Under the theme of The Future of Mining is Now, Atlas Copco, the global leader in surface and underground mining equipment, unveiled a fully autonomous and cab-less Pit Viper 275 blasthole drill at MINExpo. Known as the PV-275 CA (C=cab-less and A=autonomous) for now, the drill included the full suite of Atlas Copco products required to run an autonomous drill. The Atlas Copco Command Center found at the center of the booth displayed the office environment for running an autonomous drill fleet.
While the PV-275 CA was designed and built as a concept for the MINExpo show, it is fully operational and the technology on display was identical to the technology that Atlas Copco has been using for years on semi- and fully autonomous drills. The heart of the autonomous Pit Viper is the Rig Control System (RCS) launched first by Atlas Copco over a decade ago. This CANbus system provides the building blocks for a fully autonomous, and now cab-less Pit Viper.
Semi- and fully autonomous drills with the operator sitting remotely tend to have higher utilization than machines with operators in the cab. Seeing this, many customers have asked if a cab is necessary with an autonomous drill. As the Atlas Copco autonomous technology continues to demonstrate success and reliability, the question becomes more relevant with the cab being used less. A cab-less drill also shows Atlas Copco’s clear commitment to the future of automation in blasthole drilling.
So what’s really different on the PV-275 CA compared to the PV-275? The most notable feature is the missing cab on the drill but in place of the cab is a terminal with an RCS display, controls, a stool, and a table. At some point during the drill’s life some troubleshooting or maintenance will require some operational control from the deck and this terminal accommodates those rare occasions. The PV-275 CA was designed to have as much commonality as the PV-275 as possible. The location of the terminal wiring makes it simple to select a cab or terminal without sacrificing lead time. This also demonstrates the ease of removing a cab in the field for those who want to transition their own PV-275 to cab-less, fully autonomous operation.
A cabinet within a PV-275 cab houses several RCS components such as the GPS radios, safety system, network hardware, Common Communication Interface data platform (CCI), etc. In the PV-275 CA, these components have all now been moved to a ground level cabinet. The cabinet is lighted and easily accessible.
The drill rig at MINExpo also showed other options that are available for the entire Pit Viper series of drills to enable automation.
- Safe to board system
- High precision GPS system
- Spinning lasers for obstacle detection
- RF personnel detection system
Atlas Copco is committed to improving blasthole drilling by using automation. The vision is that blasthole drilling in the future will be different than it is today with this commitment. Seeing a large cab-less drill helps to imagine the future of mining, and Atlas Copco believes the Future of Mining is Now.