Project objective and strategic importance
For high-performance underground mining operations a 24/7 days operability of the shafts is essential for the success of the mining operation in terms of cost, performance, efficiency and safety.
Therefore, mine companies have serious interest in cost and time efficient, as well as safe technologies to monitor, inspect and maintain their shafts.
In addition, mining companies are obliged to carry out monitoring and control of their shafts as a mandatory part of the operational permissions by the mining authorities.
The project will enhance already existing technologies (TRL* 5) towards a fully automated process of shaft inspection, which will finally be integrated into the overall control process of an autonomous mine.
It is planned to establish a system prototype and to demonstrate this prototype in an operational environment, in this case an active mine shaft (TRL 7).
*TRL = Technology Readiness Level
Impressions from existing technologies
DMT (as leading partner) has already developed systems and services for monitoring and remote control of vertical mine shafts, which have already been validated and demonstrated successfully in relevant environments. However, the existing products and services are highly-specialized technologies operated by experts and need further developments towards fully automated shaft inspection.
Automated Shaft Inspection System is ready for testing
The iDeepMon team has now developed the prototype system for automated shaft inspection. The hardware system consists of 8 high resolution cameras on circumference with also 8 lighting bars. Four processor boards acquire data and store it onto SSD-Memory. A slot for a Pilot3D is used for navigation. The Pilot3D can be initialized externally and then be pushed into one of the slots, eliminating the need to rotate the complete system for initialization. The system is powered by a large onboard battery. A LAN-WIFI-Accesspoint makes the system-parts accessible from outside. Custom made control logic handles depth correlated illumination and image acquisition.
Software tools for process steering, data registration, easy data handling and first data analysis have been also developed by the different project partners.
Final steps in 2018 are the system calibration in a certified calibration lab and prototype tests in real mine shaft environment. For 2019 the market launch of the first automated regular/permanent shaft inspection system is planned as support system for visual shaft inspections. On long-term perspective the iDeepMon system will be applicable to replace the traditional visual inspection totally.