A remote control milestone

MINING bedfellows Remote Control Technology and GBF have notched up 10 years of working together to bring autonomous technology underground.
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RCT has installed ControlMaster Guidance Automation systems on roughly 19 machines at GBF-run mine sites over the last 10 years.

Autonomous product provider RCT and underground mining contractor GBF have been working together since 2009 when they first trialed RCT's Controlmaster guidance automation system at Gold Fields' Caves Rock operations on the St Ives gold mine.

Since that time RCT has provided 19 autonomous systems including for Sandvik LH203s, Caterpillar 2900Gs, R1700s, R1700Gs and R1300 to GBF sites across Western Australia's Goldfields.

This equates to about 15,000 hours of machines operating on guidance automation.

GBF maintenance superintendent Alan Moyle said the guidance automation system had evolved over the past 10 years and RCT's technology had significantly improved safe machine operations by removing personnel from the mine face and providing 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," Moyle said.

"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 and control Brendon Cullen said GBF had been influential in driving features and improvements to the system over time.

He said GBF helped develop features such as G-Dash, which showed a dashboard of the machinery in relation to its surroundings in real time.

"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," he said.

"As the mines are becoming deeper the drive to operate the machinery from the surface is becoming a key requirement to maximise production times."