Proof Engineers and RST Solutions work with engineering students to design innovative dust monitoring system

April 30, 2013

Publication: Mining.Com Date: 23rd April 2013


AWARD – Winning Gold Coast based engineering company Proof Engineers in association with Australia’s leading dust solution company Reynolds Soil Technologies (RST Solutions) have designed an innovative mobile dust monitor with the assistance of three Griffith University students.

Proof Engineers and RST Solutions have launched their first Industry Affiliate Program (IAP) in conjunction with Griffith University – providing engineering students with invaluable skills and industry experience needed for a career in the mining and civil engineering industry.

With the IAP being a work-integrated learning program designed to provide final year students with the opportunity to undertake an industry based project – Proof and RST Solutions have now welcomed three undergraduate civil engineering students into their workplace five days a week.

Identifying the need to accurately measure dust Identifying the need to accurately measure dust control efficiency on mine sites without the common interference of human subjectivity, Proof and RST Solutions created a project to design, develop and test an innovative mobile dust-monitoring system that automatically calculates dust levels, generates quantivite data regarding optimum watering times and highlights areas onsite that require immediate attention.

With Proof and RST Solutions having researched the technology and design over the past years, Civil Engineering students Keegan Neal, Jordan Handel and Billy O’Leary have been privileged to assist with the final development of the cutting-edge, semi-automated dust monitoring system that can effectively measure dust concentrations on mine, quarry and construction sites worldwide.

The dust monitor, which can be easily fitted to any mine site vehicle to continually record data during the mines regular operational routine, will be sent for official testing in the coming weeks to a major Queensland mine site operated by one of the world’s leading mining companies.

With most mine sites required to consistently achieve 80 – 100 per cent dust control efficiency at all times, Proof Engineers engineering director Sebastian Karsas said the new dust monitoring system would provide an automatic and cost effective solution to accurately monitor dust levels on a regular basis.

“The use of mobile dust monitoring has been briefly touched on, but has never been extensively refined for mining purposes,” Mr Karsas said.

“We decided to take this concept and design a monitoring system for use on mine sites, as measuring dust levels generally requires a vast amount of human interpretation therefore limiting complete accuracy when obtaining results.

“Our Dust Monitoring system is the first of its kind for the mining industry and has been designed to effectively remove human subjectivity by automatically calculating relative data that will help quantify the effectiveness of controlling dust emissions onsite.

“When in use, the dust passes through the monitor and as a result of 3G web and GPS integration, quantative data regarding current levels is accessed via Internet databases. Using this data, a graphic representation of the dust levels is attained and dust control strategies can then be implemented where necessary.

“The Griffith University students have assisted with the final design and calibration of this cutting-edge dust monitor and each were assigned individual roles throughout the process. This has been a major opportunity for them as they have worked extensively on an innovation for the mining industry.”

Mr Karsas said the dust monitor was not only efficient, but could be easily transported and handled, loaded and unloaded, by one person. Additionally, the device is completely weather proof as well as fully self-powered, without requiring generators or any form of power supply, and has a constant intake velocity to ensure dust can pass through the monitor while the vehicle operates at alternate speeds.

In conjunction with the Dust Monitor, Proof and RST Solutions have also designed a Road Condition monitor which can effectively evaluate road deterioration and determine hotspots for grading. The Road Condition Monitor alerts the mine site managers where and when the road needs to be graded – providing savings in grader use and allowing mine sites to maintain an optimum pit condition, ensuring dump truck operation is carried out in a minimum rolling resistance environment.

RST Solutions operations and technical director David Handel said the development of the cutting-edge dust monitoring system and road condition monitor now means RST Solutions can provide validated and automatic testing of its dust control and haul road products on mine sites worldwide.

“Previously, it has been extremely challenging and time consuming to successfully validate the effectiveness of products onsite,” Mr Handel said.

“The development of the dust monitor is of huge benefit to us, as we can accurately identify exactly when and where treatment needs to be applied and provide validated proof for the success of our products. The dust monitor also produces monthly site reports and site-specific baseline analysis, which will greatly assist with ensuring each mine site’s dust levels remain permanently above 80 per cent efficiency.

“Keegan, Jordan and Billy’s input in this project has been significant and it has been extremely encouraging and promising to see these final year engineering students equipped with such knowledge, talent and innovative thinking, when assisting with the development and testing of the monitors. We have always been an advocate of supporting undergraduates from Gold Coast and Brisbane based universities and strongly believe it is important to provide work-based opportunities for students, so they can get the best start to their careers.”

Grateful to be undertaking work with the leading companies, Griffith University student Keegan Neal said being a part of such a unique project had been equally rewarding and challenging.

“Our role as IAP students was to create a methodology for testing dust control efficiency using the mobile dust monitor and then developing a program that can be used as a guide for operators when conducting these evaluations,” Mr Neal said.

“I’ve been able to work alongside other colleges from Griffith University on this project, and we have all learnt invaluable skills for our future endeavours within the industry. The project has equipped me with not only fundamental engineering knowledge, specifically in the mining segment, but business and communication skills, which are equally important.

“The time and effort Proof Engineers and RST Solutions have put in to organising and overseeing our IAP project is extremely appreciated and we hope the finished product is thoroughly beneficial to both companies.”

Proof Engineers together with RST Solutions continually support work experience students from Gold Coast and Brisbane based universities. For more information please contact Solutions on (07) 5317 1080 or Proof Engineers on (07) 5522 0855.