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Automation in mining

auto300x200Principal researchers: Martin Adams, Manuel Duarte, Claudio Pérez, Javier Ruiz del Solar.
Academic Associate Researchers: Pablo Estévez, Marcos Orchard.
Associate researchers: Carlos Aravena, Mauricio Correa, Patricio Loncomilla, Mauricio Mascaró, Sebastián Parra, Juan Puentes, Carlos Tampier, Paul Vallejos.
Postdoctorates: Norelys Águila, Javier Correa, Francisco Galdames, Bruno Grossi, Keith Leung, Freddy Milla.
Ph.D students: Fernando Bernuy, Carlos Celemín, Daniel Herrmann, Felipe Inostroza, Francisco Jaramillo, Leonardo Leottau, Luz Martínez, Ghayur Naqvi, Carlos Navarro, David Nova, Wilma Pairo, Juan Pablo Pérez, Loreto Sánchez, Daniel Schulz, Claudio Tapia, Juan Tapia, Sebastián Ulloa, Jorge Vergara, José Miguel Yáñez.
MSc. students: Pablo Cano, Javier Gallegos, Enrique Guerrero, Matías Mattamala, Pedro Orellana, David Valenzuela.

Fundamentals

Using tolos of digital images and data processing, developing of new methods and technologies of pattern recognition in mining-associated problems, and an adequate use of automation technologies in the mining industry allow to boost productivity, lower costs, increase operative continuity and to improve health and safety in the workplace. They also make possible pattern, objects, defects and fails identification, to measure quality and to identify people. The remarkable effects automation in mining have on productivity increase and costs reduction would not be possible without the necessary energy resources. The energy demand in mining processes and minerals production is increasing, which will demand mining companies to have a powerful, efficient energy grid, aimed towards improving the stages of such processes.

Goals

The group’s main goal is to transfer to the mining productive sector results of research and development carried on during recent years in the fields of automation, robotics, semiconductors & sensing technologies, pattern recognition, image processing and data & sensors networks, and to contribute to the next generation of mining systems through design and build of of smart, environmental-friendly equipment and systems.
The group covers the areas of teleoperation and automation of vehicles and mobile mining machinery; failure diagnosis and predictive maintenance of equipment; development of technologies that allow mapping and 3D modelling of tunnels, pits and mining environments; development of collaborative systems in which autonomous machines, tele-operated machines and humans interact in an efficient, safe way.
The group also develops advanced techniques of pattern recognition and image analysis that allow to deal with relevant problems of mining, such as people and objects identification, failure detection, quality control, automated surveillance, recognition of types of rocks in two and three dimensions, and granulometry determination.
Lastly, we develop and transfer generation technologies based on clean, renewable energies, and we also make efforts to improve the energy efficiency in several stages of the mining process, using advanced control techniques and computer intelligence.

Application

Application areas are diverse, the main ones are:

  • Automation of vehicles and mobile mining machinery.
  • Development of assisted driving systems.
  • Application of UAV technology in exploration, inspection and 3D modelling tasks.
  • Development of sensoring systems and real-time decision making for underground and open pit mines.
  • Systems for determination of lithologic composition in order to improve exploitation processes.
  • Estimation of minerals granulometry and bubble size in flotation cells.
  • Detection of defects in machinery (failure diagnosis) or products (quality control).
  • Accidents prevention monitoring interactions between machinery and workers.
  • Security systems for persons using biometric identification and people-counting.
  • Heating systems for mining solutions in bioleaching and electro-obtaining processes.
  • Energy recovery systems from pipes transporting mineral pulp.
  • Optimization of mining electric power systems capable to adequately manage generated disturbances and harmonics.

Research lines

  1. Tele-operation and automation of vehicles and mining machinery
  2. Geophysical instrumentation
  3. Seismic tomography: a geophysical exploration tool
  4. Sensoring, modelling and decision-making systems
  5. Unmanned aereal platforms for mining
  6. Monitoring system for mining workers’ security with automatic learning
  7. Modelling and 3D mapping of mines
  8. Lithology recognition based on digital image processing
  9. Supervision of processes and predictive maintenance
  10. Inductive heating for mining processes