blasting. This has led to increased safety requirements, higher rock stresses and operational costs. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that many mines are investigating opportunities to optimize practices to stay ahead of the curve.

As a result of this demand for improvement, new autonomous technologies with a focus on safety and efficiency have evolved and helped reduce operational risk while increasing production rates.

To improve mining outcomes for its customers, FLANDERS developed ARDVARC, an autonomous drill system. The first ever ARDVARC autonomous drill rig was commissioned in 2006, over 15 years ago, with significant results. FLANDERS is taking automation to the next level with additional safety features with personnel and equipment in mind.

360° Machine Awareness is object detection and object tracking using PTZ cameras and LiDAR to detect and track objects surrounding to full 360° around the machine.

Improvements to Ground Topology detection and monitoring in the drill rig’s Autonomous Operation Zone (AOZ) provide critical safety and equipment protection improvements to drilling operations.

The All-Stop system functionality:

  • averts an actual or impending emergency situation arising from the behaviour of personnel or an unexpected hazardous event
  • prevents emerging hazards or reduces existing dangers to personnel, damage to machinery or works in progress,
  • can be initiated by a single human action
  • is available and operational at all times
  • overrides all other functions and operations in all operating modes of the machine
  • Will be maintained until it is manually reset. E-Stop reset must be done through intentional human action.

ARDVARC allows operators to work in a safer environment during blasting, keeping them from harmful processes. The technology also facilitates operational efficiencies, allowing for a shorter blast cycle and providing the potential to increase the number of tonnes mined.

The ever-evolving technology opens up new perspectives for surface mining operations.