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Deswik’s Road Audit tool increasing efficiency in open cut mine operations

May 27, 2020
by Patrick Doig

In a large open cut mine, you will often find 300+ tonne trucks running in multiple directions on haul roads, together with a mix of light vehicles and ancillary equipment. This means that the construction and maintenance of compliant roads is a crucial element to running mine operations, especially when there is a growing focus on road audit and compliance. However, conducting road audits is usually a manual and time-consuming process. It is also difficult to maintain in an environment where roads and safety bund requirements are changing, and labour is expensive.

A common road audit process involves surveyors or engineers measuring gradients manually in the field. They may also use the combination of a manual CAD and spreadsheet process – by taking periodic slices through the Lidar or DTM modules and manually measuring the distances and gradients of the road. This often takes more than 40 hours of work for a single operation. As a result, the process is completed rarely, with high cost and potential disconnection from the current operating environment.

Deswik has identified this as a high-value area for process automation, enabling faster feedback and reducing cost. We have developed the Deswik Road Audit tool, an application that semi-automates the road auditing process and reduces reporting turnaround times while increasing consistency.

The tool measures road and bund physicals, compares them to site requirements, and highlights non-compliant areas in a single process. This has seen a reduction in the typical road audit process – what may have taken over 40 hours to complete for 20km of roadway, is now down to less than 30 minutes. The automated outputs of this process include new refined road centerlines, road sections, polygons showing noncompliance for plotting and reporting, bund noncompliance areas, and so on.

By completing the process using the integrated Deswik solutions, productivity analysis can be run on the outputs to determine the potential production uplift gained by modifying the roads. Detailed designs can also be created and sent directly to machine guidance systems for rectification works. By using the Deswik Road Audit tool, sites can complete the road audit process much faster, allowing operations to get quicker feedback and free up personnel to complete value-add tasks.

As well as being much more efficient than the standard road audit process, the Deswik Road Audit tool is incredibly easy to use. The simple, repeatable process requires less inputs and setup time, while producing consistent outputs with much less manual work. This means that even users new to Deswik can produce the road audit reports required to ensure continued safety on-site.

“The Deswik Road Audit tool is super simple to use and provides some fantastic outputs. I had never used the tool before, but in less than 30 minutes I was able to create the required inputs to audit all of the primary haul routes for a large open cut coal site in the Bowen Basin. All that is needed is rough centrelines for the haul routes to be audited and the design parameters. I was able to run checks on ramp gradients, cross gradients, road widths and bund heights against the design parameters.” – Alex Rowell, BHP.

The Deswik Road Audit tool is part of the Deswik.AdvSurvey module.

For more information on the Road Audit tool, contact your nearest Deswik office.