Dr. Shahram Tafazoli, President & CEO
The mining sector has long made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to economic growth and development. From the first copper age smelters in Cyprus to the gold rushes in the U.S. in the 1800s to the present-day extraction of minerals, mines have made vital contributions to national economies. Despite being one of the oldest industries, the mining sector has always displayed a strong affinity toward innovation to improve its operations and ensure better safety, efficiency, and environmental integration. To that end, today’s progressive mining companies are keen on leveraging new-age technologies like AI, robotics, 3D imaging, and cloud computing to transcend into a mining future that boasts data-driven methodologies. This is where Vancouver-based Motion Metrics, having invested more than 15 years on researching advanced mining technologies, seizes the opportunity to lead the path for intuitive, reliable, cutting-edge mining solutions. Blending AI and machine vision with traditional mining processes, Motion Metrics has developed an advanced suite of monitoring solutions for mining equipment like shovels, loaders, excavators, and conveyor belts to make mining operations smarter, safer, and easier.
“Analytics, automation, and advanced safety systems define the future of mining operations and AI is the key to achieving them,” says Dr. Shahram Tafazoli, president and CEO of Motion Metrics.
Established in 1999, Motion Metrics was one of the early birds to understand and act upon this trend.It has grown as an innovative technology provider for the mining industry ever since, solving some of the most crucial mining challenges through AI. “Today, AI defines us,” Tafazoli asserts with a sense of accomplishment.
Motion Metrics’ suite of mining solutions comprises three core products: ShovelMetrics™, LoaderMetrics™, and PortaMetrics™. While ShovelMetrics and LoaderMetrics offer complete monitoring for shovels, excavators, and wheel loaders, PortaMetrics is a hand-held point-and-shoot 3D imaging tablet that provides near real-time rock fragmentation analysis for optimizing blasting results. The newest addition to this suite of monitoring solutions is BeltMetrics™, designed to measure rock size distribution on conveyor belts accurately and at high sampling rate. Like PortaMetrics, BeltMetrics uses a rugged high-res stereo camera pair and AI algorithms to ensure every visible rock is scaled and measured accurately without interrupting production. “BeltMetrics is an apt alternative to traditional sieve analysis and helps companies achieve quantum performance gains,” mentions Tafazoli.
Pivotal to these products is MetricsManager™ Pro—a centralized web-app that unites all the equipment data to help mining personnel access information from anywhere. The cloud-based software also enables miners to receive status updates, in-depth performance reports, equipment activity logs, and rock fragmentation data, thereby revolutionizing the way mining equipment is monitored and operated.
Many of the largest mines around the world are Motion Metrics’ customers today. Tafazoli says, “The robust use cases coupled with the simplicity of our product have made us unique in the marketplace.” Elaborating on some of the use cases, Tafazoli mentions that a large mine in South Africa faced a major challenge when their mining shovel teeth were breaking and accidentally entering the crusher causing it to jam. Employing Motion Metrics’ monitoring solutions, the client was able to tackle the issue. In the last three years, the mine had no reported case of any teeth jamming the crusher.
Motion Metrics’ growing trail of success is a testimony to the impact AI can have on mining. To stay ahead in this race, the company intends to expand its Metrics products line to other equipment like crushers and drills as well. On a greater scale, Motion Metrics also has a moonshot aim for both autonomous and space mining. “We are finding a good overlap between our present mining solutions and futuristic mining activities,” says Tafazoli. While this initiative is still in the research phase, it is poised to bring forth a new horizon for Motion Metrics. Tafazoli aims to showcase the first autonomous shovel in action at the MINExpo 2020 convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.