Arch Coal Uses Cat® Semi-Autonomous Dozers to Optimize Their Fleet

Arch Coal’s Thunder Basin Coal Company - Black Thunder mine began using Cat® MineStar™ Command for dozing at the site near Wright, Wyoming in 2011. Since then, the Command system has logged more than 25,000 hours of tele-remote and autonomous operation time and moved more than 23 million loose cubic yards of material.

Command for dozing includes a semi-autonomous solution that enables one operator to operate multiple dozers from an office environment. Black Thunder is currently running four Cat D11T dozers enabled with the system. The mine first used Command for dozing in reclamation and now utilizes the system in production overburden removal in advance of dragline operations.

Wyoming Machinery Co., the regional Cat dealer, has been integral to the project by providing local technical resources for system installation and ongoing support.

A key benefit for Black Thunder’s dozer operators is enhanced safety. The operator is located in an office remote from the machine, reducing the risk of injury from mounting and dismounting equipment and from ergonomic challenges presented during ripping applications.

Application of advanced technologies requires not only innovative systems, but integration with people and process. To take advantage of the automation benefits, the mine altered a portion of their production sequence so dozers could continue working in the cast overburden, taking advantage of the consistent and optimized operation. These benefits are magnified by dozers operating 24 / 7 at the mine.

Black Thunder is also using Command for dozing to reduce unit costs through increasing dozer utilization, increased process consistency (consistent process management), and increased execution of best practices.

Command for dozing is part of Caterpillar’s vision for a fully autonomous mine. Today, Caterpillar offers Command for hauling, which enables autonomous operation of large mining trucks, and Command for underground, which enables semi-autonomous operation of LHDs.

These automation technologies are working at multiple mines around the world. When fully commercialized, the automated dozer solution will join these leading mining machine automation systems.

Command for dozing includes a semi-autonomous solution that enables one operator to operate multiple dozers from an office environment.

Remote Dozing: Protecting Workers While Maintaining Productivity

In an effort to protect dozer operators, governments and companies are looking to reduce the amount of time workers are exposed to these dangerous conditions. One way companies are maintaining productivity while meeting regulations and their own safety targets is through the use of remote control technologies.

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Cat® MineStar™ Command for Dozing

Working with other Cat® MineStar™ capability sets, Command brings together the technologies needed for fully integrated operation of autonomous, semi-autonomous and remotely controlled mining systems.

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