Weighing up the advantages of LASE scanning technology

LASE often calls its laser measurement systems the eyes of machines, helping users to see more with their volume measurement to answer many commonly asked materials handling questions.

LASE’s one, two and three-dimensional systems combine laser and other sophisticated technology, providing accurate profiling of materials and measuring volume.

The German-based company is implementing its laser systems in a range of industries worldwide, including ports, logistics, steel, building automation, waste and is breaking into the mining industry.

LASE’s scanners develop three-dimensional images of whole heaps of mined material which, using the LASE developed application software, calculate a precise volume of the heap.

According to LASE Australia general manager Lars Mohr, one of the key advantages of using laser scanners to measure material volume rather than weight is consistency, as the volume does not really change regardless of whether the material is wet or dry.

“Measuring volume and not weight gives a more accurate contactless measurement,” Mohr tells Australian Mining. “If your material is very wet, the weight is heavier but regardless of if it is wet or dry, the content volume will stay almost the same.

“There have been situations in construction, for example, where companies have required seven tonnes of sand but instead, they have received five tonnes of sand and two tonnes of water.”

Since mining companies often measure based on the weight in tonnes rather than volume, once the volume is calculated, the process of converting the number into weight is simple.

For more advanced operations, including remote operations, LASE also designs multi-layer scanners, which provide users with a better view of the detection area for collision prevention.

“Multi-layer scanners use two-dimensional laser scan planes, the most recent of which has up to 64 scan planes, which gives you more of a view of a lot more detection areas,” Mohr says.

“That gives us more opportunity to redefine our existing systems by using multilayer scanners, so that can improve our own systems and therefore benefit the customer.”

LASE’s volume scanning can be completed while for example the load is still on board the truck, rather than removing it, saving time and manpower at the mine site.

Using LASE’s high-resolution laser scanners, the material can even be recorded while the truck is still travelling at high speed.

“With a dump truck you need to stop the truck to measure the weight,” Mohr explains. “Our truck volume measurement system means drivers do not need to stop the truck under the measuring system.”

“Lasers are able to measure the volume within the truck bed, so if the site has a gantry the laser scanner can be mounted on top of it and the truck only needs to pass through the gantry and the content will be measured while moving.”

Measuring volume and collision areas with laser scanners also improves the safety of operations.

“The machine awareness systems for example give remote operated machines the ability to detect if there is another machine approaching,” Mohr says.

LASE has seen the combined advantages of multilayer scanning technology when providing machinery to the port industry, where it has lowered the risk of vessel damage.

“We have developed a hatch detection system, which is a very interesting application for multilayer technology,” Mohr says.

“This prevents ship unloaders from hitting the hatch in port, which causes serious damage to both the vessel and the machine.”

This technology can be translated to mining to prevent gantry collision in weigh stations at mines, something LASE is implementing to minimise gantry damage. Or also to present hangry collision.

Introducing laser scanning technology in a weigh station, in remote operated equipment, gives operators more eyes on operations, both for providing more accurate insights to the material being processed and keeping workers safe.

“These systems are the eyes of the machines, so operators know clearly what is happening at the site,” Mohr concludes.

This article also appears in the February edition of Australian Mining. 

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