HighService Corp and MIRS expand robotic solutions portfolio developed as “tailor-made suits”24 March 2021
– Through its subsidiary MIRS, which designs and develops robotic products and systems for the mining industry, the company positions and continues to create solutions that guarantee greater safety and efficiency in the sector’s production processes.
HighService Corp has become an incubator of new business lines, especially through its subsidiary Mining Industry Robotic Solutions, MIRS, which designs and develops robotic products and systems for mining.
“We are pioneers and rank first worldwide in robotic solutions in mining. This experience has allowed us to meet specific needs, i.e., to develop customized solutions that guarantee greater safety and efficiency in the sector’s production processes,” says Javier Espinoza, Vice President of Strategic Business Development of the company.
The executive recalls that “Foundries, for example, are extremely risky because workers are exposed to manual operations at high temperatures as well as to toxic gases. We have identified an opportunity to apply a robotic solution that reduces risks and guarantees that the process is carried out with the required quality”. This is the automation of the opening and closing of slag passages of the concentrate melting furnaces, which also offers greater reliability and control of the process.
“We began to apply it at Chuquicamata a decade ago, and we have been optimizing and improving it over the years,” says Espinoza.
He emphasizes that “today we are seeing a growing interest from smelters in our solution, not only in Chile but also abroad. We have already carried out feasibility engineering in Finland, Sweden, Australia and South Africa.
Espinoza says that another business line with high potential is the robotic washing of extraction trucks. “This activity is very complex in Chile because many of our mines are located above 3,500 meters above sea level and face extreme conditions,” he says.
“The mining trucks need to be washed before entering maintenance. But since there are environmental conditions such as mud, ice and snow, they must be washed with a large flow of water, in circumstances where water resources are scarce, and with a very high pressure that is a high risk for people,” he warns.
For this challenge, MIRS designed a robotized washing slab for trucks that adapts to different sizes, acts efficiently without exposing the maintainer, and reduces the consumption of fresh water. In the mining area, “we are also talking with mining companies and suppliers to develop a robotized fuel loading system, which will increase safety and allow better control of supply”, he adds.
The executive highlights that at the request of a gold mining company in Argentina, MIRS is developing the world’s first robotic equipment for harvesting and washing filter presses. “Due to environmental and labor regulations, the client needs to remove operators exposed to mercury gases, and we offered them a robotic solution that allows them to make their operation viable. We believe that this robot will revolutionize gold production plants,” he says.
Espinoza recalls that MIRS developed the only robotic equipment in the world designed to peel off initial sheets produced in electro-refining processes. The solution was applied at Codelco Ventanas and at Asarco Amarillo, in Texas, USA. “Since only our company offers this type of robotic system, we were recently invited by a large smelter in Europe to automate its refinery,” he says. The executive adds that we see significant growth in MIRS’ “customized” solutions, as they allow customers to access the benefits of robotics at any stage of their value chain without having to change or invest in new production processes