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3D Scan of Iron Ore Chute: A case study

Deep pit of red iron ore mine

The inspection of mining assets rarely presents simplistic geography. Many are in remote, environmentally hostile locations and present multiple hazards, such as confined spaces, working at height and toxic components.

The key to successful NDT tasks commonly requires bespoke solutions. The following case study is one such example, where inspection data needed to be collected from a high-risk asset in a safe and controlled manner.

The Asset

An inspection needed to be carried out on a large iron ore chute located in WA. 3D imagery and laser scan data were required, with access to the chute being along a ribbed steel conveyer belt located deep below the ground.

The Challenges

The asset inspection presented multiple challenges:

  1. The chute was located deep within the mine
  2. The chute was in a significantly confined space
  3. Entry was along a deep ribbed steel conveyer belt
  4. The asset presented additional risk as it was below a 250,000 tonne iron ore stockpile

A traditional inspection method would involve manual entry. This would require the erection of scaffolding and hazardous confined space entry. To reduce the crushing hazard presented by the iron ore stockpile, this would need to be levelled, a practice that would present spiralling costs of over $1 million AUD per hour.

The Solution

By far the most important element necessary was to remove the need for human entry. Innovative supplier, Invert Robotics, was approached to create a bespoke solution. This was managed in the following manner:

  • The rapid design of a robotic crawler system: This needed to be fitted with integrated outriggers in order for full stability while navigating the ribbed conveyer. This was designed around the existing Invert Robotics crawler system.
  • An additional mounting system: To securely hold and transport a Faro Focus 3D scanner.

It took a month to design and test the robotic solution, which was followed by a successful inspection. The ability to carry out a remote, in-depth inspection of the vessel presented extensive improvements over one carried out in a traditional manner.

  • There was no need for human entry into a highly hazardous confined space
  • It negated the need to level the iron ore stockpile
  • The speed of the inspection was dramatically faster than a traditional method, meaning valuable hours of operation were not lost.
  • The 3D scanned data was of high quality and was able to be compared to previous data that was obtained during asset installation
  • Insurance costs were reduced, thanks to the far lower potential for risk to human life.

This is a great example of how robotic solutions are providing innovative ways to overcome massive traditional challenges when it comes to asset inspection and repair.

Progressive equipment provider, Nexxis, champions such technology and partners with some of the most advanced technology and robotic companies around the globe to bring cutting-edge resources to solve the most complex of problems. This refreshing method of collaborating with customers to provide the solutions needed to increase testing data analysis, reduce risk, speed up inspection processes and reduce costs are the reasons so many companies are switching to the Nexxis way of working.

Contact us to find out more about robotic crawler systems or any of our other inspection products, or request a quote online.

Carry on reading How Robots Are Shaking up NDT Inspections to find out more.

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