For Leonard Toenjes, seeing was believing after witnessing drone tech advances at a recent convention. Toenjes is the president of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri. Like many industry leaders, Toenjes has “seen the light” when it comes to the drone revolution and he writes in a recent column that quarry operations will especially reap benefits from drone tech.
Toenjes reports that he recently attended an industry seminar he thought would cover drone photography for real estate and building information modeling. Instead, Toenjes learned that drones can be used to measure rock piles at quarries. Sure, it’s not a sexy use of drones but currently quarry operators must rely on manual measurements by a worker armed with pad, pencil and measuring tape – a time-consuming, mind-numbing task.
“Quarry operators need accurate and timely systems for tracking inventory and calculating the volume of their rock piles,” Toenjes said. The AGC chief learned that autonomous quadcopters can gather data from above and transmit it to a software program for deeper analysis, obtaining accurate measurements for overall size and rock volume which in turn makes inventory entry easier.
“Drones offer accuracy, safety and the ability to take more frequent inventory calculations in different locations on a regular basis, which translates into cost savings for quarry operators,” Toenjes said. “This presentation opened my eyes to the future ahead of us as our businesses and those of all our industry partners change around us.”
Much like Toenjes, leaders in the quarry sector have already begun to appreciate drone technology. In September, a quarry operator in Virginia demonstrated drone inspections to Sen. Mark Warner, prompting the official to praise the drone sector’s bright future.
Cedar Mountain Stone Corp. deploys drones to evaluate the effectiveness of controlled quarry explosions in the extraction of granite. The company uses technology by senseFly, a drone company specializing in infrastructure mapping and inspection.