Auto Scan - Train Volume Scanner

High Speed LIDAR Sensor AutoScan TLO Productivity Software

The Problem - How to increase train load out productivity?

Reliable Software were approached by a world class mining operation with a series of questions about how they could adapt some existing technology to improve the capability of their ore wagon loading facility. Let's take you on the journey that ultimately resulted in our client being able to fine tune the train loading operation and improve throughput.

Before plowing in and developing a solution, we had to understand the implications and interactions of a possible solution amongst higher level goals for our client. i.e. how does our system fit in with the the clients business goals and existing systems. This way we are able to ensure the solution architecture is appropriate for your business needs.

In this case it was apparent that fast calculation of complex and critical measurements within an industrial network environment were some of the key requirements for our customer.

Discussion - Material Density - How a volume scanner can help

In this case study, the ability to measure material volume in the rail car wagons was essential? Why?, Well, trains carry weight, they are designed and engineered to move a certain amount of weight. Material is moved by volume, i.e. we wish to move X cubic metres from here to there.

They key measurement when combining the 2 is density (tonnes per cubic metre). So our client really wanted to know, can I load each ore wagon to weight? or to volume? The answer is, let's measure volume, calculate density and then we'll have the answer.

The Solution - Custom Developed Industrial Software - For Train Wagon Load Optimisation

The AutoScan software development journey began, and was developed specifically to allow direct acquisition of data from Hi-Speed 2D Lasers over an IP network. Custom developed algorithms built into the software use captured data to generate volume information and measurement parameters for each train ore wagon allowing for improved productivity through full-time monitoring of mission critical data.

The initial goal of the software was to provide a snapshot of data, which when analysed would prove the hardware was capable of providing the required resolution and outputs to improve the business' loading operation.

Through continuous refinement the industrial software which runs on a Microsoft™ Windows platform, developed into a robust solution for fast calculation and transportation of real time feedback and key metrics, to optimise loading of each and every ore wagon. The AutoScan software now runs at multiple train load out operations in Australia and assists loading operators in fine tuning of loading operations, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

The Outcome - Increased Productivity

Our clients ultimate goal was to improve throughput of their rail loading facility. By listening to their requirements, implementing and supporting complex customised software, we have enabled a productivity increase in this instance of 3-5%.

The old adage "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it" is certainly true in this case. Contact Us today about how we can implement a solution for your business.

System Features Available Today

The AutoScan processing software provides near real-time outputs to the industrial network. It features;

  • A responsive design using multithreaded technology.
  • Calculation of production critical parameters in less than 10 seconds.
  • Easy Installation and Configuration
  • TCP interface to 2x SICK LMS511 lasers to gather raw laser data.
  • MODBUS TCP interface to provide an industry standard delivery mechanism, allowing integration with existing PLC systems.
  • Data items delivered to the industrial network are;
  • Front Freeboard (cm)
  • Rear Freeboard (cm)
  • Side Freeboard (cm)
  • Volume per Ore Car (m3)
  • Laser Status flag for remote maintenance monitoring (Error, Contamination, OK)
  • Data Valid flag (valid / not valid)
  • Material Angle of Repose - Front
  • Material Angle of Repose - Rear
Software Screenshot
Ore Wagon Freeboard

X3D image of ore wagon scanned with Reliable Software Solution's AutoScan

Thanks to X3DOM

  • Press 'r' to Reset View
  • Use mouse to 'Explore'
  • Scroll wheel to zoom
  • Double-click to make centre