Autonomous solutions provider RCT and underground mining specialist GBF have marked 10 years of working together to implement autonomous technology into underground mining operations.
Since 2009, when GBF and RCT conducted underground trials of the ControlMaster Guidance Automation system at Gold Fields Caves Rock mining operations, RCT has delivered 19 autonomous systems including Sandvik LH203s, CAT 2900Gs, R1700s, R1700Gs and R1300Gs at multiple GBF-run mine sites throughout Western Australia’s Goldfields.
The work collectively amounts to roughly 15,000 hours of machines operating on Guidance Automation within GBF-run operations.
ControlMaster Guidance Automation has seen numerous software iterations over its product life starting with dynamic operator engagement, surface control to Independent autonomous tramming and more recently multi machine control via RCT’s latest automation offering.
GBF Maintenance Superintendent Alan Moyle, who played a key role in the initial trials and has seen the Guidance Automation system evolve over the last 10 years said RCT’s technology has significantly improved safe machine operations by removing personnel from the mine face as well as better operator fatigue control.
“Greater control features have reduced the amount of machine damage due to operator errors with consistent machine cycles enabling us to improve productivity and it provides us data when tendering for new contracts,” he says. “RCT have also provided multiple opportunities for GBF apprentices to gain experience with their latest modern technology which they have subsequently applied to their work.”
RCT Product Manager Automation & Control Brendon Cullen says GBF’s early adoption of RCT’s technology meant its operations have benefitted consistently as the product has evolved.
“GBF has been influential in driving features and improvements to the system over time and develop new features such as G-Dash which empower operator’s decision making by presenting a dashboard of the machinery in relation to its surrounding in real time,” he says. “GBF’s operators have also consistently provided feedback over time, resulting in improvements such as faster tramming times, better cornering speeds, more efficient braking and the evolution of the fully automated tramming cycle.
“As the mines are becoming deeper the drive to operate the machinery from the surface is becoming a key requirement to maximise production times. RCT continues to work in partnership with GBF to allow them to reach their goals as cost efficiently as possible using the technology available onsite at the time.”