Editorial Feature

How Does 3D Metrology Assist the Mining Industry?

3D metrology and its various subtypes such as 3D laser metrology, 3D robotic metrology, and optical 3D surface metrology play a vital role in the modern manufacturing industry. This article looks at 3D metrology processes, their applications and uses in the mining industry, and trends in the 3D metrology market.

mining, 3d metrology

Image Credit: mountaintreks/Shutterstock.com

What is 3D Metrology?

3D Metrology is the systematic examination of physical measurements to ensure accurate measurements and quality of the manufactured components in compliance with international standards.

It is the method of taking exact 3D scans of an object. Consequently, a digital 3D model is created that may be evaluated or retrofitted.

Developments in 3D Metrology

3D metrology is used to measure an item's length, breadth, and elevation by acquiring geometric surface coordinates.

These dimensions are frequently obtained using a coordinate-measuring machine (CMM). However, new advancements in advanced automated optical inspection (AOI) detection developments have enabled the creation of 3D metrology approaches that do not rely on CMMs.

The use of modern technologies such as optical probes, laser technologies, modern robotics, and machine learning principles have led to the development of modern 3D metrology techniques, including optical 3D surface metrology, 3D laser metrology, and 3D robotics metrology.

A Brief Introduction to 3D Optical Surface Metrology

Optical metrology is the scientific discipline of performing various industrial measurements using light as a benchmark or as a carrier of data.

It includes systems that utilize electromagnetic waves in the optical spectrum region as information carriers for performing measurements in several different sectors.

Latest research by Zuo et al. in Light: Science and Applications focuses on the recent optical metrology techniques based on deep learning, a particular sub-field of machine learning. This data-driven approach has enabled the researchers to overcome various limitations of the traditional process. Deep learning has been applied to multiple processes such as image processing, error compensation, and phase retrieval.

Application of Optical 3D Metrology in the Mining Industry

The accumulation of airborne dust on subsurface panels is a significant risk in the mining sector.

Aside from being toxic and dangerous to workers' health, it may lead to the explosion of carbon dust. Optical dust sensors have been utilized in the mining industry to prevent their accumulation. Optical metrology is also used in portable mining machine systems.

Optical metrology is used for the assessment of flatness, twist checks, and straightness evaluation of datum bars during the alignment and assembly of machines. Hence, it has found its applications in various sectors and the mining industry.

Optical 3D Metrology Market Trends and Future Prospects

A forecast of optical 3D metrology market trends has been presented in a thorough report published on reportsanddata.com.

The worldwide optical 3D metrology market was worth  2.11 billion US Dollars in 2020, and is predicted to grow at a 6.9 percent CAGR through 2028. The market is expected to reach US $6.310 Billion by 2026.

The market growth for 3D metrology operations and increased investment in research & innovation of 3D metrology equipment are the primary drivers of the 3D metrology market's rapid rise.

According to regional research, the North American metrological market will contribute toward the most significant revenue share during the projected timeframe.

Major companies dominating the market include Vision Engineering, Zygo Corporation, Faro Technologies, GOM, and Nikon.

What is Laser Metrology?

Laser metrology is a novel capacity for measuring accurate distances by utilizing the steady wavelength of laser light.

The unique advantageous qualities of the laser enable its uses in quantitative assessments and surface examination. 

This particular 3D metrology method is beneficial when quality, precision, and quick non-contact measuring of delicate, sensitive, hot, or rotating mechanical components are required.

Earnshaw et al. developed a laser metrology system technique for the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) X-ray space observatory.

The article is available in the Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems. This research has significance for lowering the risk of deploying laser metrology equipment in future operations using collapsible masts.

Applications of 3D Laser Metrology in the Mining Industry

3D Laser Metrology has been revolutionary for the mining industry.

A significant advantage is their durability as they are situated far away from the descending debris, eliminating the risk of system disintegration and harm.

The ABB LM80 laser level transmitter is used in heavy commercial processes and mining. The LM80 is a high-performance laser transmitter that precisely monitors elevation, range, and location across long distances in harsh conditions.

3D laser metrological level measurements enable operational efficiencies and eliminate over-pressurized filling. The laser beam can precisely determine the depth and elevation of the rock in a dusty environment.

Metrological systems also monitor blocked chutes as an obstructed chute would cause severe damage if ore delivery is not halted.

Use of Robotics 3D Metrology in Mining

3D Metrological systems based on robotics principles have played a crucial part in the mining industry. Fully automated 3D-thermal systems help gather data for the scanning of mines. These systems obtain thermal 3D models of underground mines and for location detection of loose rocks.

H. Kim and Y. Choi have presented an autonomous driving robot for location estimation and 3D tunnel mapping in underground mines. The research has been published in International Journal of Mining Science and Technology.

The robot efficiently detects the tunnel's walls using LIDAR and creates a 3D map of the underground tunnel.

Future Outlook

Researchers are extensively studying 3D metrology equipment. The future of metrology in the mining sector is positive, and the integration of Data Science and IoT principles would make such systems more efficient and robust.

The Federal Institute of Metrology's METAS digitization roadmap has been thoroughly explained by F. G. Toro and H. Lehmann in Measurement: Sensors. The digitalization strategy would aid in the extensive commercialization of the 3D metrology systems and ensure that the 3D metrology equipment is in conjunction with the modern digital systems.

References and Further Reading

Toro, F. G., & Lehmann, H. (2021). Brief overview of the future of metrology. Measurement: Sensors18. 100306. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.measen.2021.100306

ABB. (2022). Intermediate range laser level transmitter LM80. [Online] Available at: https://new.abb.com/products/measurement-products/level/laser-level-transmitters/lm80
[Accessed on 19 April 2022].

Shimizu, Yuki, et al. 2021. An insight into optical metrology in manufacturing. Measurement Science and Technology. 32(4). 042003. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6501/abc578

Earnshaw, Hannah P., et al. (2022). Reconstruction of the NuSTAR point spread function using single-laser metrology. Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems .8(1). 014009. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JATIS.8.1.014009

Beland, N. (2015). Mining Industry Benefits from 3D Metrology Services. [Online] Available at: https://www.oasisalignment.com/ [Accessed on 14 April 2022].

Celera Motion. (2022). 3D Metrology for Industrial Manufacturing. [Online] Available at: https://www.celeramotion.com/applications/industrial/3d-metrology/ [Accessed on 15 April 2022].

EDM Intelligent Solutions. (2022). 3D METROLOGY SERVICES. [Online] Available at: https://www.edmdept.com/3d-metrology-services/ [Accessed on 18 April 2022].

Zuo, Chao, et al. (2022). Deep learning in optical metrology: a review. Light: Science & Applications. 11. 39. pp. 1-54 Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41377-022-00714-x

GOM. (2022). Metrology Systems. [Online] Available at: https://www.gom.com/ [Accessed on 20 April 2022].

Kiingsbury. (2022). The what, how and why of 3D metrology. [Online] Available at: https://kingsburyuk.com/the-what-how-and-why-of-3d-metrology/ [Accessed on 17 April 2022].

Powder Bulk Solids. (2015). Laser Level Measurement for the Mining Industry. [Online] Available at: https://www.powderbulksolids.com/instrumentation-control/laser-level-measurement-mining-industry [Accessed on 19 April 2022].

Reports and Data. (2021). Optical Measurement Market, By Offering (Software, Hardware, Services), By Product Type, By End-use, and By Region, Forecast To 2028. [Online] Available at: https://www.reportsanddata.com/report-detail/optical-measurement-market [Accessed on 19 April 2022].

Spectrum Metrology. (2022). Electro Optical Metrology Applications. [Online] Available at: https://www.spectrum-metrology.co.uk/electro-optical-metrology/applications/ [Accessed on 17 April 2022].

what-when-how. (2022). Laser Inspection (Metrology). [Online] Available at: http://what-when-how.com/metrology/laser-inspection-metrology/ [Accessed on 16 April 2022].

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Ibtisam Abbasi

Written by

Ibtisam Abbasi

Ibtisam graduated from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering. During his academic career, he has worked on several research projects and has successfully managed several co-curricular events such as the International World Space Week and the International Conference on Aerospace Engineering. Having won an English prose competition during his undergraduate degree, Ibtisam has always been keenly interested in research, writing, and editing. Soon after his graduation, he joined AzoNetwork as a freelancer to sharpen his skills. Ibtisam loves to travel, especially visiting the countryside. He has always been a sports fan and loves to watch tennis, soccer, and cricket. Born in Pakistan, Ibtisam one day hopes to travel all over the world.


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