Miners dig deep underground, and Hagerbach digs deep into the future. Transferring aspects of life into mountains could become a reality one day. Hagerbach (Switzerland) became a testing ground for mining and tunnelling technologies, and today, they offer an academy, research and test installations for engineering and safety in mining and tunnelling sector.
Safety is at the centre point of activities in Hagerbach. Participants learn safety practices, research safe methods and materials, simulate proper ways of equipment handling and try out new technologies. They looked at available safety assistance solutions in the market and tested different technologies for their safety concept and eliminated all of them except Crew Companion.
A digital twin is a powerful concept: it creates a digital model of reality. In Hagerbach, it is their test gallery. You are only halfway from fully understanding if you think of a digital map featuring a few interactive points. Think instead of a virtual world with real-time data like temperature, pressure, movement, positions, humidity, and then morph that into a 3D environment to simulate and compute fire drills, blasting, or drilling holes with new technology. The advantage: it is cheap, fast, and safe.
"In the past, you had few chances, if at all, to try things out before time or resources ran out. Today, you simulate your experiment, choose the solution that shows the best result and only then conduct a proof-of-concept field trial", says Kompatscher. "It is so much faster, with better results." A digital guinea pig.