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DRILL & BLAST


Curtis Stacy reports on the rise of artificial intelligence in blasthole drill automation


AI-BASED AUTOMATION


A


s mining companies continue to pursue automation and digital transformation to drive operational excellence, drill and blast crews


are ready to adopt AI-based solutions that modernise operations, drive down costs and improve drilling performance. Deloitte reported in 2018 that “AI- based technologies in the mining industry


Blasthole quality


are here to stay, allowing companies to make more accurate decisions faster, improve health and safety, boost efficiency and ensure human errors are almost negligible, all while helping create smaller environmental footprints.” Tis article explores the use of Phoenix AI, the first AI-based blasthole drill automation platform, to optimise drilling


and support long-term continuous improvement in areas such as operator performance, hole quality and accuracy, rock fragmentation and blast effectiveness.


REDUCING INCONSISTENCY IS KEY TO SUCCESS Today’s blasthole drillers are under increased pressure to maximise penetration and total production without damaging the machine. For machine operators, this requires fast, accurate decisions to continually adjust and fine tune parameters – such as speed, pressure and force – throughout every drilling cycle. Ground conditions are unpredictable, changing constantly from one hole to the next. Operator performance can be as equally inconsistent from one shift to another. Tere is also a high margin for human error in detecting geologic faults and manually adjusting drilling parameters to complex, downhole environments. Tis lack of consistency in operator performance is one of the highest causes


12 www.engineerlive.com


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