The company, which specialises in water truck spray systems among other things, said the technology extends the safety of its employees by removing water truck operators from hazard zones while selecting water application rates.
Clive Gray, general manager director at ADE, explained: “The information needed to operate the Spray Zone is gathered from haul-road material audits, where we use friction mapping to determine appropriate water application rates. The use of this particular automation component does currently require manpower. A person is needed to manage the haul road material audits and update the water application rate’s geo-fence as the mine’s network of haul roads change. However, as mines embrace the use of driver-less mobile equipment our Spray Zone is set for the transition.”
Gray said that while the growth of automation will change the mining industry’s employment landscape, this change does still require a strong human backing to be effective.
“It’s definitely not a matter of suddenly replacing thousands of workers with robots overnight,” he commented. “I expect these changes will be introduced over a long period of time in quite an organic way, as opposed to seeing major job cuts. I don’t believe total and complete automation is the way of the future but as autonomous mining grows, there will be a need for people to upskill to maintain this integration.”
Some of ADE’s engineers will shortly begin training in IFM automation technologies.
“Having pioneered the development of the next generation water truck control system we will be looking to continue gradually embracing automation technologies to create a safer and more efficient mining environment,” Gray concluded.