3D radar technology unlocks new potential in the automation of shiploading and unloading operations. 3D scanning solutions, paired with visualization and data analytics, are already game changers in the marine cargo industry. indurad’s unique innovative radar sensors, combined with GNSS, help deliver fast operation assistance by providing real-time process information under harsh conditions. The modular iShiploader solution includes collision avoidance, machine positioning, loading assistance, and remote operation up to full shiploader automation. All of the systems work together to optimize the loading process by reducing loading/unloading times and increasing operator safety, comfort, and confidence.

Port operations face a multitude of challenges like harsh environmental conditions and safety risks for personnel and equipment. Ports aim to minimize any risk of machine collision due to the high costs associated with machine downtime. indurad is addressing such challenges with their customers by implementing radar based solutions to partially or fully automate equipment. A modular approach allows a step-by-step process to finance and implement the solution. With iShiploader, indurad delivers a unique and efficient automation solution for shiploaders and unloaders. The solution consists of several subcomponents such as a collision avoidance systems and machine positioning to achieve remote control and full automation. By combining volumetric measurements and berthing assistance, additional information of the entire loading/unloading chain is provided. All of the systems work together to provide necessary information to optimize loading processes and ensure the safety of personnel and multi-million dollar port equipment. To provide the necessary information to personnel and the machines’ PLCs, several radar sensors are installed on the shiploader/unloader in key locations. For machine collision avoidance, 1D and 2D radar sensors are mounted on the sides of the boom, under the boom, around the spout and on the machine’s chassis. These sensors scan the nearby environment for possible collision threats and provide the operator with assistance during loading by removing blind spots. Predictive detection and controlled machine regulation without…

 

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indurad’s 2D radar for boom protection of a shiploader at a customer site in Canada. This full automation project is carried out together with the Canadian partner encompass Solutions Group.

Visualization of an automated shiploading process based on the indurad iShiploader solution.

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indurad has been founded on the success of an R&D project starting in 2003 at RWTH-Aachen’s Institute of Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), evaluating suited sensor technologies for the automation of IPCC and other equipment. The research contained benchmarks of laser, radar, RTLS and ultrasonic technology, and it turned out that radar technologies were most suited for these mining applications due to dust and fog, however, they were only available as 1D level gauge radar. indurad consequently developed 2D radar under the iPosition system name and was granted the first IPCC related order in 2008 from one of the world’s larger IPCC system mining company operators RWE Power, which runs more than 15 bucket wheel excavators and 15 spreaders, with single BWEs having a daily capacity of up to 240,000 t of coal or overburden. The systems are spread across three large lignite mines in Germany: Garzweiler, Hambach and Inden.

RWE Power’s Senior Manager of electrical and mechanical maintenance section at Inden mine Wilfried Gau comments: “We started with indurad´s 2D radar on the suspended hopper cars and based on the high availability of the manless-automation mode we have been rolling out the concept on the travelling hopper cars and on the spreader side where we replaced existing laser solutions providing now a better machine availability. Finally, we reduced wear on the machinery as of reducing steering commands of about 20% .”

indurad’s iPosition technology  can be now found worldwide, for example in Chile with a focus on leach pad systems including bridge systems from FAM at BHP Spence or a FAM reclaimer at Codelco’s Radomiro Tomic. Christian González, indurad’s Managing Director in Chile and PLC expert states: “iPosition together with iBelt and iReclaimer support robust control loops on the machines increasing the tonnage rate by more than 15%, besides protecting the machine with 2D iSDR radar crawler collision avoidance.”

One of the latest projects was the implementation on a brand-new thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) Bucket Wheel Excavator (BWE) together with a Mobile Belt Wagon (MBW) and Cable Reel Car (CRC) at Huaneng Coal’s YiminHe coal mine in China. The mine is one of China’s pioneers in using modern IPCC technology and first used indurad´s iPosition technology on a tkIS fully mobile crusher fed by a rope shovel back in 2003 and specified this system based on its good experience for the new YiminHe II project. “In China we installed the world’s most advanced iPosition solution using all three technology layers: 2D iSDR Radar, 3D iRTT RTLS relative local positioning and 3D iSMU GNSS global positioning – it is fault-tolerant with ‘hot spares’ allowing a broken cable or sensor to be replaced in the next shutdown without stopping automation of both transfer points and repairs to be carried out at -30C°” says Dr Reik Winkel, founder of indurad and foremost a Mining Engineer understanding the need for rugged technology.

In Chile, the ore flow at the Chuquicamata Underground project (see dedicated section) on TAKRAF and Metso equipment is also monitored with indura’s advanced radar technology, comprising 50 sensors (a mix of 1D iLDR and 2D iSDR types) on the ore passes, feeders and crushers.

indurad technology use at YiminHe II transfer point showing operator interface with triple technology transfer point automation between BWE and MBW

RWE Power's Inden mine excavator 275 was indurad´s first IPCC automation project with 2D radar and RTLS sensors now being in operation for over 10 years

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