ASI Supplies Automated Control Systems for Large Hydraulic-Powered Mining Vehicles to Epiroc

June 27, 2020 by Ben Stepanian

Epiroc produces sustainable mining/construction equipment and has paired up with ASI to engineer and supply specific automated control systems for large hydraulic-powered mining vehicles.

Epiroc, a developer based in Stockholm, Sweden, that produces sustainable mining/construction equipment has paired up with Autonomous Solutions Inc. to engineer and supply a completely automated control system for large hydraulic-powered mining vehicles.


Automated retrofit mining vehicle from ASI. Image used courtesy of ASI.


Autonomous Solutions Inc. or ASI, is known for its technology in automating mining equipment such as hauling trucks, drills, dozing, and other mining applications. ASI has also partnered with Danfoss, a major supplier of hydraulic components and control systems in hydraulics to help create a reliable system. Epiroc, a major investor in ASI, has planned a phased system for integrating autonomous mining vehicles into processes. The plan will take place at Roy Hill, a widely known iron ore mine in Australia.


Providing Autonomous Control of a Large Mining Vehicle

The plan of action for Epiroc was to first buy eight autonomous vehicles to test the quality of the system and then evidently buy 77 vehicles to excavate Roy Hill. For now, it would not be useful to manufacture cabinless autonomous unmanned mining trucks. Since they are already hydraulically driven, integrating a control system wouldn't be hard and would be the most economical solution.

Autonomous control of a large mining vehicle might seem like a difficult task in terms of hardware, however, Danfoss makes specially controlled valves that have GPS capabilities to steer these vehicles on a required path for the site of operation. The valve can be manually operated or programmed using ASI Systems control. The valve is what controls the hydraulic cylinders that act as the tie rods for the vehicle's steering system.


Steering valve systems from Danfoss. Image courtesy of Danfoss


Danfoss's electro-hydraulic steering valves offer pilot-operated steering flows up to 100 l/min [26.4 US gal/min] and pressures up to 250 bar [3625 psi]. Another type of valve they offer is an electrically operated valve that handles flow up to 70 l/min [18.5 US gal/min] and pressures up to 210 bar [3045 psi].

These units have low steering torques from 0.5 N•m to 3 N•m as well as a low noise level should the vehicle need to be manually operated. The steering valves also feature a variable steering ratio to maintain a smooth ride. Danfoss also offers high quality and durable rotational actuators to keep the wheels spinning on heavy-duty equipment.


ASI's Control Interface 

The vehicles controlled by ASI’s solutions can be 100% remotely operated, regulated, and controlled by a single person in charge of a fleet of multiple vehicles. ASI’s new Mobius interface allows for easy and intuitive control over the equipment. Intelligent AI will prevent any accidents from occurring and monitor the performance of the vehicle. For system integration, ASI’s Nav system allows for concurrent control of the vehicle with automatic and manual control.


ASI GPS and obstacle avoidance interface. Image courtesy of ASI.


When a vehicle is autonomous, ASI’s vantage maps the terrain that the vehicle will cover, and will detect any obstacles in the way using the sight of their forecast 3D laser system. It can also find an alternative path to keep the equipment operating in the correct manner. Fewer mistakes will be made in the future using this new technology, ultimately leading to a more productive and efficient work process.


Do you work in the mining industry? Comment below and let us know if/how your company is integrating automation into your industry.