Tag Archives: 789D

WesTrac building Caterpillar autonomous training facility in Western Australia

Caterpillar dealer WesTrac has announced it will build a technology training facility in Collie, Western Australia, focused on providing courses in autonomous operations.

The centre will be the only Caterpillar Autonomous Training Facility in the world apart from Cat’s own testing and training ground in Arizona, USA. The facility will be developed on land owned by Bluewaters Farm Holdings in Collie’s Coolangatta Industrial Estate.

The project is supported by a grant through the Collie Futures Fund, awarded to WesTrac by the State Government’s Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

The announcement was made at a ground-turning event in Collie attended by Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan; Minister for Regional Development, Alannah MacTiernan; Collie-Preston MLA, Mick Murray; and WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome.

Croome said the investment includes a new fully autonomous Cat 789D off-highway truck, construction of an autonomous operations zone and training room facilities. The construction is scheduled to commence this month at the greenfield site near Collie’s Bluewaters Power Station.

Local contractor Piacentini & Son will carry out the earthworks and installation of key infrastructure, with training scheduled to commence in May.

“The initial focus will be to provide training in fit-out and maintenance requirements for the conversion and operation of existing Caterpillar haulage vehicles,” Croome said.

“Over time, we anticipate expanding the range of courses on offer to ensure the facility caters for the recognised skills of the future that will be in demand as the resource sector evolves.

“It’s an opportunity to position Collie and Western Australia as a world leader in advanced technology and skills development in automation and autonomous operations.”

McGowan said: “People will come from all over the world to utilise this facility – the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere and the second worldwide for Caterpillar.”

While WesTrac had evaluated several potential locations, Collie was the ideal centre for the training facility, according to Croome.

“The town has a long mining history and an experienced workforce with the potential to help run and develop the training facility over time,” he said.

“There’s also a vibrant community and plenty of supporting business infrastructure, plus a unique range of natural attractions and easy access to the wider South West region, which adds appeal for Australian and international training participants.”

Croome said WesTrac and Caterpillar clients across the Asia Pacific region had shown significant interest in having access to such training and strong demand was expected when the facility commenced operations.

Fortescue autonomy firsts continue with start-up of AHS-equipped Cat 789Ds

Fortescue Metals Group has completed another significant step to becoming the first iron ore operation in the world to have a fully autonomous haulage fleet with the first Cat 789D model trucks fitted with Autonomous Haulage Technology (AHS) now in operation at its Cloudbreak operation in Western Australia.

Building on Fortescue’s autonomy capability, which began in 2012 when the company was the first in the world to deploy Cat autonomous haulage on a commercial scale, the planned roll out of 38 autonomous trucks at Cloudbreak has commenced. The conversion of Fortescue’s fleet to autonomy across all its mine sites in the Pilbara will see 175 trucks fitted with AHS by mid-2020.

Fortescue’s fleet of autonomous trucks has safely travelled over 28 million kilometres and has moved over 860 Mt of material, delivering a 30% improvement in productivity, according to the company.

In a global first, Fortescue retrofitted Cat Command for Hauling, part of Caterpillar’s MineStar technology, on Komatsu 930E haul trucks at Christmas Creek. The 930Es have been operating alongside the Cat 789Ds since November, “demonstrating the company’s capability to manage and operate the first multi-class truck size autonomous haulage site in the industry”, the company said.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Currently, Fortescue’s pioneering AHS deployment is the largest mining technology program in the industry.

“Our approach to autonomy is to be open and transparent with our plans and to work closely with our team members to offer opportunities for re-training and re-deployment. Around 3,000 Fortescue team members have been trained to work with autonomous haulage, including over 200 people trained as Mine Controllers and AHS system professionals. This ensures Fortescue remains transformational and leads to higher skilled workers and jobs.”

The rollout of AHS at Cloudbreak also required the transfer of 160 pieces of machinery to the Cat MineStar Command remote operations server. Cloudbreak is now the first remote mining operation in the world to use the Cat MineStar Command system in production mode, FMG said.

“Our remote operations centre located in Perth is a critical part of our integrated supply chain and key to increasing productivity and efficiency across our operations,” Gaines said.

Denise Johnson, Group President for Caterpillar’s Resource Industries, said: “Caterpillar and Fortescue have a history of industry-leading collaboration in the area of autonomy and automation. Cloudbreak takes this relationship to the next level and demonstrates another great example of Fortescue’s commitment to safety, site productivity and sustainable mining.”

Fortescue’s Cloudbreak mine site is also home to the 5-km relocatable conveyor, previously supplied by RCR Tomlinson, which includes two semi-mobile primary crushing stations and feeds directly into the Cloudbreak ore processing facility (OPF). “Another example of Fortescue’s innovative operations, the infrastructure can be positioned approximate to pits and relocated, extended or shortened once an area is mined,” the company said.

Within two weeks of operation, the conveyor was at full capacity, carrying 5,000 t/h of ore at approximately 25 km/h. The conveyor has replaced the equivalent of 12 manned trucks, FMG said.

“Together with the 11 autonomous drills currently operating across sites and the relocatable conveyor at Cloudbreak, our autonomous operations continue to deliver significant benefits to the business,” Gaines said.