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Automated Mining: China Introduces First Intelligent Rock-Drilling Robot

China debuts its first intelligent rock-drilling robot, a significant advancement in the mining business. The robot enables for remote operation, which automates the drilling process and increases safety. Xingfa Group overcome significant hurdles through years of research and development.

A worker remotely controls a rock drill
Credit: CMG

This innovative technology, developed by the Xingfa Group, represents a significant step towards completely automated mining operations. The robot has recently been put into operation at the Shuangkouping Phosphate Mine in Hubei Province, central China.

With just a few nudges on the joystick and clicks on the mouse, a worker can control the robot to precisely drill 53 holes, resembling a video game experience. Li Daoyong, an employee at the Shuangkouping Phosphate Mine with over a decade of expertise, claims that this new drilling process is not only simpler but also safer than earlier approaches.

Previously, manual drilling was extremely demanding, forcing workers to sweat considerably. Then came rock-drilling machines, which minimised physical exertion but required intense concentration and precision to avoid mistakes. However, with the development of the intelligent rock-drilling robot, operators can now operate it remotely using a computer and a mouse, completely automating the process.

Rock drilling is an important first stage in underground mining operations, and Xingfa Group has overcome significant obstacles that have long hampered automated rock drills around the world. After five years of dedicated research and development, the engineers have combined satellite-aided location, high-precision scanning, millimeter-level error minimization, joint wear repair technologies, and integrated AI for unmanned operation.

China's first intelligent rock-drilling robot
Credit: CMG

As a result, the robot is able to self-position, communicate across a network, and assess its surroundings autonomously. It allows a single operator to remotely manage three or more drills at once, revolutionising mining operations at the Shuangkouping Phosphate Mine.

Wang Song, the mine's technical director, voiced his enthusiasm for the new technology, saying, "These robots have revolutionised our mining operations. We've transitioned from the traditional two-person-per-drill method to a system where two people can supervise three to four drills simultaneously."

The deployment of these robots has improved efficiency while also reducing labour, making the mine a safer place to work. The Shuangkouping Phosphate Mine intends to replace all eight of its rock-drilling machines with robots this year, reducing the workforce by 20 to 30 percent.

  • China introduces its first intelligent rock-drilling robot, a breakthrough in the mining industry

  • The robot allows for remote operation, automating the drilling process and improving safety

  • Xingfa Group overcame critical challenges through years of research and development

Source: CGTN

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