A 36-foot-long (11-meter) Sandvik LH514 loader self-navigates through a labyrinth of glass panels. The loader detects the labyrinth and maneuvers through its narrow aisles without touching the glass.
“Sandvik automated loaders have been in use for more than 20 years, with more than 2 million operating hours underground,” says Jouni Koppanen, Senior Systems Engineer for Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, in a press release. “Autonomous systems improve safety and productivity for our customers. For the first time ever the entire cycle can be automated, from loading to hauling and dumping. Nobody has been able to do that before.”
“Some of today’s most sophisticated technology is found within Sandvik’s different business areas,” says Sandvik Group CEO Björn Rosengren in the press release. “We’ve always worked close to our customers developing new products and technologies. Going forward, we clearly see digitalization as a key area. It will help both us and our customers to be more productive, efficient, and sustainable.”
The AutoMine system allows Sandvik loaders and trucks to learn the safest and most efficient route the first time they enter a tunnel. Guided by a set of lasers, the equipment’s intelligent system maps out and records a path. Sandvik’s patented algorithms, together with its sensors and gyroscopes, ensure the machine knows where to go underground, where GPS is not possible.
By Kerry Clines