Dump Trucks (And Specific Survey Control)
Dump trucks (haul trucks) are a large rear-dumping or bottom-dumping truck which are intended for the transport or hauling of large amounts of materials. The choice for size and type of dump trucks at any mine will depend a lot of variables, such as the type of mine, size of mine, minerals being mined, capital invested or investable, or excavation machinery available.
The dump trucks in the photos below are normally more suitably used in open-cut operations. You will generally find smaller articulated trucks used in underground mining. There is also bottom dump trucks (or belly dumpers) which can discharge material from below the machine. They are commonly used for transporting coal to a dump station with a bin designed to allow the coal fall from below the truck into a hopper/crusher. This illustration gives a basic example of how a rear dump truck (side view) or bottom dump truck (front view) can dump into a hopper.
Dump Truck Photos:
For more information specifically about dump trucks, click here.
Dump Trucks - Survey Duties
As dump trucks have the basic purpose of moving material loaded by excavation machinery, surveyors don't have much involvement with controlling their operations (i.e. they work to the parameters set by the excavation or earth moving machinery they are working in conjunction with). Their utilisation within a mine is usually as according to a schedule planned by engineers. In some circumstances, surveyors will have tasks which involve calculating truck load figures as well as surveying the capacity of their tray. While conducting blind-spot safety research (or similar research activities), surveyors may assist by surveying particular blind-spots experienced from the driver's view in the cabin. During accident investigations involving trucks, surveyors will record certain features of the truck relevant to the accident.
A Move Forward In Technology
Komatsu, a large machinery design and manufacturing company developed an Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) called Frontrunner which is currently in use inĀ Rio Tinto's West Angelas mine in Western Australia. The system allows for dumps trucks to be remotely controlled using a computer in an office which can be linked over the internet (and therefore the location of the control centre can be anywhere).
For specific information about the details of this system, click here.
Autonomous Haulage System Survey Control
So what does this have to do with surveyors? Given that the system mentioned above relies heavily on survey grade GPS; to ensure the upkeep and safety of the machinery, surveyors will no doubt be required to maintain the GPS base stations and control networks surrounding such operations. High precision GPS only works if it a base station is accurately surveyed in position, and the received equipment is maintained and monitored. Therefore if these systems become more prominent in the industry, and rely on GPS to work correctly, surveyors will need to be involved in the installation of the systems and somewhat involved in the upkeep and monitoring of the systems.