Nation’s largest private aggregate producer partners with Airware

By Luke Geiver | April 13, 2017

The nation’s largest family-owned producer of crushed stone, sand and gravel is shifting its focus to the sky. Luck Stone, based in Richmond, Virginia, has partnered with Airware to better utilize the San Francisco drone data capture and software provider’s capabilities. Luck Stone was an early adopter of small unmanned aircraft systems, deploying drones multiple times per week throughout its 22 operating sites in Virginia and North Carolina in 2016. The company has also turned a team member into a full-time licensed UAV pilot. 

Through its newly announced partnership with Airware, Luck Stone will be able to better utizlie Airware’s software and analytics platforms. “Luck Stone recognized the need to acquire greater amounts of accurate, repeatable data from the air that could be easily accessed and analyzed for improved operational efficiency,” said John Blackmore, survey and mapping supervisor at Luck Stone. According to Blackmore, the company began talking with Airware last year to evaluate all of the drone solutions on the market. The company partnered with Airware because of its analytics tools developed specifically for the mining and aggregate industry.

Blackmore was also enthused by the connections Airware has already made to other entities involved in the mining and aggregate space, specifically Caterpillar Inc. the ability of Airware to connect with Caterpillar’s machine telematics data will help Luck Stone interpret data quicker. “Our associates can access the information faster than ever before and analyze it to quickly improve our operational efficiencies at quarry sites and make better decisions for the company,” Blackmore said.

Airware’s Emmanuel de Maistre, vice president of AEC solutions, said Luck Stone’s commitment to UAV technology is unprecedented for a privately-owned mining company.

In late 2016, Airware acquired Redbird, a data-capture and analytics firm that had designed a system for mining and quarrying. The system allows a user to plan drone flights, capture high-quality data, analyze it and create a survey-grade mine and quarry site map of up to 1,000 acres per day. The system can help plan blasting operations, track production, monitor the working environment, analyze safety berms, blocks and haul roads and help operators on-site maintain compliance.