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Enhancing Mining Efficiency: The Role of Drones in detecting tramp metal and preventing crushers outage

One of the problems encountered in a mine is engaging tools that have the chance to enter the ore crushers or the mill, causing catastrophic damage.

Tramp metals typically encompass a range of lost components, such as excavator bucket teeth, drill rods, drill bits within blast holes ranging from 12 to 24 meters deep, and even missing dozer ripper teeth. Remarkably, 95% of these incidents are attributed to drill rods or bits vanishing in these deep blast holes.

Image: Ground Engaging Tools (GET)

This "GET detection drone" is technically a supported drone model, including the DJI M300 RTK, DJI M350 RTK, Wispr Ranger Pro, and Inspired Flight IF1200A. It has SPH Engineering's SkyHub onboard computer, featuring the True Terrain Following system and the SENSYS MagDrone R3 magnetometer. The UgCS ground control software skillfully manages all of these components.

The drone’s job is to locate the lost GET before it enters the ore crushers or the mill, causing multimillion-dollar damage.

The general workflow of operations: the lost GET area gets isolated, moved to designated GET stockpiles, scanned by the drone, magnetic anomalies are accurately located in post-processing software, next cleaned with a selected cleaning machine equipped with HP-GPS guidance system, and finally removed to trash bins.

The cleaned stockpiles can get fed through the crushers and mill, recovering the ore without damaging any infrastructure.

Image:  Visible GET in a GET stockpile. The other 90% of lost GETs are buried in the GET stockpiles, ready to be located by the drone.

Magnetometer on the drone collects high-resolution geotagged data of the magnetic field in the survey area. After processing, a map of magnetic anomalies is generated to locate spots that are lost GET with high probability.

Image: a magnetic map for the cleaning machine operator, the circles (their coordinates) are uploaded to the HP GPS guidance system.
Image: GET after it was located by the drone and cleared by the HPGPS cleaning machine.