Oct 08, 2020

Long-distance solution for process plant problems

Long-distance solution for process plant problems

New Smart Glasses will help mineral processing experts troubleshoot issues at plants thousands of kilometres away thanks to work at Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.

A team at the Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research Centre has adapted a software and technology package to improve the safety and effectiveness of remote mine site surveying.

It integrates camera-equipped Smart Glasses, a portable wireless modem, Bluetooth earphones and an easy-to-use software suite to create a high-quality link between a mine site and mineral processing experts potentially thousands of kilometres away.

Traditional metallurgical surveys performed by the JKMRC involve researchers and site engineers collecting data and samples and process troubleshooting within a process plant.

But recent COVID-19 travel restrictions have made remote methods of surveying a necessity.

JKMRC’s Advanced Process Prediction and Control Group Leader associate professor Mohsen Yahyaei said the new technology made the already-convenient solution safer, more user friendly and more reliable.

“In assembling the Smart Glasses package, it was essential to design something that, if I gave it to someone inexperienced, they could safely use the tool without the need to be an expert in working with high tech devices,” he said.

“To that end, it’s been configured so everything is already set up when it arrives on-site, the operator essentially just needs to know how to turn on the Smart Glasses and the Wi-Fi modem.

“With high-quality video and constant communication with the site operator, we will be able to access the same information as we would if we were there in person.

“The Smart Glasses also ensure the process is safer than many other methods because it doesn’t occupy your hands, obscure your field of view or distract you in the way a mobile phone or other communication devices might.”

“For mine sites, it is like getting the in-person service. We survey the plant, collect the data and analyse it – the only difference is we are sending the smart glass package instead of the expert to the site.

“I believe we’ve developed the package to a stage where even after the COVID-19 restrictions ease many businesses will prefer the Smart Glasses option for site surveying – it’s cheaper, gives the same result and is more convenient.”