Proof Engineers Collaborate with Curtin on New Road Monitor

Queensland-based Proof Engineers has teamed up with Curtin University's WA school of Mines (WASM) on a new road monitoring device, the Road Condition Monitor (RCM).

The project, led by Curtin WA School of Mining professor Roger Thompson and his researchers, has been in development for several years, with the team at Curtin having looked for ways to improve mine roads in order to increase performance and reduce costs.

Proof's RCM, a 12-volt device designed to be attached to haul trucks and light vehicles for accurate, second-by-second measurement of haul road performance, was the result of this research.

It works by measuring the vibrations caused by a vehicle passing over the road's surface, which are then sent to mine managers as data to be used for the swift identification of haul road segments requiring maintenance. The RCM's technology allows for near-instantaneous analysis of road conditions, with minimal training required by operators.

"From a research perspective, the availability of in-detail data allows us to develop an extensive understanding of haul road quality control from a mines perspective," said Thompson.

"I know many operations that would benefit from the RCM system because it doesn't require this enormous investment in a communications backbone that the existing on-board systems require."

The RCM was designed not just to increase the speed and accuracy of haul road analysis for mine operators, but to aid dust control measures as well, as this is another major contributor to reduce production, increased fuel consumption and several other negative factors affecting operators. Proof Engineers explained that the RCM is particularly beneficial to smaller operators unable to afford "capital-intensive" monitoring systems, which usually require the involvement of haul road foremen and such.

"What often happens is, the truck operators get on the radio and call out a grader to a section of road to do some repair work," explained Proof Engineers civil engineer Jordan Handel.

"Our RCM system automates that process and that information goes through to mine control, or a construction foreman who can then look at how the roads are performing and identify the sections that need remediation.

"Any relatively small changes that can be made to the road conditions or the running surface of a mine has a big impact on the bottom line, because it is such a significant cost factor."