Placing a computer in a metal box and bolting it to the inside of an excavator, dozer or truck may seem like an adequate approach to upgrading industrial vehicles with the latest safety technologies. The reality as we now understand it, is in fact much more complex. Creating a computer vision system that can exist long-term in a mining or quarry vehicle, requires substantial ingenuity. Here’s an outline of the challenges we faced when creating the VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit.
Firstly, what is the VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit? At its core it involves a surround view system with four FOV-190 cameras, which together provide a seamless view of the exterior of the vehicle, giving the vehicle operator vastly improved situational awareness. On top of this, we can also add more cameras for ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System). This solution is similar to those developed for public transportation, haulage vehicles and others – the key difference is the environment in which the Mining Kit has to operate, and the specialized, protective features required.
Check out the video below for a more detailed introduction to the VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit:
Working with mining operators in recent projects has given us genuine insight as to what really matters in these work environments. One perhaps less obvious requirement is the ability for an industrial computer system to survive the daily wash down. Most quarry and mining operators complete daily vehicle washing procedures that involve high-pressure water hoses and cannons. It’s the easiest way to remove hardened clods of dirt and debris at the end of a shift. With this in mind, it was clear that our solution would have to be very water proof.
We started with an enclosure for the main computer system that includes an industrial-grade rubber seal between lid and case. When screwed tight, it forms an IP67-rated, water-proof seal. Just to clarify, the IP (or International Protection code system) uses two numbers to describe the type of seal an engineer can outline when designing a product. It’s all about ingress protection, to use a more technical term.
Particle and Liquid Ingress
The first number in the IP code describes the ability to protect against particle ingress, i.e. protection from dust and other small particles. An IP67 rating is considered completely dust tight, perfect for mining and quarry scenarios. The second number indicates protection from liquid ingress, with the number 7 describing a seal that is water proof to an immersion depth of up to 1 meter.
Establishing an IP67-rating on the enclosure gave us confidence that the computer would be safe and wholly unaffected by intensive washing procedures. Other components chosen included IP69K-grade cameras with robust, industrial-grade cabling. The final step was finding a way to connect the system to the cameras, the network and the vehicle’s power plane, without compromising the water proof seal.
The solution we selected uses protruding nodules on the side of the enclosure, each fitted with high-quality IP67 cable glands through which the cables can be threaded without compromising the water-tight seal. This design provides the robust cable connectivity needed to withstand high-pressure water jets and immersion.
Watch the short video below to learn more about the VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit and its specialized waterproof enclosure:
The VIA Mobile360 Mining Kit is one of many in-vehicle solutions now available from VIA. As with all business and industry segments we work in, it was crucial to listen to customers and learn exactly what specialist needs were required. This allowed us to devise a suitably adapted, custom solution for that specific project.