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Total Station proves totally efficient

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Pilbara Iron Mine is so impressed with its Trimble S6 Total Station that it intends buying several more so all 15 of its mine surveyors have the chance to use the most up-to-date technology.

The Pilbara Iron Survey group is part of the Technical Support Unit that services a wide range of customers in the dynamic and rapidly growing iron ore business.

Pilbara Operations mine survey superintendent Paul Craine tells Australian Mining that fast, efficient and accurate instrumentation is critical to maintaining output in its production-support, planning and spatial information roles.

“The S6 complements the 10 or so GPS units that are in constant use,” Craine says.

“The S6 provides the Pilbara Iron Mine Survey group with a range of capabilities, which enables it to become our standard Total Station instrument across all of the mine sites.

“This instrument fleet standardisation enables consistent service level capabilities and makes asset control, maintenance and competency-training more manageable,” he says.

At Pilbara Iron the robotic and reflectorless capabilities of the Trimble S6 are used in the establishment and verification of survey control points; detail, engineering and structural deformation surveys, particularly in processing plant and infrastructure areas; safe and remote field capture of geological and geotechnical features on pit highwalls; and to conduct routine production and planning stakeout and pickup surveys in the event of GPS base station outage.

Craine says it is also used when satellite configurations are not favourable, particularly under highwalls, and to conduct stockpile volume surveys without entering into the stockpile area.

“The S6 is not just visually impressive but has features previously missing but required by mine surveyors. These include co-axial reflectorless measurement and EDM measurement at zenith angles.”

Craine says previous units were either older, heavier or did not interface with the GPS systems as effectively.

“The S6 is lighter and faster than previous models, the user interface is aligned with the GPS controller systems and there are improvements to battery-power management,” he says.

“These incremental improvements may seem small but together they present field efficiency gains in a mining environment where the constant supply of accurate information for planning, development and production efforts is critical.

“The registered or authorised mine surveyor can now allocate time to manage the data, ensure QA practices are followed as well as compliance with company and government standards, and codes of practice.”

“We will introduce more S6 units to address gaps in a our measurement functionality and to accommodate current business expansion needs.

“I also believe that the S6 will contribute to job satisfaction and professional retention strategies at Pilbara Iron.”

Craine says the S6 is well worth looking at closely when purchasing a Total Station instrument.

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