Caterpillar has detailed the bundle of technologies showcased at MINExpo for those who couldn’t attend in September, including next-generation cab designs and a wearable work safety product.
The next generation mining truck cab is built bigger to incorporate 30 new features for connectivity and adaptability.
These include a new seat, more legroom, heating, ventilation and air cooling (HVAC) system, and better cab filtration, putting the operator at the heart of the new design.
“Every time we get a new machine at the quarry, we feel that they are getting better. They are getting more sophisticated to help the operator run the machine,” said Mario Amaran, heavy equipment operator for CEMEX Quarry in Florida, United States.
“The panels and controls are within your reach without having to lose your focus on operating the machine. The comfort and the ride, I compare it to my car out on the turnpike.
“It’s very comfortable, even with our dirt road situations. We bring a lot of dirt to the hopper, and the operators are happy.”
Dump cycles on mining trucks are reduced by 12 seconds with AutoHoist, automatically raising the truck body while controlling the engine speed.
Also in the next generation cab, Enhanced Automatic Retarder Control (ARC) sets retarding speed based on grade, payload and brake oil temperature, and has proved up to 6 per cent higher retarding speeds in testing.
Also at MINExpo, Caterpillar launched the new Connected Worker system to protect workers and enhance communication.
The product forms part of the Cat MineStar Detect portfolio, in the form of a wearable tag to provide location services, SOS protocols, evacuation and social distancing alerts.
Using the product’s interconnectivity, workers can alert colleagues to unsafe conditions in the field, with data captured via video and audio for transmitting via a local server or in the cloud.
Connected Worker will become available in early 2022, around the same time as Caterpillar’s MineStar Guide and Surface Management also comes online.
Guide and Surface Management form part of the MineStar Edge platform which uses cloud-based computing for operational optimisation.
Guide is the on-board half of the pair, with a new user interface, intuitive training capabilities and increased efficiency for loading and grading.
Using 3D grade control, Guide includes high-precision block and material identification which is displayed for both on-board and in-office staff.
Surface Management allows reports to be viewed on office computers or mobile field devices, comparing mine plans to actual live results.
Tracking haul roads, dumps, loading areas and other truck movements, managers can analyse the best and worst of a surface mining operation to find room for improvement.
Caterpillar has seen previous Edge technology implemented on operations using anywhere up to 80 machines at once.