Scanalyse and Outotec win Rio Tinto Eureka prize for mill mapper project

Scanalyse, acquired by Finnish mining giant Outotec won the 2013 Australian Museum Rio Tinto Eureka Prize for Commercialisation of Innovation for the creation of MillMapper and CrushMapper systems.

Giant crushers and grinding mills across Australia smash up rocks to extract minerals and can typically consume 60% of a mine’s electricity. However, when their grinders wear out, it can cost the mine $100,000 an hour in downtime. 

Given that the performance of these machines could literally make or break a mine, monitoring their condition was a critical requirement. However, it required personnel to climb inside the machine after shutting it down and make up to ten measurements, creating a dangerous situation, and often producing unreliable results.

Curtin University researchers created a three-dimensional laser system that measures 10 million points or more in just 30 minutes. Scanalyse, the company they founded, now sells the MillMapper and CrushMapper technologies to dozens of companies around the world. 

The two systems use 3D laser imaging to map the internal wear of the crushers and grinders, allowing operators to make better decisions about maintenance and repair while also improving efficiency, safety and savings.

The Director of the Australian Museum, Frank Howarth explains that Scanalyse illustrates a successful path from research to implementation, with the solution having been capably adapted into a large-scale commercial environment. 

Purchased in March 2013 by Outotec, Scanalyse remains based in the Perth suburb of Bentley and has rolled out its technology across the world, including South-East Asia, Mongolia, Africa, South America, North America and Europe. 

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, science journalism and communication, and school science. 

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