No, we’re not talking about cryptocurrency mining, but real-life mining involving huge vehicles that dig essential or precious minerals from the ground. In fact, the mining and excavation industry operate some of the largest vehicles on earth, moving several hundreds of tons of material every day by using super-sized vehicles like trucks, diggers and and excavators. The problem from a safety perspective, is that these massive vehicles can represent quite a danger to other on-site workers, largely due to blind spots in the driver’s field of view. To reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities, many mining and quarry operators are turning to advanced surround view technologies to improve safety. One such solution is the VIA Mobile 360 Mining Kit which we officially launched just days ago at the CIM 2019 Convention in Montreal.
Improving the View
The Mobile360 Mining Kit uses four FOV-190 Genlock cameras which are placed around the exterior of the vehicle. The four video streams are then stitched together and streamed live to the cockpit’s ruggedized display. This is what we refer to as the VIA Mobile360 Surround View System, developed to give vehicle operators a vastly improved perspective of his / her immediate environment.To further enhance situational awareness, we have also developed an onscreen Tri-band viewer which highlights the area around the vehicle, adding three distinct color bands that indicate three levels of proximity. This gives the vehicle operator a better sense of just how close objects, people or vehicles are in relation to the vehicle’s position.The Tri-band viewer allows the vehicle operator to react faster and take preventative action with split-second decision making. We can also integrate ADAS cameras to give the operator alerts relating to Blind Spot and Collision Detection to further bolster on-site safety. Technologies like this not only improve safety however, they can also lower operational costs by reducing the probability of accidents and equipment damage, which helps to lower insurance premiums for example.
Reliability in the Harshest Environments
Mines and quarries are some of the most hazardous environments in the world to work in, but crucially, they can also be very demanding from the perspective of hardware design. Computers typically require sufficient levels of ventilation and air flow to help keep internal components cooled effectively. This can be problematic in the case of harsh environments were high levels of dust and dirt are to be expected, not to mention other issues caused by strong vibrations, moisture and other potentially problematic environmental factors. In short, configuring a computer to spend its lifespan installed on a mining vehicle is no easy task.
To combat these issues, the VIA Mobile 360 Mining Kit uses the VIA Mobile360 M820, a thin, ruggedized system that has no moving parts, thanks to its fanless design which eliminates issues related to vibrations and airflow. To make it secure and reliable enough to be installed on an excavator for example, we’ve also housed the system in a robust aluminum enclosure that further protects against the threats mentioned above.
The enclosure still needs to be wired up and connected to the cameras, which is why its cable glands are IP65-rated to ensure the connections don’t get grimed up or shorted. The cameras are IP69K-rated, which means they are dust and water proof, while the 10.1-inch display inside the cockpit is an industrial-grade LCD with housed in an IP67-rated enclosure. With these added layers of protection, the system can provide extended duty cycles, plus it can be washed down at the end of the shift – a specific request from mine operators we are working with.
Meeting Specific Customers Needs
The VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit is not a fixed product. It’s a customizable solution that contains three distinct parts – a ruggedized computer, cameras and cabling, and a customizable software interface. What we have found from working with customers in this field, is that no two businesses or companies are the same, which is why we offer specific, tailor-made solutions that make the technology work for them.
This is one of our core strengths. Creating solid solutions that fit the exact needs of the customer. The VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit is a great example of how VIA is offering complete technology solutions that enable our clients to get to the next level, integrating advanced technologies to existing infrastructure, with the minimum of fuss.