Atlas Copco has developed an innovative digital tool that takes the task of choosing the right loading solution for tunnels and mines easier than ever. Called Loading Optimizer, the tool will find solutions that perfectly match conditions at the worksite.
Mucking out is often a case of trial and error in which different solutions are tried and tested at the worksite until the most suitable one is found. This can be a costly and time-consuming process – but not anymore.
A new digital tool from Atlas Copco allows various methods and types of equipment to be evaluated in relation to key parameters from the worksite and then identifies the most favorable option.
Called Loading Optimizer, the tool is able to process a large number of variables that can be altered and fine-tuned multiple times, explains Johannes Hansson, Global Projects Manager at Atlas Copco.
“This means that key factors such as methods, equipment specifications, the type of ventilation system, and other factors can be combined evaluated in variety of ways,” he says. “This is a huge advantage because it enables you to clearly see the impact of these variations on efficiency, productivity and costs.”
In this context, one of the most crucial parameters is the ventilation arrangement. The dimensions of a tunnel or drift, the space required in the roof for ducting and the area that is left for equipment is not an easy equation.
“Loading Optimizer takes care of all that by synchronizing the data with our Serpent ventilation system to get just the right balance,” says Hansson. “The tool also simulates alternative solutions on screen and shows how these will impact on efficiency and productivity.”
A typical case in point involves the location of loading bays. By reducing the number of bays, the distance between each bay increases, meaning less rock needs to be excavated. However, the program demonstrates how the loading capacity can be maintained by changing the loading method, for example from front end loading to side-dumping or continuous loading.
Hansson concludes: “It’s all about making it easier to find the right setup that will result in high loading capacity and cost efficiency.”
Other benefits of the Loading Optimizer include the possibility to evaluate selected method/equipment options and produce complete overviews of costs as well as customized spread sheets of the selected solution.
The full version of Loading Optimizer is currently offered only in conjunction with consultations with Atlas Copco specialists, but starting in May 2015 planners will be able to obtain preliminary proposals for loading solutions on the web at http://www.loadingoptimizer.com.