TORC Robotics, LLC has provided a remote control solution for a 40 cubic yard shovel and 240-ton mining truck to a large open-pit mining operation in the western United States.
The mine recently experienced a series of landslides. The resulting debris derailed production as the avalanche created numerous hazardous areas where humans could no longer venture. TORC provided tele-operated systems that enable remediation of high wall failures to begin much sooner than it would with manned equipment. The remote control systems provided by TORC allows the mine operators to quickly increase production that would have stalled due to the hazardous recovery.
The Project Manager stated that, “TORC has been instrumental in adding new capabilities that the mine has never had at their disposal previously and are very valuable.”
The TORC solution converted existing equipment (a CAT 793D haul truck and a Hitachi EX5600 hydraulic excavator) to operate via a tele-operated control system. The equipment can rapidly move between manual and tele-operated control by a single switch. Equipment is manually driven to a transition zone, where the operator leaves the vehicle’s cab. The equipment operator then goes into the Integrated Remote Operations Center (IROC) that contains two operator stations and a spotter. A nearby communications trailer provides a dedicated wireless communications link between the equipment and the operator.
Once the operator is in the remote control room, the vehicle is driven remotely into the hazardous zone. The operator control station is designed to exactly mirror the control center in the cab, allowing seamless transitions for the workers between manual and remote control. This allows the mine to continue working without putting personnel into risky and dangerous situations.