Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has unveiled the AutoMine Interoperable Access Control System (ACS), a feature for its AutoMine Core system aimed at autonomous underground mining.

This enhancement is designed to boost productivity and operational flexibility by allowing non-Sandvik, third-party autonomous equipment to operate seamlessly within AutoMine access-controlled zones.

The new features allow a mixed fleet of underground loaders, trucks, drills and auxiliary equipment to be managed under one comprehensive safety system.

To integrate with the AutoMine ACS, third-party equipment must meet specific functional safety requirements and can be retrofitted with an AutoMine ACS Onboard Box to establish the necessary interface.

This system permits the simultaneous use of Sandvik automated equipment and compatible third-party machinery within a shared automated zone, with each machine independently managed by its respective control system.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions automation product line manager Robert McEwan said: “While we are confident that customers will achieve optimal performance with Sandvik equipment, we understand the importance of maximising automation’s potential across all equipment, regardless of manufacturer.

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“This technology enables mixed-fleet customers to benefit from enhanced safety and improved productivity with the support of AutoMine.”

Successful field trials with MacLean at its Research and Training Facility in Sudbury, Canada, have showcased the potential of AutoMine Interoperable ACS to enhance operational flexibility for both operators and equipment.

MacLean Engineering advanced vehicles and technology director Patrice Corneau said: “The key advantage of this collaboration with Sandvik was successfully addressing the critical challenges of interoperability related to safety in mining.

“The technology development not only increases operational flexibility between various vehicle types and operators but also allows MacLean to remain productive and not stop Sandvik autonomous operations while we do other ancillary functions around the mine.

“It also reinforces MacLean’s and Sandvik’s commitment to safety and efficiency in the industry.”

Earlier this month, Sandvik unveiled AutoMine Lifecycle Support Solutions to offer aftermarket technology support for its AutoMine customers.