Canadian Mining Journal

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AUTOMATION: Neptec’s radar, laser combo allows shovel to “see”

OTTAWA – - Neptec Technologies Corp., a leading developer of innovative 3-D robotic vision products, successfully demonstrated its OPAL-360 obscurant-penetrating LiDAR scanner at Barrick Gold Corp.'s Goldstrike mine in Nevada. The...


OTTAWA – – Neptec Technologies Corp., a leading developer of innovative 3-D robotic vision products, successfully demonstrated its OPAL-360 obscurant-penetrating LiDAR scanner at Barrick Gold Corp.’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada. The OPAL-360 was mounted on a P&H 4100 shovel and collected real-time 3-D data during loading operations in the mine.

“Subjecting our OPAL scanners to the dusty, vibration- and shock-intense real world operating environment of mining equipment is a major proof point for us,” said Mike Sekerka, COO at Neptec. “The testing at Goldstrike went off without a hitch.”

The Goldstrike demonstration of OPAL is part of a collaborate initiative involving Neptec, Barrick, Teck Resources, Peck Teck Consulting and others to develop intelligent automation solutions in the complex loading area of open pit mines. The OPAL and 3DRi technologies will ultimately improve safety, productivity and control at mining operations. They will also have a part to play in mitigating the shortage of skilled operators.

“When the government of Canada chose to participate in the exploration of space, few people would have predicted that the resulting technology innovations would one day make mining operations safer and more profitable,” said Paul Nephin, chairman and a founder of Neptec Technologies. “The OPAL scanner is a perfect example of how Canadian government investment in innovation in the space program benefits other industries and builds a stronger economy by creating new products, jobs and global export opportunities for Canadians.”

Neptec’s next challenge is to develop a truck spotting solution.

Neptec Technologies was founded in 2011 to commercialize space technologies developed by Neptec Design Group, an award winning space flight technology company and NASA prime contractor. The first products to be commercialized are a family of obscurant-penetrating laser scanners (OPAL) and a software development tool kit (3DRi) with advanced features such as automatic change detection and object recognition and tracking. Together, these out-of-the-box “building blocks” make it easy to integrate intelligent real-time machine vision applications on autonomous off-road vehicles, and for more familiar LiDAR-based survey and measurement tasks in harsh environments.

Neptec Technologies recently presented results of the Goldstrike demonstration at ISARC 2013 in Montreal. Additional information is available from NeptecTechnologies.com.


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