Vale to Prioritize People in Mining with the Help of ANYmal

ANYmal compiles data from each mission into a thorough report for Vale’s team at the end of each inspection round.

FREMONT, CA: Vale, the Brazilian-based global mining company, Vale emphasizes its commitment to becoming one of the world’s safest and most dependable mining corporations through a partnership with ANYbotics. ANYbotics is a Swiss robotics company pioneering the development of autonomous mobile robotics. ANYmal reduces exposure to hazardous circumstances and integrates easily into Vale’s team to undertake routine inspections and provide improved reporting throughout operations and downtime, according to the results.

Integrating People, Processes, and Technology for a Better Life

It is difficult to keep people safe in the mining business. Workers are frequently asked to inspect tight, dark, and dangerous locations and do tasks that include hazardous materials and heavy machinery. Vale, a worldwide mining business founded in Brazil that transforms natural resources into products needed in people’s daily lives, is familiar with the difficulties of mining and processing natural resources. Vale employs over 125,000 people in about 30 countries, and their safety is a top focus. To manage risks, increase efficiency, and prioritize its highly talented staff, the company continues to invest in creative solutions that connect people, processes, and technology.

ANYbotics and Vale’s collaboration exemplifies the possibilities for collaboration between workers and autonomous inspection robots. At Vale’s Cauê Mine and Processing Facility, onboarding ANYmal reduces human exposure to dangerous situations while providing more reliable asset inspection data and freeing critical team members to focus on higher-level activities.

ANYmal Can Begin Navigating Cauê’s Mine Using Environmental Analysis

ANYmal’s setup begins with a walkthrough of the Cauê Mine’s environment and identifying a variety of inspection locations at various levels. The team leads the robot through the plant during the Show & Go phase to identify ANYmal’s navigation path and points of interest, teaching the robot where to go and what to investigate. ANYmal, meanwhile, produces a 3D environment map and a database of its inspection duties, which is a critical step toward robotic autonomy. After ANYmal has been commissioned, the Vale team sends it out into the facility to complete its inspection rounds and collect data on its own.

Inspecting Critical Processing Machinery is now Simpler, Safer, and More Accurate

ANYmal’s first assignment takes place on Cauê’s ground floor, where all inspect belts, levers, electrical panels, and water drainage regions. ANYmal gathers thermal images and acoustic samples to analyze the temperature and proper operation of various machine belts and high-resolution shots of LED panels to interpret essential asset data. ANYmal inspects several gauges, dials, and levers within one of the facility’s machine rooms during its second assignment on the ground floor to assess and maintain adequate oil levels.

ANYmal’s responsibilities on the facility’s higher level include a photographic study of liquid suction and drainage operation, electronic panels attached to mill equipment, lubrication gauges, pipe conditions, and thermal temperature analysis of Cauê’s massive milling machinery.

ANYmal compiles data from each mission into a thorough report for Vale’s team at the end of each inspection round. ANYmal’s unfettered access to all defined regions as preferred inspection points exemplifies the applicability of the technology to mining and processing plants. “Our ANYmal can verify several asset conditions in addition to a circuit of critical spaces, stairs, and complex equipment—all autonomously, and always with the goal of integrating people, technologies, and processes that prioritize safety,” says Rayner Teixeira, Vale’s Digital Maintenance Coordinator.

ANYmal Meets the Challenges of the Mining Industry

ANYmal is built to take on the problems of mining and processing iron deposits, which are inherently damp, demanding, and harsh. ANYmal can offer Vale with consistent data throughout their facilities, regardless of external conditions, because of customizable components like microphones and thermal cameras. Its high-definition zoom camera and LED spotlight installed on the inspection unit ensure high-quality data capture in low-light circumstances to inspect small items at long distances.

ANYmal’s legged mobility, as opposed to wheel-based robotic platforms, allows the robot to navigate all types of terrain at Vale’s facilities, including steps, hills, irregular terrain with mud and water, and stairs. ANYmal’s water and dust-proof ingress protection certification (IP67) allows it to work efficiently in regions with a high concentration of conductive particles in the air and on surfaces, underlining the robot’s promise of decreasing human exposure to these potentially hazardous conditions.

Higher Quality Data Guarantees Condition-Based Maintenance

Vale is looking forward to implementing ANYmal throughout various sites to assist condition-based and data-driven maintenance after successfully navigating and capturing optical, thermal, and auditory data at multiple inspection points. Vale can achieve higher asset usage and availability levels, resulting in increased efficiency and sustainability by regularly collecting highly accurate data.

The Robot in the Iron Ore Mine

ANYbotics and Vale are planning to integrate robotics below the surface, where circumstances are darker, damper, and possibly more hazardous to human labor, as they roll out ANYmal’s autonomous inspection capabilities throughout their on-site processing facilities. The next frontier for this remarkable alliance between people and machines will be underground mines. Vale can demonstrate an increased investment in prioritizing people and adopting new solutions to critical difficulties, all while demonstrating economic sustainability, thanks to ANYbotics.