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Boral implements drone technology for quarries


With social distancing rules and travel bans still prevalent across the country, Boral has deployed a distributed drone network to easily provide stockpile measurements across its Australian quarries.

Boral is required to measure stockpiles at its quarries as part of both internal and external audits.

In previous years Boral used aircraft to provide volumetric stockpile measurements. But with fly-in, fly-out travel bans still in place due to COVID-19, Boral has enlisted drones to provide the data instead.

The aggregates company has partnered with BIRDI, which operates a national network of fully licensed drone operators based in Australia that capture stockpile data for volumetric measurement specialists to analyse.

According to Boral Australia national quarries general manager Shane Braddy, drones have offered a cost-effective and reliable way to deliver the data while remaining in compliance with the country’s COVID-19 safety requirements.

“Recent advancements in capture technology and mapping software have resulted in increased accuracy for the purposes of volumetric assessments,” he said. “By leveraging this improved technology, we have been able to improve efficiency and reduce costs.”

A total of 50 local operators successfully captured 57 of Boral’s Australian quarry sites across a two-day period. With BIRDI only employing local drone operators, Boral’s drone usage was able to support local employment across the country.

“Safety was the number one priority and was carefully considered in every step of the process,” BIRDI chief executive officer Sebastian Robertson said.

“It was great to work with Boral and demonstrate the national reach and responsiveness of our network. The turnaround was swift and the collaborative nature of the engagement meant that output needs were clear from the start.”

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