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Among the biggest drivers for the use of autonomous mining technology is operator safety and comfort because it helps keep operators away from hazardous areas. Mine sites that put autonomous mining technologies to work have also experienced a number of other valuable benefits, including increased productivity, higher equipment utilization and less machine damage.
In fact, some sites have witnessed speed and efficiency increases that shorten cycle times and increase production by up to 25 percent.
On surface mine sites, autonomous trucks help make cycle times more consistent while ensuring that equipment operates within prescribed parameters. Underground, operators based in remotely-located control stations load and dump material under tele-remote control. Then, their load-haul-dump machines steer autonomously during hauling, preventing accidental contact with mine walls. In some cases, sidewall collisions that would normally result in machine damage have been reduced to zero.
Productivity is also improved through improved equipment utilization... uninterrupted by shift changes or, in underground operations, the need to evacuate areas for ventilation after blasting.
Operators are also often shown to be more productive when working with autonomous mining equipment. Ergonomic controls use familiar components, so training time is reduced. In some cases, operators can control one or more machines at once, which optimizes production between multiple machines. And underground sites achieve significant time savings because the operator does not have to travel from the surface to the machine.
Enhanced safety, improved productivity and extra working time are just a few of the reasons why autonomous mining is the future of mining, above ground and below.
Investing in Cat® MineStar™ products is just the first step in building business value at your site. Utilizing Cat MineStar to its full potential can help enhance safety, reduce costs, improve productivity and boost efficiency. That’s why the MineStar team provides a comprehensive suite of training opportunities that allows users to build skills from foundational to expert through web-based, instructor-led and on-the-job courses.
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