Hey Prairie Dawg, “What about drones”

Prairie Dawg Practical
by Tim Holmberg, DEMI Equipment

Are you a person who is always trying to keep up with the latest technologies? If so, do you wait a bit and let the product gain some consumer confidence — as well as wait for all the little gremlins to be discovered that could be problematic? I’m always curious as to how much technology really finds its way into our everyday lifestyles — whether we want it or not — and if it will come back to haunt us or forever benefit generations to come.

Is this technology just a craze, or is nothing going to stop it from being used in just about every industry, culture and inevitably every household?

I remember first hearing the word “drone” and instantly thinking of some sort of sci-fi “Terminator” movie, where the robotic device was virtually indestructible and becomes smarter every day it survives on earth. The next introduction to the word drone — in a real-life application put to the ultimate test — was with the U.S. military and the Gulf War when soldiers were able to pinpoint missile destination targets with tremendous accuracy due to an undetectable drone providing laser point coordinates. From an elaborate war room with wide screen imaging monitors on ships positioned over 200 miles away from the determined targets, a drone can enter through a pipe air duct in the roof of a bunker and completely destroy the threat within — all while the soldier was controlling everything from a cushioned chair in that sophisticated room completely out of harm’s way.

Can these drones work in the aggregate and mining service industry? If they can be so purposeful a tool in the military, I think they definitely can be of value.

• How about a drone capable of delivering tools and parts high atop an asphalt cement/lime or frac sand silo? Can you imagine not having to carry anything all the way to the top of one of these silos? Think of the added safety value; especially in a fatigue-factor where carrying heavy parts can be extremely exerting to the person who isn’t used to climbing up these every day. Instead they can save that energy to perform the actual repair tasks at hand. I would guess this might add some efficiency as well.
• What about checking an elevated structure for a known damaged area that may not be fully accessible with a manlift, but the drone can get right at the location and provide both video and still picture details without having to shut the equipment down?
• They say drones will eventually be delivering parts so one day soon we may see parts being raced across town or even to a remote destination that is hard to get to by automobile due to traffic congestion. Excessive miles through mountains and around rivers or streams are eliminated because the drone is capable of straight line deliveries, making wrong parts or missed tools not such a big dilemma.
• Lastly, a large enough drone may one day offer lifting capabilities like that of a large mechanics service crane or — who knows? — maybe even a larger 50-ton rough terrain crane. Wouldn’t it be great to get out the remote control and send the drone overhead and hook up that 100-horsepower electric motor and set it over there on the crusher chassis while the mechanic easily stabilizes the movement and sets it right down into place as the operator sees everything live from the camera, sending video to the notebook screen, while the entire process is being recorded and later utilized, should it be required.

When it comes to technology in these technologically advanced times, you never want to limit your thinking ability and say there is no way that would ever work. Quite possibly, a very few short years later you may be amazed when what you had once deemed impossible is now right in front of your eyes, doing the possible. I am often amazed how creative this drone-captivated society has become in pushing the envelope to see what amazing task can be achieved next — like one day delivering packages door to door or searching for lost items or persons in twice the speed, if not more, and doing it without leaving your seat. And yes, it is fair to say that drones have now been around long enough to have most of their once troubling issues resolved, and it should be safe to purchase a used one or a less-expensive new one and still be much further advanced than when they were first released for general public utilization.

Please, if you enjoy these random aggregate and quarrying equipment based subjects, tune back in for more topics to come. Send me a subject or topic you would like brought to light and any associated questions you would like to have discussed and I will gladly provide my best answer based upon my specific point of view and personal experience. Questions or Comments? Tim Holmberg prairiedawg@pdpractical.com. Or simply write me a letter and we will send you a t-shirt or ball cap:
Tim Holmberg
2915 Idea Ave.
Aberdeen, SD 57401

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