Intelligent heavy-duty BELAZ dump trucks: optimal solution to meet the challenges in mining

23 march 2020


Extraction and transportation of natural resources is a heavy challenge and expensive one, especially when it is carried out in dangerous conditions and remote areas. In such a situation there is a solution that will help mining companies to secure the personnel, increase productivity and achieve greater efficiency, while keeping costs at a minimum. These are artificial intelligence technologies and intelligent BELAZ dump trucks. A multi-ton driverless vehicle doesn’t need a clean air and good visibility; it will precisely perform all the required operations in timely manner.

On key areas of BELAZ steady progress and strategic priorities of the company production activity in a New Informative Project “Development Strategy”

Driverless BELAZ dump trucks
Artificial intelligence: new solutions
Intelligent mine

Driverless BELAZ dump trucks

Mining robot-shuttles, driverless technologies, robot-controlled systems, artificial intelligence, intelligent mine for extraction of minerals – all these are not some fantastic concepts of the future, but the realities of a new era of robot technologies which step on rapidly. Following the world trends and looking ahead, BELAZ intensively implements the innovative technologies in its developments, the priority among which is definitely driverless machinery.

First BELAZ-7513R dump trucks of 130MT payload capacity equipped with intelligent control system have already recommended itself as a high-performance machinery operating in real conditions in Chernogorsky mine, Khakassia, where these dump trucks transport the overburden, moving along the given routes at distance of 1 350 m.

As of March 4, 2020 the run of every dump truck made up more than 5 000 km

For navigation, the robotic dump truck uses a scanning system with ultrasonic, optical, laser sensors and a GPS system. Safety at work is provided by a three-level light indication system, an audible alarm and emergency stop device.

Due to the exclusion of all the maneuvers and turns traditional for conventional equipment, the robotic BELAZ-7513R can drive back to the unloading point using the so-called shuttle motion. Thanks to this, it is possible to significantly reduce the working cycle time. The equipment performance will increase due to decrease in the cycle time of transportation of rock mass (the absence of maneuvers and turns when positioning for loading and unloading).

The economic benefits of round-the-clock and almost continuous operation of autonomous mining dump trucks are obvious.

BELAZ went further and automated at maximum not only the delivery of goods, but also loading operations. The first model of the BELAZ-78250 front-end loader with remote control is already being tested.

There is a task to automate the loading operations as much as possible by including the BELAZ-78250 robotic loader in the production process, which itself will be able to build a 3D model of the rock mass intended for loading, to determine the operations procedure and correlate its movement with the position of the dump truck.

Thanks to this development, in the near future, the enterprise will be ready for the supply of robotic load and haul complexes for the needs of miners.

The BELAZ robotic “loader – mining dump truck” complex will provide mining companies with completely new intelligent services.

Further plans for the development of robotic mining dump trucks are to create a shuttle robot without the operator’s cab. The mechanical participation of a person in operating of such equipment is basically not provided for; a special intelligent module will undertake its functions.

Artificial intelligence: new solutions

Today BELAZ is ready to expand the number of dump truck models designed for autonomous operation. Intelligent equipment tested on mining dump trucks of the BELAZ-7513 series can be installed on all vehicles with ultra heavy payload capacity - 90, 180, 220, 240, 290, 360 tons. This will allow mining corporate partners of BELAZ who know Belarusian mining equipment and use it, to reduce the cost of mining due to increased load capacity.

As part of the development of intelligent mining dump truck control systems, their further integration is expected along with integration of systems, for example, engines, traction electric drives from manufacturers of main components, as well as with external automated systems for managing mining enterprises. Data exchange, including for a remote monitoring system of a mining dump truck and for remote steering of a mining dump truck, will be provided using data transmission technologies of the 4th and 5th generation (4G and 5G) up to 1 Gb/sec.

The result of all the work on the development of intelligent mining dump truck control systems at the first stage is the creation of autonomous and semi-autonomous (remote) control systems, as well as the creation of an intelligent mine.

Intelligent mine

The direction associated with robotic application which is being intensively developed at BELAZ is related to the introduction of digitalization of production at mining enterprises, or rather, the “Intelligent mine” system with the BELAZ robotic mining equipment. This particular innovative mining technology is currently being developed at SUEK-Khakassia LLC, where the 130-ton BELAZ-7513R robotic dump trucks operate on the Abakansky opencast mining site of the Chernogorsky open pit.

Intelligent mining dump trucks equipped with hundreds of sensors generate real-time terabytes of information per year. This will allow tracking the quality of the vehicle anywhere in the world. Information technology will ensure the collection and storage of mass data, the process scheduling, data transfer to component suppliers for processing and the formation of operational recommendations. The technology is effective especially for steering the fleet of robotic machinery. In that event the number of personnel is reduced up to minimum and the main activity for mining is carried out by intelligent mine system. This operations procedure is already taken for realization by BELAZ.

Digital and robotic application, reduction of human factor, ecological safety of mining machinery – our prospective development.

Intelligent mine is a unified system of monitoring, data analyzing and production control which is designed to control the whole fleet of equipment, providing herewith the management of the mining enterprises and service organizations with full scope of information regarding the operation of mining equipment including the examination of its technical condition, working efficiency and operation conditions.

The system of intelligent mine secures all required works for mining of mineral resources taking the most optimal decisions within working process. This unique technology is effective especially for operating the robotic machinery. In this case the number of personnel involved for working in mine is reduced to a minimum.

Robotic mining is a perspective direction allowing to protect the operator of mining dump truck from influence of harmful factors, solve the problem of steering the dump trucks in remote and hard-to-reach places, increase as much as possible the efficiency of machinery fleet, solve the issue of qualified personnel shortage and etc.

Cost saving due to fuel economy

Cost saving for operation of equipment

Reduction of non-technological idle hours

The absence of influence of the human factor to the mining and transportation complex production efficiency

Total absence of personnel in dangerous zones

Equipment operation 24/7/365

All aspects of work are part of the strategy of OJSC “BELAZ” focused on the creation of perspective technologies in the sphere of mining the mineral resources as well as updating of the existed configuration of equipment of ultra heavy payload capacity.

BELAZ is monitoring the trends and ready to the fact that in a few years the needs of market may become completely different.