Project Description

Minera Los Pelambres is in central Chile and belongs to the Antofagasta PLC Group, one of the top ten copper producers worldwide and the third in the country. The Minera Los Pelambres is a sulphide deposit in Chile’s Coquimbo region. It produces copper concentrate (containing gold and silver), and molybdenum concentrates through a milling and flotation process.

Challenge

  • To deliver a personalized solution for handling the mining electrical power sources system of Minera Los Pelambres, aiming to increase workers’ security by eliminating direct electrical contact exposure.

Some challenges arise from the application of access control protocols and procedures for locking and unlocking electrical networks, equipment and systems. The fundamental objective of those procedures is to eliminate physical risks for personnel.
The workers were exposed to the electrical system risks in both ways, direct and indirect, through the contact with the active parts of the installation, and the contact with elements that could be accidentally dangerous. A fundamental risk to avoid is the so-called flash event, which consists of an area where an energy release caused by an electric arc occurs while handling medium voltage electrical devices inside electrical rooms. It was crucial to consider some legal and organizational restrictions that limited the range of possible solutions.

Solution

  • Development of a robotic platform to execute tasks, which can receive instruction through the combination of optical and force sensors, and at the same time, control the precision positioning required for the activity.

SK Godelius created a personalized solution that can “work as a human,” moving inside the electrical room to locate and identify the devices, and autonomously handle them. The instructions are received through an operation interface, and it independently executes the operation required on the selected electrical device. It manipulates a set of labels, equivalent to blocking cards, to have physical evidence of the activity performed.

Result

  • The project is a successful solution to the security issue that also had a significant impact on productivity.

This kind of activity is mostly performed by highly specialized personnel. Due to the scarcity of resources, the workers must execute their jobs between different electrical rooms inside the site, depending on the type of blockage required. As a result of the significant degree of automation of the system developed by SK Godelius, which counted on predefined sequences and drives, the project had solved problems at different levels of security and productivity.