Before deploying a new transformer for an underground substation at its gold mine in Carletonville, South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti had a laser survey performed to ensure adequate clearances along the tunnel haulage route. This project was specifically designed to identify a cost-effective 3D solution to resolve underground clashes prior to the transportation of equipment in confined spaces. Laser scanning was selected to capture an accurate 3D model point cloud of the uneven underground surfaces. Results would be integrated with rail design to ensure the transformer equipment could be transported on a rail dolly.
African Consulting Surveyors set up 28 scans and captured over 221 million points along the 640-meter-long tunnel at Mining Level 116 – 3,500 meters below ground level. Using the point-cloud data, Graphic Engineering Solutions & Services (GESS) used Bentley 3D modeling software to create a 3D animation of the rail dolly and transformer traveling along the underground rail alignment. The animation was used to identify clash locations on sidewalls and hanging walls, allowing detected clashes to be corrected prior to transportation of the transformer.
Because of the unevenness of the underground surfaces and the very tight spaces, it was not possible to achieve an accurate result using traditional surveying methods. Using laser scanning coupled with 3D modeling and animation, all potential clashes were isolated and identified in advance. Transportation issues were thus avoided and mine productivity maintained, providing significant cost savings. In addition, final mesh and lacing of the tunnels could be completed after affected areas were corrected, also resulting in potential savings.
GESS used Bentley 3D modeling software – MicroStation, Bentley Pointools, InRoads, Bentley PowerCivil for South Africa, Structural Modeler, Bentley Descartes, and Bentley Navigator – to create the 3D animation of the rail dolly and transformer traveling along the underground rail alignment.