This September, Codelco ran an article explaining why their Gabriela Mistral division uses ShovelMetrics™ Missing Tooth Detection and Tooth Wear Monitoring to prevent high-risk crusher obstructions. The following is an English translation of the original Spanish article.
Innovative and In-depth Tooth Monitoring
Leveraging innovative technology, Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral division avoids high-risk incidents by detecting shovel tooth wear at an early stage.
If a mining shovel loses a tooth, it can fall into the shovel bucket and be transported to the crusher. There, it can cause serious damage because the machinery is designed to crush rocks only – not metallic objects like shovel teeth.
These crusher obstructions can halt mine operations and result in significant production losses. There are also associated safety risks because solving a problem of this nature requires a properly-trained person to enter the crusher and remove the tooth.
To minimize the likelihood of a crusher obstruction, Gabriela Mistral Division turned to a new technology. High-resolution cameras continually monitor the shovels to detect the wear of the teeth.
“The system takes successive pictures and compares them to one another. Through this process, the system determines whether there is a missing tooth or if any teeth have worn out and need to be changed; using colour codes like a traffic light, the system sends alerts to mine personnel so that they can act before the missing tooth enters the crushing circuit,” explains the Mine Manager at Gabriela Mistral, Gustavo Córdova.
ShovelMetrics™ uses artificial intelligence to detect broken teeth. When a missing tooth is identified, the operator is alerted via audible and visual alarms.
Although most of the monitoring occurs within the cab of the cable shovel, the shovel can also be monitored online by the central controller at the division’s Integrated Operation Center. The system also provides online particle size analysis of the material that the shovel loads, providing important information to blast engineers.
In addition to detecting missing teeth, the systems also provide particle size analysis of the material that the shovel loads. This fragmentation data is vital to blasting engineers.
When connected to our web-based data analysis platform MetricsManager™ Pro, ShovelMetrics™ can provide intuitive yet comprehensive particle size distribution reports.
Thus, this innovative technology supports the management of the primary crushing circuit and improves safety for mine personnel. “Faced with a crusher obstruction, an operator must enter the crusher to solve the problem – at great risk to himself. Therefore, we now solve two issues because we remove our people from the line of fire and maintain operational continuity,” Córdova said.