As developing technologies and software solutions make quarrying operations leaner and safer, EPC-UK is succeeding in bringing the value adding services our digitalized solutions can deliver to the sand and gravel sector:
EPC-UK and EPC Metrics
In 2022 we successfully launched our subsidiary company, EPC Metrics, and with it a team of experienced engineering specialists capable of offering technical support and services to improve blasting, site mapping and monitoring within quarrying operations.
“The technical and consultancy services provided by EPC Metrics are increasing the quality of data available to make informed decisions within the quarrying industry,” Commercial Manager, Ryan Ward explains. “This enables us to support and improve a cross section of quarrying disciplines utilising state-of-the-art drone mapping services to help sand and gravel production become increasingly efficient. EPC Metrics’ additional specialisms of noise monitoring, vibration monitoring equipment provision, hire and calibration, and engineering consultancy can also realise a series of problem-solving solutions related to the sand and gravel field.”
Drone mapping services
By drone mapping a site and processing gathered data for examination within an interactive software platform, sand and gravel operations can have digitalized access to information detailing their haul road gradients, bund height calculations, stockpile surveys, and volumetric analysis, as well as project tracking.
The data can also be used to conduct safety telematics and ensure compliance, study interactive 3D models, utilise distance and height measurement tools and support quarry development planning.
“There are currently 36 Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) qualified drone pilots within the EPC-Metrics team,” Ryan continues, “with the skills to operate drones nationwide, including a WingtraOne Professional vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fixed-wing drone from within a modern fleet. The drones are used to safely capture data from any area of a quarry which is then used, in conjunction with photogrammetric techniques, to create highly accurate, fully geo-referenced 3D models, from face profiles to full quarry maps, which can be regularly recreated as a quarry environment changes.
Remote environmental monitoring
“The technology we’re bringing to the field is also enabling EPC Metrics to perform fully remote, environmental monitoring on site,” Ryan says. “Through our partnerships with leading system manufacturers we can measure noise, vibration, air over-pressure and environmental conditions. As most drilling & blasting operations must adhere to strict, site-specific planning regulations, including noise restrictions, we’re working to make sure that activities, including those relevant to sand and gravel processes, remain compliant. We use, and can hire out, permanent fixed monitoring stations to gather event data and real-time results in the field. These results can then be fed back to an online platform, reviewed and analysed, then easily communicated to relevant parties.”
Process in practice
Using its drone technology, EPC Metrics has supported digitalized quarrying processes at several quarries across the UK, recording and analysing the data gathered, and safely optimising aspects of mineral extraction performance.
By combining advanced photogrammetry techniques and browser-based 3D surveys, EPC Metrics has helped to prioritise the quarries’ operational safety and enhance site efficiencies, development and mineral extraction planning. By improving data accuracy, using highly detailed imagery from a 42-megapixel camera, advanced data analysis from volumetric cut and fill measurements has been made possible. This has enabled EPC Metrics to progress its work in safety analytics, face height and distance measuring. Furthermore, as the information can be geo-referenced using GPS, EPC Metrics’ surveying practice has been made more accurate, cost-effective, and reliable.
“The technology we’re using is supported by our own extensive expertise and knowledge,” Ryan adds. “It is providing us with additional skills to optimise operating procedures and problem-solve as well as monitor environmental impact and noise. Add to this our technically enhanced ability to perform more effective safety audits, as well as product development and testing, and we’re demonstrating EPC-UK and EPC Metrics’ success in improving sand and gravel quarrying operations, the digitalized way.”