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Research and Technology

Remote Vision System

Suncor BucketwheelBroken teeth are bad news, whether they're in your mouth or on a huge oil sands mining shovel. When a tooth breaks off a shovel bucket, it can cause serious damage to tools, conveyor belts, pumps and other equipment if it enters the downstream processing system. Missing teeth also result in inefficient bucket performance and costly downtime. 

Remote 'Machine Vision' System The Alberta Research Council worked jointly with Motion Metrics Inc. of Vancouver to develop a system to detect tooth breakage when it occurs. The system uses a video camera mounted on the cab of the shovel to capture the condition of the teeth as the bucket comes within camera range on each upswing. Using specialized computer algorithms, the system compares the bucket's toothline against a base case of an intact toothline. If a tooth is missing, an alarm warns the shovel operator to discard the load, thereby preventing the tooth from entering the downstream process and causing damage. The sensor is estimated to save the industry $250,000 a year.

Alberta Research Council. Alberta Research Council 2000 Annual Report. Edmonton: Alberta Research Council, 2000 with permission from the Alberta Research Council.



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