Mining3 has been working on the new technology over the last few years, subsequent to safety concerns and crusher damage caused by tramp metal such as bucket teeth, drill bits, tools often remaining in mined material. These can cause a loss of production and - most importantly - a significant safety threat to operators and maintainers.
With the new patented uncrushables detection system, obstructive tramp metal can be identified and diverted before reaching the processing plant. A pulse induction metal detector embedded inside the large steel bucket of a digging machine takes on the difficult task of detecting metal items scattered throughout the material.
The system's variable sensitivity is tuned for an object's target size, focusing on larger, more obstructive uncrushables and allowing for the removal of smaller items further down the processing line. Further, the detection algorithm accommodates changes in ore grade and identifies the type of object.
When metal is detected, the operator is alerted in real time, allowing for the necessary next steps - usually the dumping and diverting of the material. In addition to the operator alert, the system integrates into a control centre interface and allows remote management and monitoring of the process.
This ground-breaking tramp metal detection approach requires minimal sensing equipment in the bucket and commercial versions will discreetly integrate the coil into the design.
Successful site trials have led the project to integrate with larger and more technical machinery. Current prototypes are installed on Komatsu WA1200, Cat 992K, 993K and 994K operating on ROM stockpiles in ore, gold and copper mines across the globe. Mining3's research now focuses on deployability, robustness and optimisation.
Mining3 is currently working with ESCO, an equipment metal parts manufacturer, for the incorporation of the uncrushables technology into its bucket designs and will facilitate the commercialisation of the technology.