3GSM GmbH: Making Mining and Tunneling Measurable

Andreas Gaich, Founder & General Manager
The integration of new technologies in the mining cycle allows for measurements to be recorded and analyzed and production to be optimized while minimizing environmental impacts. Driven by the idea of providing a new standard for rock mass characterization in conventional tunneling, "3GSM provides deep knowledge on the state of the art in mining and tunneling but simultaneously is a native software company," asserts Andreas Gaich, Founder and General Manager, 3GSM GmbH.

Founded in 2002, the company’s multidisciplinary competence has brought their innovative products and solutions to over 40 countries around the globe, making them one of the leading providers of 3D systems in the conservative tunneling and mining industry, where innovation is often overpassed.

Bringing the experts in application and software development together, 3GSM’s innovative applications help streamline the mine to mill process, decrease energy consumption or cycle times, and determine accurate data for decision-making processes.

The company’s offerings come as a software suite that allows for the generation of 3D images and includes dedicated modules for their assessments targeting two main applications: rock mass characterization and blast design and analysis. "3GSM’s software consists of a pack of several single modules that can be combined in different ways in order to address a particular application," explains Gaich.

The ShapeMetriX 3D is a system for geometric rock mass characterization for rock slopes and underground excavations, applicable within geological mapping, both on surface and underground. The ShapeMetriX TBM applies to the same process for mechanized tunneling with tunnel boring machines, while the ShapeMetriX UAV generates 3D images using aerial imagery. Furthermore, the BlastMetriX 3D allows for face profiling and planning of blasts using 3D images, while the BlastMetriX UAV produces the same by using aerial imagery. "Our systems all follow the same principle," affirms Gaich.

Data acquisition happens by simply taking photographs

"Data acquisition happens by simply taking photographs, which are then computer-analyzed through application-specific, dedicated software products."

The automated image processing in between these processes does not rely on special knowledge around photogrammetry. Measurements happen inside the software and not cost-optimized hardware, making the overall process faster, more accurate, and more complete in terms of results.

One particular example of 3GSM’s solutions' application is a large iron ore mine that does sublevel caving. "They started with a fixed installation of a camera setup for the documentation of draw points, such as the mucking of the latest blasts. By installing new setups and updates to improve their system, we allowed them to image passing loaders automatically and record the volume inside the bucket automatically, which lead to a continuous observation of the material put through in order to optimize blast works and the overall efficiency and safety," explains Gaich.

It is not only the functionality of their products and solutions that puts 3GSM ahead of the competition, but their ease of use, as well—requiring no special skills in surveying, photogrammetry, or anything else beyond the clients’ real professions. "We focus on the clients’ needs and provide solutions "all from one hand" which seamlessly interact with each other," connotes Gaich, "making 3GSM a single point of contact to address new requests and develop new, fully integrated functions."

Heading into the future, 3GSM is carving the footprints of two new applications ready to hit the market, the 3D imaging and analysis solution for mechanized tunneling using a TBM (tunnel boring machine) along with blast design and analysis from aerial imagery. "Even though these applications sound to be far from each other, the used software kernel is the same," concludes Gaich, "making it all the more interesting."


Graz, Austria

Andreas Gaich, Founder & General Manager

3GSM provides easy-to-use products and applications for generating 3D images of rock and terrain surfaces to facilitate the work for data acquisition in mining and tunneling