Automate to stay ahead

Automation is leading the way in the global mining industry, keeping workers safe while increasing efficiency and productivity.

From driverless trucks to robotic drills, automated technology and equipment has already presented the industry with a world of opportunity and has helped evolve the sector to become more sustainable and innovative.

Staying at the forefront of new mine technologies has become a key business focus for many, with more companies investing in the newest innovations.

The recent Worthy Parts Industry Link Auction and Expo held in December showcased the latest automation technology, including Remote Control Technologies’ (RCT) Automation Centre.

Bringing the latest industry know-how and technologies to mining regions across the globe, the expo allowed attendees the opportunity to test the centre.

The recently upgraded technology was designed specifically with operator comfort and functionality in mind and offers a leather chair, high-definition screens and a new navigation controller device.

RCT’s ControlMaster automation range presents a world of opportunity for technology adopters in the industry. Unlike other automation solutions on the market, RCT’s offering is agile across all mobile machines, regardless of make or model, making it ideal for sites operating with mixed fleets and those not wanting to replace existing infrastructure.

RCT Automation and Control Product Manager Brendon Cullen said there was no one-size-fits-all approach when it came to automation.

“Different minesites are at different stages and the majority of them are operating diverse fleets,” he said.

“We wanted to ensure we could supply various levels of automation to suit a range of projects and equipment requirements, with the options of making staged upgrades if and when required down the track.”

The strategy has meant RCT can adapt and deliver new features to the market, which ensures clients get the most out of the autonomous equipment.

RCT’s ControlMaster was designed with teleremote solutions and a guidance automation package, which features Guidance Dash (G- Dash) and point-to-point applications.

“Guidance automation has already been proven to combat operator fatigue considerably, as less concentration is required to keep mobile machines from hitting the drive walls, ensuring operators focus on the important tasks like digging,” Mr Cullen said.

The innovative point-to-point application allows a machine to tram from one point to the other with the simple push of a button. The G-Dash application provides operators with real-time graphical information displaying machine speed, RPM and gear, laser degradation, signal strength, pitch and roll and more options.

“Operators can add certain features that are necessary to improve the autonomous process,” Mr Cullen said.

“Clients might only have the need for one or two additional features, so this option allows clients to select the options they deem necessary to suit their purposes.”

Mr Cullen said he spoke to roughly 100 people at the recent event in Kalgoorlie.

“Most of the people we spoke to were mining industry executives with another 20 per cent of people representing original equipment manufacturers and the remaining 20 per cent from mining industry suppliers,” he said.

“The attendees had a lot of positive reactions to the aesthetics and ergonomics of the Automation Centre and they found the four screens to be extremely helpful in presenting information.

“Most of the enquiries we received related to ControlMaster, but we also fielded some interest about EarthTrack and how companies could better utilise their machine data.”

Image: Kalgoorlie Mayor John Bowler operates the Automation Centre at RCT’s stall.

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