One of the world’s first pieces of collision-tolerant drone technology has been recruited to dive beneath the Earth’s surface for a series of surveys in confined spaces.
The Flyability Elios will be used for mine facility and equipment inspections in Copper mines of Northern Chile.
The crash-ready UAV will inspect heavy equipment in the mine concentration plant, monitor equipment, including ball mills, SAG mills, and floatation cells regularly to ensure optimal function and safety.
The drone is kept on the mine premises in order to do an immediate inspection of any reported problems with the equipment. Performing these inspections by drone saves the company time and money and allows assessment of otherwise inaccessible equipment, as well as contributing to the safety of mine personnel.
Eric Romersa, co-founder of WSData 3D, a Chilean mining inspection company, said: “The economic benefits of using the Elios for mining equipment inspection are clear. Since the mine doesn’t have to stop production for over an hour, the company sees an immediate savings.”
“The quality of the data from the drone is better than the quality that you get with a person – people need to get in and out quickly. With a drone, you can stop and make a more detailed visual inspection. You can establish a standardised procedure where you know exactly what points you need to cover every time.”
Swiss company Flyability developed the Elios, which is used in the field by several special law enforcement units in Europe and the Middle East as well as the RAID, to view spaces with limited access.