Tag Archives: Immersive Technologies

Immersive Technologies continues to support Liebherr fleet owners with simulator solutions

Immersive Technologies says it is celebrating 15 years of providing “workforce optimisation solutions” to Liebherr fleet owners.

The company has a strong history of supporting mining customers in the development of safe and productive equipment operators, and, over the past 15 years, Immersive says it has brought the most effective and efficient Liebherr simulator training solutions to mines across the world.

In 2006, Immersive Technologies developed the first Liebherr T282 haul truck simulator for a large mine in the US. Rapidly thereafter the product range expanded to support a large range of hydraulic shovels, backhoes and additional haul trucks.

The largest end user of the Liebherr simulator range have been the Tier 1 Western Australia iron ore mines, while the Liebherr equipment simulators have also produced significant benefit to mines in 14 other countries, including multiple Global Business Improvement Award winners.

Some recent examples of customer value realised by training operators with the Immersive Technologies solution include an 11% spot time reduction, a 36% reduction in machine abuse events and an 8% instantaneous dig rate improvement.

David Anderson, CEO Immersive Technologies, said: “It is our continual focus on customer outcomes which has produced quantifiable return on investment for many Liebherr fleet owners across the mining industry. We are proud to support these mines, many of whom operate mixed fleets and benefit from our all makes all models approach.”

Komatsu to display power-agnostic dump truck, autonomous haulage retrofit vision at MINExpo

To help support its customers’ sustainability targets while prioritising safety and productivity, Komatsu is to focus on “creating value together” in its 48,000-sq.ft (4,459 sq.m) booth at MINExpo 2021, in Las Vegas, USA, where the company plans to unveil its latest solutions for surface and underground mining operations.

Jeff Dawes, President and CEO of Komatsu Mining Corp and chairperson of MINExpo 2021, said: “MINExpo provides the perfect opportunity for industry leaders to collaborate on new ways to extract essential minerals at this critical time for our society. Supporting our customers’ path forward with new solutions that leverage digitalisation, electrification and automation is crucial to our role as an essential provider to the industry, and we look forward to sharing these innovations developed in partnership with today’s mines.”

The company’s latest haulage concepts, designed to prioritise customers’ desire to reduce emissions and for autonomous haulage solutions, will be on display; revealing Komatsu’s future vision for power-agnostic dump trucks and autonomous haulage retrofits for existing equipment. Komatsu will also preview future capabilities for remote operation of equipment featuring hydraulic excavators and autonomous haulage.

Other new Komatsu solutions designed to advance more sustainable mining methods that will be on display during the event – from September 13-15 – include:

  • The WE1850 Gen 3 surface wheel loader (pictured) with proven SR (Switched Reluctance) hybrid drive technology;
  • ZR122 surface blasthole drill with automated features;
  • Battery hauler for underground mining powered by lithium-ion battery technology;
  • Battery-tram powered ZJ32Bi jumbo drill for underground hard-rock mining; and
  • Underground hard-rock drilling and bolting retrofits compatible with all major and most other OEMs.

Created with input from customers around the world, the company’s latest equipment, service and technology solutions are designed to simplify tasks, streamline processes and – ultimately – help optimise customers’ entire enterprise, Komatsu said.

“Recognising that the path forward will not look the same for every operation, Komatsu is here to support customers at each stage of their journey toward a more sustainable future,” it added. “Company representatives will be available in the booth to consult with attendees and collaborate on new solutions.”

The Komatsu booth will debut the company’s unified and expanded mining offerings, with additional solutions highlighted at neighbouring booths for Modular Mining, a Komatsu technology brand, and Immersive Technologies and Hensley Industries, Komatsu subsidiaries.

Immersive to supply simulators, solutions for Rio’s Gudai-Darri automation

Rio Tinto has enlisted the help of Immersive Technologies and its equipment simulators to further its autonomous haulage footprint at the new Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia.

The mine, which will operate Caterpillar autonomous trucks equipped with Cat MineStar™ Command for Hauling system, will use simulation-based training solutions from Immersive Technologies to address the workforce development challenges within autonomous haulage operations with a focus on improving the safety and efficiency of their operator workforce, Immersive said.

Rio has used such systems from Immersive for over 17 years, understanding the value of investing in simulators for operator capability development, including equipment productivity and reliability initiatives, Immersive said.

Rio Tinto Vice President, Human Resources, Scott Browne, said: “This is an important component of our comprehensive training program for AHS, which includes supporting new team members as well as upskilling existing employees. Gudai-Darri will be one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines. Preparations are well under way to ensure its workforce is ready to take on the high-tech jobs on offer.”

Focused on capability development in the usage of the autonomous system, Rio Tinto partnered with Immersive Technologies to provide a solution to support the mine-readiness schedule and objectives, Immersive said. Specific training products include a platform which simulates a Cat 6060 excavator, Cat D10T dozer and Cat 18M grader. All simulator modules are equipped with an autonomous system panel and provide a safe and effective environment for training by allowing learners to operate their equipment while interacting with the autonomous trucks and managing their work areas as required, the company added.

The simulator solution is complimented by machine pre-start inspection software, which provides a detailed visualisation of equipment components, including autonomous components fitted to machines. Additionally, a ‘Virtual Classroom’ product hosts complex autonomous procedures that immerses learners in a safe and repeatable virtual environment which enables the development of deep knowledge and muscle memory of operational procedures, Immersive said.

Greg Karadjian, Regional Vice President Australia of Immersive, said: “Immersive Technologies is at the forefront of workforce development for autonomous haulage mining operations with deployments of simulation-based training solutions in more than 17 autonomous sites globally, by utilising blended learning systems, simulation and human performance analytics our solutions are preparing the workforces of the future.”

Back in 2019, Rio, Caterpillar and WesTrac signed an agreement to supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems at Gudai-Darri, with Rio confirming the supply of a fleet of 20 autonomous 793F trucks as well as four autonomous blast drills.

Gudai-Darri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in the Pilbara. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio’s flagship iron ore product.

Immersive to deliver training simulator to Newmont Ahafo gold mine

Immersive Technologies is to deliver its 100th Conversion Kit® for Caterpillar® equipment owners within the continent of Africa, with the milestone high-fidelity operator training simulator set for the Newmont-majority owned Ahafo gold mine, in Ghana.

The order includes simulation for training operators of the 777G and 785C haul trucks, D11T dozers, and 6030 shovels and excavators. These units mark the 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st conversion kits that Immersive Technologies has delivered to further workforce development initiatives in the Africa region for mines who require high-fidelity simulation solutions for their Caterpillar equipment, it said.

Johan Stemmet, Regional Vice President Africa, said: “We are excited to provide a high level of value and service to Newmont for this important mining project by supporting community skills development and increasing operator safety and productivity levels. We continue to put the customer first and deliver industry-endorsed solutions for all OEM makes as evidenced by our leading market share across the largest global miners.”

Zeppelin and Immersive Technologies partner on Navoi Cat truck training program

Zeppelin International, one of the largest Caterpillar dealers in Europe and the CIS region, has partnered with Immersive Technologies to provide comprehensive training for both “green” and experienced personnel operating a range of Caterpillar truck models within Navoi Mining & Metallurgical Combine’s (NMMC) gold mining sites in Uzbekistan.

This marks the 45th country globally to use Immersive Technologies’ workforce optimisation training solutions, the Komatsu-owned company said.

“Simulator-based training establishes a safe environment for experienced operators to expand their expertise, and a risk-free arena for entry level operators to start developing their skills,” Immersive Technology said.

Zeppelin International has also acquired Immersive Technologies Custom Mine Site (CMS) technology to further train those unacquainted with the new machinery in a familiar training environment. The program will aid in increasing workforce optimisation in the areas of production efficiency and operational safety, while ensuring operators are confident and highly productive when they enter actual site operations, Immersive said.

“CMS allows detailed focus to be placed on training requirements specific to each site such as landmarks, specific mine site road rules and environmental conditions,” the company said. “Curriculum tailoring to target specific learning outcomes is managed effortlessly with the support of Immersive Technologies Professional Services, delivered on site via specialist training experts.”

Stanislav Kondratenko, Technical Director of Zeppelin Central Asia Machinery LLC, said: “At Zeppelin, we have high expectations from Immersive Technologies based on previous results and experiences. They have successfully completed the installation development and will be providing professional services to increase production efficiency and overall safety for the mine site. Utilising this technology and targeted curriculum will aid in increasing output from Navoi’s current headcount.”

Oleg Lyutyy, Business Development Advisor at Immersive Technologies, said: “Immersive has been developing and delivering training solutions for Caterpillar equipment for over 27 years. Our IM360 Simulator and Conversion Kits® for CAT® truck models, will provide the ultimate simulation for Zeppelin and the Navoi mine site to optimise production output and safety. This is yet another example of the successful collaboration between Immersive Technologies and OEM dealers around the world.”

Zeppelin has also acquired the TrainerAdvantage™ certification program that includes classroom and hands-on sessions working with the simulator under the instruction of an Immersive Technologies Certified Instructor.

Immersive’s Regional Vice President of EMEA & CIS, Johan Stemmet, said: “Innovation is the future. Production optimisation is unthinkable without innovative technologies. I look forward to seeing how the introduction of this level of training increases productivity and safety for Zeppelin International and Navoi NMMC.”

Komatsu creates group focused on automation interoperability

To maximise the opportunities and potential that exists with furthering automation in mining, Modular Mining’s parent company, Komatsu, recently created the Komatsu Technology Interoperability Center of Excellence.

This group, based in Tucson, Arizona, focuses entirely on driving product strategy and developing roadmaps for technology and automation. Some of its recent work is geared towards an interoperability-focused ISO standard that, it says, will help make interoperability of automated equipment a reality.

Komatsu explained: “These in-development strategies and roadmaps aim to include the full range of mining equipment across all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) within the Komatsu family, including both surface and underground equipment, and leverage the original technology manufacturers including Modular Mining, MineWare, and Immersive Technologies.”

The new Technology Interoperability group is focused on providing customers with a high-quality portfolio of state-of-the-art, integration-ready technologies and automated systems for all types of mining, according to Komatsu.

“The group’s vision centres on delivering innovative mine automation solutions that exceed customer expectations and provide a step change in safety and productivity,” it said. “Recognising that each mine has its own unique requirements and that customer operations span the various levels of being autonomous-ready, Komatsu is committed to developing solutions across the automation spectrum, including offerings specific to: truck spotting, assisted operation (including active blade control), autonomous drilling, and more.”

The pace of the technological evolution in the consumer world is driving mining’s evolution, Komatsu says.

“We’re seeing faster adoption of automation technologies and enablers at mining operations worldwide. Automation capabilities in the consumer automotive industry, including the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that provide lane assistance and adaptive cruise control, are becoming standard systems on new cars. The underlying technologies of these automation capabilities, including controllers, sensors, algorithms, and artificial intelligence (AI), among others, are becoming more mature, thus opening opportunities for adoption into the mining industry.”

Effective mining automation solutions require interoperability, as most mines have a mixed fleet of equipment. To support that customer need, Komatsu says it is leading the development of an ISO standard that will help make interoperability of automated equipment a reality.

“Together with Modular Mining’s OEM agnosticism and a focus on both safety and sustainability, we are confident these standards will support the delivery of improved solutions to meet customer and societal needs,” the company said.

Many miners have started to digitalise their processes, but the greatest optimisation occurs when silos are collectively broken down, data is shared and solutions are integrated, the company says.

“To further this effort, Modular Mining is working towards integration with third-party technology partners, which will allow the company’s IntelliMine solutions and third-party systems (such as mine planning and payload monitoring systems, among others) to seamlessly share data with one another.

“Access to this previously unavailable third-party data will enable Modular Mining to streamline overall operational efficiency by enhancing the existing decision-making algorithms within a site’s IntelliMine technologies.”

The advances in industrial computing and algorithm developments also allow AI and machine learning to be pushed to the ‘edge’ of onboard equipment, enabling automatic identification and corrective action for previously unsolvable production, maintenance, and safety related problems, according to Komatsu.

“As the role of automation in the mining industry continues to increase, so too does the excitement from Komatsu’s Technology Interoperability group,” the company said. “In the past year, our teams have had the privilege of working with many customers and internal groups to develop a new strategy and roadmap that will help drive future offerings for our customers. We are excited to continue applying advanced technology, equipment, and services to help support the mining industry’s exciting and necessary evolution to meet the demands of society for the long haul.”

OK Tedi boosts operator safety with new Immersive Technologies collaboration

Immersive Technologies and OK Tedi have established the first fully-integrated Operator Performance Analytics (OPA) system as part of the Papua New Guinea miner’s focus on operator safety, Immersive says.

Following the successful delivery of continuous improvement projects and managed services by Immersive, OK Tedi opted to establish an OPA installation on-site with the dual goals of improving safety and machine care among their operators, Immersive, which is now part of Komatsu Ltd, said.

Using the OPA electronic operator scorecard, OK Tedi was able to drill down to individual operator performance indicators. These indicators can be used to see how an operator compares with their peers or are trending over time. “Ranking of all operators additionally provides a unique opportunity to motivate personal ownership of safety statistics and performance, while providing management an effective tool to identify training needs to improve overall mine site productivity,” Immersive said.

OPA data can also be filtered specific to machine errors, performance on different machines, performance over time and training history to locate the root cause of a performance trend. An initial dataset was analysed using six months of machine operational data from the field and simulator data, with this data used to identify outlier operators in terms of risk rating or performance against key metrics (such as spot time, average speed loaded and average tonnes per km/h).

Masket Siune, Superintendent Mine Business Improvement & Training OK Tedi, said: “OPA has enabled quicker analysis of mine operator performance to identify trends or patterns to mitigate risk relating to equipment reliability and operator productivity metrics.

“We now have a reliable operator data platform that gives real comprehensive data view to approach our operators and discuss training development needs or for reward and recognition for the outstanding performance based on both risk and productivity criteria.”

With multiple operational data sources integrated within OPA, OK Tedi easily identified a high incidence of high peak frame bias events, therefore prioritising simulator training for those operators contributing the highest error counts, Immersive said. Once underperforming operator groups or individuals are identified, these can be selected and assigned to a training needs analysis report.

Simulator training can then be conducted and training data automatically sent back to OPA —without manual intervention. Typical training scenarios for errors could require operators to navigate loaded trucks over rough road conditions or load and dump using the correct procedure. In turn, this can be used for assessment of training retention and impact.

Alex Da Silva, Global Professional Services Manager at Immersive Technologies, said: “At OK Tedi, analysis that previously took days or weeks, now takes minutes, integrating disparate data systems with simulator generated data provides a single, powerful platform for workforce development planning.”

OK Tedi, which mines copper, gold and silver in the Western province of PNG, plans to extend the use of OPA to additional machines types to further support its operations, according to Immersive.

Byrnecut makes training gains with the help of Immersive

Byrnecut has partnered with Immersive Technologies to develop a “world-class” technical training centre in Perth, Western Australia.

The mining contractor is set to achieve measurable in-field cost reductions, productivity gains and safety improvements via changes in equipment operator behaviour due to 350 staff coming through the centre in the past nine months of operation, Immersive said.

Equipment Simulators, a tailored suite of learning systems and curricula have been deployed to align with Byrnecut’s “people first” approach to recruitment, skills development and performance improvement, the company added. As part of this, Immersive has delivered two IM360-B simulators and machine modules for a CAT truck and LHD, Sandvik truck and LHD and Atlas Copco (Epiroc) truck.

Pat Boniwell, Byrnecut Australia Managing Director, said the establishment of the centre fits with the Byrnecut philosophy of investing in industry-leading training systems, processes and infrastructure to assist in the personal and professional development of its employees.

Boniwell added: “This, in turn, ensures that we are providing the safest and most productive work places for employees and our clients.”

Supporting the technology integration is a best practice training process which blends eLearning, classroom and simulator training to optimise the learning process for both new hire and experienced equipment operators, Immersive said. This process is managed through the collaboration of Byrnecut and Immersive Technologies on-site training experts.

Dave Kilkenny, Byrnecut Project Manager, said: “Our world-class Training and Induction Center provides the opportunity for experienced and new hire operators to develop best mining practices in a safe, realistic and tech driven environment. Together with Immersive Technologies’ equipment simulators and specialist personnel, our approach is carefully considered to provide valuable feedback and targeted training to address the impacts of performance variability on our business.”

In June, Immersive announced that Komatsu’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia had agreed to acquire the company.

Demand for OEM simulators, conversion kits high, Immersive Tech says

Immersive Technologies says it has engaged in an “unprecedented level” of mining machine simulator development for a diverse range of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) over the past year.

This trend is set to continue with projects underway for new and existing customers to build simulators for heavy machinery manufactured by BELAZ, Caterpillar, Epiroc, Hitachi, Iveco, Komatsu, Liebherr, MACK and Volvo, the company said.

In the last 12 months, Immersive Technologies has released new simulator modules (Conversion Kits®), for Cat Line of Sight Remote Control, Cat 777E Truck, Komatsu 930E-5 Truck, Liebherr R9200 Excavator, Sandvik DD311-40C Jumbo, Volvo FH16 Light Truck and many more, it said.

Investment in Conversion Kits for multiple OEM machines is continuing unabated with projects in development within the next months for: BELAZ 75131 Truck, Cat 994K Wheel Loader, Hitachi EX5600-7 Shovel, Komatsu 730E-8 Truck, Letourneau L-2350 Gen 2 Wheel Loader, Liebherr R9800 Excavator, Mack GU813E Light Truck and others.

Projects are underway to produce simulators for machines manufactured by BELAZ, Caterpillar, Epiroc (formerly Atlas Copco), Hitachi, Iveco, Komatsu, Liebherr, MACK and Volvo.

Wayde Salfinger, Executive Director – Marketing at Immersive Technologies, said: “Our investment in simulators for a diverse range of OEM’s machines is increasing, driven by demand from our customers. Immersive has always and will continue to be focused foremost on the needs of our customers, most of whom operate mixed OEM fleets.”

Salfinger added: “Immersive Technologies’ acquisition by Komatsu will not change our strategy, we will continue to support machines from all OEMs; that’s what our customers expect.” Komatsu announced, just last month, that it would acquire the mining simulation and training specialist.

Immersive Technologies credits its ongoing growth in demand on its proven and verifiable success in increasing mine profitability by optimising the safety and productivity of equipment operators. “These results are driven by a clear focus on integrating people, process, and technology to reduce risk, quantify training impact and effectively managing the training process,” the company said.

Russia equipment simulator training demand on the rise, Immersive says

Immersive Technologies says it has seen strong demand from mining companies in Russia for its tailored workforce development solutions as equipment sales have risen in the past six years.

The proportion of global mining equipment being deployed in Russia was 22% in 2018, compared with 9% in 2012, with regional growth of 13% over the past six years, according to Immersive.

“As a result, the industry is demanding more skilled personnel,” Immersive said.

In line with this industry growth, Immersive is experiencing a surge in simulator and service sales, which have been proven to achieve safety and productivity improvements throughout all stages of the mining cycle, according to Immersive.

David Anderson, Executive Vice President – Sales and Support at Immersive Technologies, said: “It is an exciting time for mining in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). We are proud to support this region in delivering the safest and most profitable operators.

Immersive highlighted some results from this growth, with the following four customer case studies:

First, Vostochnaya Technica, a long-time customer, is implementing an Immersive simulator as a key part of delivering “mine assessments” to their customers, Immersive said. It is using a PRO4 Surface Mining simulator at one of the SUEK mine sites to improve truck and excavator operator behaviours. “The simulator will then move to a new mine site to assess truck operators and to make clear recommendations on equipment usage with the expected result of quantified productivity improvements,” Immersive said.

Second, a continuous improvement project aimed at enhancing operator skills is underway at Norilsk Nickel. Upon conclusion, the goal is to increase productivity, decrease cycle times, and reduce operator variability. The initial project focuses on underground LHDs but will likely expand to other equipment including bolters, according to Immersive.

Third, Komatsu CIS, in the Kuzbass region, will be using simulation to train new operators, along with assessing experienced operators to improve their skills. “Immersive Technologies will be providing support via our Training Advisor Team to meet their requirements and tailor curricula to their specific needs,” the company said.

And, finally, KAZ Minerals has engaged Immersive Technologies to deliver a training solution which includes multiple IM360-B transportable simulators, interchangeable modules and supporting products and services like Pre-Start Inspection, Instructor Led Training and Training Systems Integration. “As part of this technology and services solution, the Immersive Technologies’ Training Advisor Team is providing support to facilitate the simulation training process to ensure training objectives are achieved,” Immersive said.

Anderson concluded: “Russia and the CIS will continue to be a key market attracting increased investment from Immersive Technologies, over the coming years. We will be there to support the industry growth and needs of our customers.”