Innovative technology is enabling professionals on site to measure stockpiles more quickly and easily than ever, saving significant time and costs, explains URC Ventures CEO David Boardman.
Measuring stockpiles of material before moving them has traditionally taken considerable time, money and effort. Traditional surveying and measurement teams, which can take time and cost to secure and transport to site, use techniques such as drilling into stockpiles and LiDAR laser measurement equipment to gauge the volume of material. However, innovative technology has delivered a game changing solution for the wider aggregate industry.
Any stockpile can now be quantified by using the new Stockpile Reports Lite iPhone app. It allows professionals to measure piled material themselves by simply pointing an iPhone at the material and walking around it. The measurement results are accessible quickly, for a small fraction of the typical cost and well before the time it would take a measurement crew to even show up.
The innovation was born out of URC Ventures’ work with the large enterprise construction materials industry around the world since 2012, with their inventory management platform and patented measurement technology. URC Ventures solves large-scale industry challenges through the real time digitisation of the physical world.
With the drastic improvements in mobile phone camera technology, combined with computer vision and machine learning, and with the exponential growth in processing power, we are able to make a simple, low-cost, easy to use solution available to the entire market.
The enterprise inventory management version, Stockpile Reports, from which the Stockpile Reports Lite app has been developed, is image based and uses 3-D reconstruction to accurately measure stockpiles. It was an executive of an aggregates producer who gave them the idea to develop the Stockpile Reports technology, which is now a successful product used in 25 countries across the globe.
Before Stockpile Reports arrived, the standard practice in the aggregates industry was to call out a measurement team or surveyors once a year, twice a year, or even quarterly. This is extremely costly and few sites can afford to have a team on hand or hire an outside firm frequently. So they have to estimate, often very inaccurately, and when they do get it measured there is a big difference.
This is clearly unsustainable and Stockpile Reports has transformed this situation and the Stockpile Reports Lite app opens these benefits up to everyone.
How it works
After downloading the app, users simply point the iPhone camera at the surface of the pile and walk around its perimeter. The app captures high resolution imagery that is then uploaded to the cloud and processed to generate a report. Independent tests have shown the measurements to be within 1 per cent to 2 per cent of LiDAR (laser measurement) surveys.
It only takes a couple of minutes to measure and your results are auto-generated quickly. Once you are on the purchase screen, select the amount of measurements you would like to purchase and go through the check out process. You get one free measurement in order to try it out first.
Once you make a purchase, you are now ready to measure. One of the many great things about the Stockpile Reports Lite App is that you can re-measure a pile as many times as you want. You won’t consume that measurement until you tap the ‘Accept Measurement’ button.
When your measurement is uploaded and processed you will see that it is in a ‘Ready for Approval’ state. You can examine the 3D model, play back the video of your measurement, and decide whether or not to keep it. If you don’t like it, you are free to measure again. There is no additional charge. If you like what you see, you just tap the ‘Accept Measurement’ button and the final measurement volume will be revealed.
The benefits are numerous: fights over the amount of material bought, sold, produced, or delivered have been a long-standing battle in the industry. Resolving those disputes requires bringing in measurement crews, taking days, and often costing £1,000.
Companies who need to scale inventory management across their entire operation can upgrade to the Stockpile Reports enterprise version, giving them unlimited user accounts, unlimited measurements, the ability to measure larger piles, bunkered material measurements, carry out aerial measurements via drone, and managing all the data and insights across all their locations via the Stockpile Reports enterprise web portal.
For more details click here.
Download the app from the iTunes App Store