LASE’s increasingly popular laser technology is ensuring that mining companies aren’t snowed under by measurement obstacles. Australian Mining reviews the system.
In April this year, Germany-based measurement technology provider LASE received a unique order from Russia.
The country had just experienced unusually warm temperatures during the 2019/2020 winter, which the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia called the warmest in the meteorological chronicle of Russia.
While an Australian city like Melbourne, on the other hand, experienced its coldest April day in over 20 years in 2020, the opposite was happening from Moscow’s perspective.
But the winter in Russia still had its bite, blanketing urban areas and major cities with snow.
To keep the city’s infrastructure clean from snow, LASE supplied 68 LaseTVM (Truck Volume Measurement) systems to help measure the volume of cleared snow that was carried on trucks.
“They have to clear the streets from snow every day or couple of days, carry it to snow melting facilities and pour it back into the rivers and/or drinking water systems after purification,” LASE general manager Lars Mohr tells Australian Mining.
This is where LASE’s truck volume measurement systems come into the picture. They can be used across many applications in a diverse range of environments.
The systems do not discriminate against the type of truck or carrier they are coming into contact with, whether it is a road truck or a mining dump truck.
It doesn’t matter what the truck carries either, whether it is snow, sand, aggregate, ore, wood pellets or coal.
“We’re only interested in measuring a surface profile and calculating the volume based on that,” Mohr says.
“And the good thing about measuring a truck’s volume instead of its weight is that the measurement will remain accurate despite heavy rain soaking the products on the truck bed.”
By the same token, the TVM is not vulnerable to harsh environments, including Australia’s mining conditions.
The TVM withstands scorching hot days with strong wind and sandstorms, just as well as it does temperatures well below zero Celsius with heavy snowfall. The device can also be equipped with active heating and cooling systems, if required.
LASE’s ability to develop such robust sensor technology is founded on decades of industry experience, collaboration with laser manufacturers and advancement of technology. The company is, in fact, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Launched with a focus on laser technology for crane position and crane positioning systems, LASE’s business has evolved into facilitating the automation of container terminals and cranes using 2D and 3D measurement systems.
“We have several main 3D scanners and also several main 2D scanners in our portfolio. When used together, this single component can deliver an individual product application based on a unique software solution,” Mohr explains.
“In other words, same hardware components with different software for different applications. This software is not a third-party development either; it is developed in-house. That means mining companies don’t have to deal with multiple providers for each of their hardware and software.”
LASE’s TVM works simply by sending raw data of measured volumes, which is delivered to a software package that will compute the actual volume.
What’s more fascinating about the TVM is that it is also available in mobile or dynamic option (i.e. LaseTVM-3D-M). Trucks will no longer be required to stop for a measurement.
It prevents instances of harsh braking and damage to the hardware (i.e. actual scale), and simultaneously reduces the amount of wear and tear in mining and measuring equipment.
“When you have a 200-tonne truck, you don’t really want to stop for it for measurement. Instead, you can drive the truck through and measure its volume while it’s moving. It gives you greater time saving benefits,” Mohr says.
“Even with non-contactless systems – the LaseTVM-3D-S, with the S standing for static – they will still be a massive help in ensuring that you have transferred all your load to its destination.
“You don’t want to have a bit of production tonnage left on the truck bed and then carry it all the way back to the mine pit where it came from. With the TVM, you can achieve a more optimised process and higher output.”
Mohr says the TVM has developed into a state-of-the-art technology that complies with current market demands, accompanied by the newest hardware and state-of-the-art software.
It can integrate with existing hardware, software and management systems – the result of more than 30 years’ worth of experience.
“As you can tell with the project in Russia, we still have a lot of business going on in spite of the coronavirus crisis. We have projects in the pipeline before COVID-19 hit. Our German production facility is still producing at 100 per cent capacity and we are fully operational to serve the mining industry,” Mohr concludes.
This article also appears in the July edition of Australian Mining.