Atlas Copco // Boliden // Umeå Institute of Design
Boltec .04 a new type of rock-bolting machine. The main feature with this concept is that the manual work required by the operator when loading and servicing the drilling head can be done, unlike today, in absolute safety on the vehicle's deck, behind the cabin under a protective safety-roof.
Bolting is a procedure that is undertaken in mines to prevent rock fall or ceiling collapse. It is done by bolting rigs (bolting machines) that drill and screw in three-metre-long bolts in the mine tunnel in order to create a more stable mine and a safer working environment. Boltec .04 a new type of rock-bolting machine. The main feature with this concept is that the manual work required by the operator when loading and servicing the drilling head can be done, unlike today, in absolute safety on the vehicle's deck, behind the cabin under a protective safety-roof.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
No matter which methods (shotcreting, scaling, bolting) mining corporations use to enhance the safety in a mine, there is always a risk of rock fall or cave in (dilapidation). This puts pressure on the miners, being aware of that they could be in danger at work when stepping out of the vehicle for various tasks made by manual work. Nevertheless, an accident also has a negative impact on the company. The reputation of a company can be fatally damaged in case of an accident. The challenge was to find simple solutions that would not only improve the safety of the miner, but also make the miner feel safer while working in the mine.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
The solution to the problem of rock fall was to redesign the vehicle so that the miner can be protected by it's steel structure during the whole work shift. Today, mining vehicle cabins can withstand rocks that weight around 5-10 tones. But some work tasks require the miner to step out of the machine (service, exchange of drill-head, bolt loading of the bolting arm). These can now be undertaken under the Boltec .04 protective safety roof. The user can simply step out of the cabin to enter the service platform and access the bolting arm that folds back, always protected by a roof that can withstand around 10 tones of rock. Through the design of Boltec .04 the user feels safer and always stays protected.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Research was done on site at the Renström mine in Boliden, north of Sweden where the Advanced Product Design Class was equipped with cameras and notebooks to gather information and interview the workers on site. The visit gave a deeper insight to the life of a Swedish miner. The visit included observation in fields like transportation in the mine (taxi), drilling, charging, shotcreting, bolting, among with safety rooms inspections. The visit in general gave a more emotional approach to the project when the task became more grounded. We had the opportunity to walk by and observe the users as well as interview them. This was a great way to see what roles they played at work, what emotions and desires they had and what they thought about their own situation. By observing the users in their daily work routines we could immediately spot out smaller problems and interruptions that the users experienced such as neck constraints, problems with step-in and -out of the vehicles The most important facts were gathered through interviews, where both the workers and the company stressed the safety factor. Therefore, for me as a designer this became the key point in my research. I asked myself the question - If nobody can guarantee that a piece of rock won't fall on a worker, why should they then ever be exposed to this risk? Development stage included building several small scale mock-ups followed by 1:1 scale studies, interviews with engineers, sketching, feedback sessions from Atlas Copco and Boliden. A scale 1:20 model was made with supporting renderings and a project report that described the project.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
To summarize the advantages I am presenting the parties involved explain the advantages of concept briefly. User. For the user I have created a safer working environment along with enhancing the feeling of being safe. Since the user interviews showed that the miners favourite tasks were the manual ones we have also kept the work as it was. Mining Company. For the mining company I have improved the safety of the workers and by this created a way of staying competitive in recruitment by remaining a responsible employer. We have also reduced costs and damages by flexible tramming. Mining Equipment Provider. I have added a competitive product to the product portfolio and through this created a way of sustaining the brand through new technologies and enhanced safety. Economic Values. By shortening the vehicle it's easier to navigate in the mine, reducing damages made by impacts. By making the user feel safer, he/she can now focus on work in a better way becoming more productive. Environmental Values. As soon as the machine reaches the rock face, it's being wired up with cables providing electricity, making it an environmentally friendly mining machine.