3D products show technology advancement in mines
05/07/2012 - 3D Modeling is increasingly gaining more space in the adverse mine environment.
When developing part of its two new systems, Devex relied on advanced virtual reality and computer graphics.
The use of 3D modelling is widespread through games and movies, but it has also been gaining more space in the adverse environment of the mine.
Devex made use of virtual reality and computer graphics in the development of part of its two new systems, which are pioneers in the global market of mine automation — Extreme (open pit mine) and SmartMine.
UG (underground mine) have operation interfaces based on 3D and Multi-touch technology, making the execution of operations more intuitive and efficient.
The mine's computational systems of geological modeling, planning and design are derived from the known CAD/CAE (Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Engineering) and were introduced in the mining sector during the '90s.
The tools allow the modeling of a geological mineral body, generating a 3D environment with geological information and with the contents of samples obtained through catheter and surface holes in real time and with a precision adequate enough for decision making.
Until recently, however, the 3D models of mining were restricted to the needs of decisions regarding the advancement of the mine, with weekly updates.
With SmartMine.UG, a system developed by Devex especially for the underground mining, the 3D technology allows a complete vision of the mine — something that seemed impossible for the underground environment.
From the reconstruction of the underground 3D map, SmartMine.UG offers a new look at the operation sector, providing information in real time about the many levels, tunnels, work areas and equipment location.
New system allows visualisation of entire operation
With Extreme, Devex went beyond. With this new system, the operation control of an open pit mine is visualised in real time in a 3D and intuitive way, focusing on the major points of the mine.
Information such as the location of equipment and the visible areas with its quality/quantity properties is available to the user at any time. It is also possible to obtain animation depicting what each machine is doing at the moment, such as a truck dumping on the load machine square, for example.
In addition, the mine supervisor can visualise all data related to production, locations, teams and equipment through a mobile device (tablet) when performing field work.
Guilherme Bastos, Devex CEO, believes that the ED technology, in a near future, will guarantee a greater detailing level in the mine operation.
According to Bastos, MineInside, a Devex Group company, conducts studies to enable the virtual environment of the mine to have a view of higher quality than that of the real environment.
"The idea, for example, is to detect the presence of fog or snow without having to interrupt the activities of the work area," he said.
"The system aims, under these conditions, to remotely operate a belt tractor in an area with up to 80 cm of snow above ground, virtually visualising the terrain, its imperfections and the snow to be removed."
3D models and virtual reality are allies of remote operation
Guilherme Bastos emphasises that the possibility of trustable communication between the virtual and real environments and the remote equipment will allow new systems developed for the mining sector to be natural options that will aggregate autonomous vehicles, which are being created to operate in the mine, without any human intervention — rucks, drillers and belt tractors.
"The increase in the utilisation of 3D models and virtual reality in the next years, including in our products, is a natural tendency," Bastos said.
"The goal is to meet the most imminent necessities of the mining sector, which are safety, remote operation, environmental management and productivity gain."
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