Frontier Automation previously known as 3D Image Automation
3DWagonLoad is a machine vision enabled volumetric wagon fill control system for train loading facilities in use in the coal, iron ore, and other mining or bulk material industries
The incentive to use our system lies in the improved efficiency by automatically compensating for variation in material flow characteristics, and in the improved transport volume utilization when compared to conventional manual or semi-automated loading control. Wagon volume is measured independent of train speed and wagon type during the loading process in real time using solid state 3D sensors, and the bin discharge gates are controlled to achieve the desired wagon load volume and distribution. 3DWagonLoad measures the freeboard of all wagon edges in real time and can react to avoid overfilling. Overfilling with conventional choke feed volumetric control is not detected until after the event and then only if an exit scanner is installed.
Our train loadout system features make the difference between fully automatic control and semi-automatic control where an operator is still required to monitor loading and tweak the loading control parameters.
In addition to the capability to control wagon loading from bin discharge gates, the implementation of 3D imaging can improve the performance of both gravimetric and choke feed volumetric train load systems. In both cases, control can be improved by real time monitoring of the wagon position and material flow. Real time process measurement using 3D LiDAR provides the following features:
Wagon leading and trailing edges are tracked continuously rather than computed from photocell detectors and accumulated travel distance
Unsolicited changes in material flow are detected earlier in the load cycle and gates can be closed to avoid overloading
Loading level for wagon pre-charge can be accurately controlled for dual load systems
Wagon edge freeboard is measured earlier in the load cycle – freeboard to the wagon sides is monitored whilst loading
Gate timing and position can be controlled based on material flow for gravimetric loading (batch weight) – gate timing is less dependent on train speed
Allows loading closer to the leading edge and wagon sides without spillage
Cold system start is possible as the wagon position and load state are measured continuously and do not need to be retained
Load height profile accuracy of ±30mm
Even load distribution between bogies
Automatically compensates for variation in material flow characteristics
Wagon leading and trailing edge positions are continuously tracked in the LIDAR FOV – there is no requirement for photo-cell sensors to detect wagon leading and trailing edges. Wagon edges do not need to be tracked using train speed
Minimal dependence on train speed – wagon position is tracked independent of train speed
The system operates over a wider train speed range – gate control (timing and position) is based on the measured material level rather than a fixed time relative to the wagon edge
Ability to recover from train stoppages – the system can be cold started as wagon position and load state do not need to be retained
High tolerance to discharge hang-ups – detection of gate hang-up with load compensated with the following gates
Ability to handle mixed wagon types, including height variation – wagon shape can be read from wagon RFID tag and database or by 3D scanning the wagon at the loadout entry
Our flagship product 3DReclaim is tailor made for reclaimers in use in stockyards of iron ore, coal, and other mining or bulk material handling facilities.