Stay on the cutting edge

By |  August 3, 2015

d_constantinoWhen it comes to equipment to run an aggregates operation, Pit & Quarry helps producers stay on the cutting edge. For 99 years, we have been the industry’s source for information about equipment innovations, and that is especially true this month with our focus on new technologies. Two years ago in this space, I touched on the use of drones for aerial photography and videography at mine sites. In this issue, we cover a more specialized use of drone technology – making accurate volumetric computations, such as determining the amount of material in a stockpile.

Lewis Graham reports, “Bearing a digital camera, a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS, or drone) can rapidly collect imagery that can be subsequently processed into a very accurate 3-D model of the imaged area. From this sUAS-collected model, volumetric information can be computed, along with ancillary data such as image maps of the collected area.”

And, says the author, this new technique provides, at substantially lower cost, faster and more accurate information than do traditional techniques.

Another high-tech way of determining material volume is addressed in Kevin Yanik’s feature story, where our managing editor addresses new load-scanning technologies. A load scanner is a non-contact, drive-through tool designed to measure bulk material volumes.

“As a vehicle drives under a scanner, the load volume is scanned and a 3-D model is produced. By comparing the profile generated with one stored for the same vehicle when empty, the scanner can calculate the load volume to within 1 percent.
And, if desired, a load’s weight can be estimated by converting the load volume using the bulk density of the load material. This may be more accurate than weighing because the moisture content of the load is not a factor.

Finally2, we revisit the latest in plant-simulation software. Author Bryan Lewis says, “Process flow simulation software is a useful tool that producers, engineers, equipment manufacturers and equipment dealers can use to simulate the flow of material through aggregate and mining operations.” The high-tech
software enables users to build crushing, screening
and washing plants on their computers.

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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