Mining operations must balance challenges – increasing efficiency and productivity and machine uptime while reducing costs and boosting operator safety. Autonomous applications could be the answer. Cat® MineStar™ Command, Caterpillar’s suite of autonomy solutions, is helping customers tackle all these requirements at once. With autonomy solutions that range from a remote control to fully autonomous operation for underground, dozing, drilling and hauling, Cat Command is transforming the way our customers work, helping them perform at levels never seen before.
Using Cat Command for dozing, for example, a single operator can manage up to four machines at once from a remote location. On-board algorithms use GNSS positioning and sensors to guide machines, maintaining precise grade and consistent blade loads automatically. Existing deployments have achieved better than 90 per cent machine utilization with this system. In addition to enabling more efficient work, this means less physical fatigue for operators who are freed to work in a more comfortable office environment.
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The same is true of Cat Command for drilling, available on the new Cat MD6250. With high precision and more accurate depth tracking, autonomous drills set the tone for your entire operation. Command for drilling allows your site to unlock enhanced results through drill automation – which will ultimately reduce operating costs and improve productivity through safe, consistent and accurate drill operations. From predrill planning to blasting, Command impacts the bottom line all the way through the crusher and mill.
Caterpillar’s fully autonomous haulage system, Cat Command for hauling allows mining trucks to load, haul and dump with virtually no human intervention. Trucks equipped with Command respond to calls to the shovel, move into position, haul to dump points and even report for maintenance – all without an operator on board. Autonomous trucks can interact safely with other manned and light vehicles, thanks to Command’s multiple, redundant sensing systems. It also allows an operator to program the system to help maintain optimal operating speeds and safe following distances.
Cat Command for hauling has been deployed for more than five years. In that time, customers have discovered measurable benefits of the system, including up to a 30 per cent increase in overall productivity as reported by the Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) in Australia. Fortescue continues to grow its autonomous trucks in its operations through new machines and retrofits.
Customers using Caterpillar’s autonomous solutions are positioned for success, thanks to the expertise that accompanies each system. With every new Command for hauling implementation, Caterpillar sends its dedicated deployment team to help Cat dealers and mine personnel during the startup phase. Thereafter, the Caterpillar and Cat dealer teams continue to help the customer drive efficiency of the autonomous system with the customer throughout their operations. This additional expertise ensures customers get the most out of their autonomous systems and become even more competitive and profitable.
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