Nottingham, UK – A revolutionary laser scanning robot has been used to create a highly accurate 3D model of an historic tin mine in Cornwall. Developed by Jobling Purser RSV with support from 3D Laser Mapping, the robot, 3D-R1, utilises the latest laser scanner hardware combined with wireless communications and advanced robotic technology.

It automatically captures millions of sub-centimetre accurate survey measurements, at speed and in dangerous or inhospitable environments. In the latest deployment 3D-R1 was used to survey the mines at South Crofty, owned and operated by Western United Mines.

Mining is known to have been carried out at South Crofty, sited at the core of the former central mining district in the Camborne / Redruth district of Cornwall, since the 16th century and at the time of its closure in 1998 it was the last working tin mine in Europe. The mine became operational again in 2004 and it is expected that mine production will commence in 2011 once the current diamond drill and mine development stage is complete.

Western United Mines commissioned Jobling Purser RSV, using 3D-R1, and Merrett Survey Partnership to survey the mine’s old and new workings, allowing comparison between the location of old workings in relation to new workings and between actual development drives versus designed.

Alan Shoesmith, chief executive officer of Western United Mines, owners of South Crofty, said the whole experience had been extremely beneficial. “From an engineering point of view this revolutionary RSV, coupled with state-of-the-art scanning equipment, can show in a matter of minutes information that would take our surveyors weeks to accumulate. The amount of detail derived by the scanning technology far exceeds any conventional survey methods and really suits our working environment.”

The RSV was equipped with a high performance, long-range 3D scanner from Riegl supplied by 3D Laser Mapping. The LMS-Z420i is a rugged and fully portable sensor specially designed for the rapid acquisition of high-quality three dimensional images even under highly demanding environmental conditions. Achieving accuracies of 10mm at ranges of up to 1,000m, the LMS-Z420i provides a unique and unrivalled combination of a wide field-of-view, high maximum range, and fast data acquisition.

“Due to the flexible design of the RSV we can accommodate the most appropriate scanner for each projects individual requirements based on range, rate of data capture and accuracy,” added Dr James Jobling Purser. “The speed of data capture greatly reduces the cost per metre of passageway and mining operations need not be interrupted during the surveying process, further increasing the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the system.”