Robotic Manipulation for Automated Maintenance – Feasibility Study

Robotic Manipulation for Automated Maintenance

Project dates: 01/01/2019 - 21/12/2020

Technology Aim

The automation of large parts of mining offers the potential to not just optimize the processes but also reduce the risk for personnel. While significant progress has been seen in the last years in automating vehicle operations, there is still a need for human intervention in case of vehicle breakdowns. This project aims to reduce the dependence for on-site personnel to fix and repair machines through the use of robot manipulators.

The capabilities of pick and place robots in unstructured environments have seen improvement in the last years, not least because of the advances in sensor technologies and the tighter integration with vision systems. A rather limited amount of research has looked at applying automated robotic manipulation to applications in the area of maintenance.

The project builds on QUT’s expertise in robotic grasping and manipulation, which recently led to winning the Amazon Robotics Challenge. Existing approaches in academia but also commercially available ones will be reviewed and evaluated in terms of performance, practicality and potential in mining machinery maintenance applications.

Real World Impact

This feasibility study extends the knowledge in currently available capabilities in robotic manipulation systems for use in mining machinery maintenance. It suggests possible solutions to reduce required on-site personnel and personnel risk. The project furthermore improves the understanding of where the limit of currently available technologies lies.

The long-term benefits to the mining industry would be in potential significant reduction in on-site maintenance personnel, faster machine turnaround times after breakdown, and reduction in maintenance costs.

Funding / Grants

  • Mining3 (2019 - 2019)

Other Team Members

  • Dr Juxi Leitner (Lyro)
  • Francois Letourneau