New technology to boost quarrying industry
New technologies such as drones and 3D modelling have been playing a key role in the UAE's quarrying industry, helping to increase safety and improve efficiency, experts at the RAK Quarrying Show said.
The event was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, and in partnership with Stevin Rock, a quarrying company which operates three sites across Ras Al Khaimah with reserves estimated at around four billion tonnes.
Philip Angell, CEO of VPS, a company which provides drones for quarry surveys, said that drones-as-a-service (DaaS) is the way forward. "DaaS is a very good investment and business model that companies in the region should look into."
Wael Jaber, sales manager for the Middle East and Africa, Dassault Systemes, spoke about creating sustainable value with 3D modelling and simulation and how having the right data is invaluable.
"What attracted us to Stevin Rock was the opportunity to work with a company that believed in innovation. Our mapping software allows companies to maximise mining efficiency, improve extraction, and extend the life of the mine. You can also set better targets if you have the data that allows you to get a clearer picture."
Experts at Galadari Trucks & Heavy Equipment (GTHE), a leading provider of heavy earthmoving, construction and materials handling equipment in the UAE, also spoke about the importance of minimising the impact of machinery on the landscape. The company showcased several of its latest products at the event, including the latest in ripper technology.
Swaroop Seem, deputy general manager at Komatsu Middle East, spoke about the benefits of ripper technology as an alternative to drilling and blasting. "It is important for us to limit how much of an impact we are having on the surrounding landscape. The key for us is precision in our operations."
Brian Howard, operations manager at Stevin Rock, noted that the quarrying industry at the moment is very strong with a lot of investments going on around it. "Business is strong for us and one of the benefits of operating in this particular region is that the oil and gas industry is very strong. We play a crucial role in the economies of the UAE and the GCC."
Speaking about the role that technology has played in the sector, he said: "We pride ourselves on innovation and are always looking to set the standard. As our business has grown we have increased our reliance on various technologies to become more efficient and meet our demand targets. One of the biggest areas where we have set our focus is on how we can use technology to minimise the impact that large-scale quarry operations have on the surrounding environment. Reducing our carbon footprint is one of our biggest concerns."
Asked about the outlook of the industry, Howard said that the number of mega projects in the construction pipeline would provide a boost to business. "Big projects as a whole are good news for us. The pipeline of projects in the region is quite healthy, and with oil prices picking up, we expect to see a lot more investments. The outlook that we see is very strong both in the region, and overseas."
Stevin Rock has the capacity to produce and sell more than 80 million tonnes per year of limestone, dolomite, and gabbro for the construction industry, as well as for the cement, steel, and mining industries in the UAE, the GCC, and internationally. The company has supplied construction material for a number of iconic projects around the UAE including the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Metro, as well as the recent expansions of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai International Airports.