Tag Archives: Modular Mining

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.

Modular Mining strengthens Glencore ties with new UWJV coal project contract win

Modular Mining says Glencore has selected its DISPATCH® Fleet Management and ProVision® Machine Guidance systems to support the United Wambo Joint Venture (UWJV) project in New South Wales, Australia.

The DISPATCH Fleet Management System (FMS) manages the haulage cycles of the 39 trucks and six loading units that comprise the mixed-manufacturer fleet at the Wambo open-pit coal operation in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

“UWJV wanted a system that could provide real-time optimisation of load and haul operations, as well as truck assignments to the run of mine (ROM) and stockpiles for coal feed,” Rob Lloyd, Systems Coordinator, UWJV, Glencore, said.

The mine also purchased the Crusher API, a component of the FMS’ Crusher Suite and the recently-released Modular Mining Public API. The Crusher Suite’s Truck Diversion utility and the FMS’ DISPATCH Actions module work in tandem to increase the mine’s ability to manage their ROM and stockpile-related challenges, according to Modular, a company owned by Komatsu.

“The ProVision System delivers high-precision guidance to the mine’s excavator, dozer, and drill fleet,” the company said. “By increasing positional accuracy, the ProVision System will help ensure that the loading and dumping locations, roads, and drill patterns, are completed to design, thus eliminating rework, and reducing costs.”

Greg Sweeney, General Manager, Modular Mining Australia, said Glencore is a key strategic partner for Modular Mining.

“At UWJV, they have aligned with us to supply solutions via technology and expertise to assist them in optimising their production,” he said. “United Wambo is another opportunity for Glencore and Modular Mining to collaborate to extract maximum value from their operation.”

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.”

Modular Mining continues to invest and expand in Tucson

Modular Mining has unveiled its new Customer Experience Center (CEC) during a ribbon cutting ceremony this week.

Located in the company’s corporate headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, USA, the CEC’s opening coincides with Modular Mining’s 40th anniversary and celebrates the company’s continued growth and positive trajectory in both Tucson and the mining sector, Modular said.

Jorge Mascena, President & CEO, Modular Mining, said: “Our new Customer Experience Center is designed to showcase how mine management solutions can improve the safety, efficiency, and productivity of mining operations, and help our customers do so sustainably.

“Today’s announcement marks our third major renovation project in six years at this facility. Tucson is evolving into a key mining technology hub, and this expansion demonstrates our commitment to leading this transformation as a long-term member of this community.”

Established in Tucson in 1979, Modular developed the DISPATCH® Fleet Management System for the mining sector. This technology was the first of its kind in the industry and continues to help improve productivity and efficiency for open-pit mines today, the company says.

The DISPATCH system’s global success served as the springboard for further innovation, including the ProVision® High-Precision Machine Guidance system, the MineCare® Maintenance Management system, and others. The company employs more than 800 people globally, with nearly 350 located in Tucson.

The company was purchased by heavy-equipment leader, Komatsu Ltd, in 1996, enabling Modular Mining’s technology to support the world’s first autonomous mining trucks.

The expansion of the CEC comes on the successes of other recent company expansions in Tucson. Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage Systems Center of Excellence opened in June 2019, where a cross-functional team of personnel from both Komatsu and Modular Mining work together under the Komatsu umbrella to develop, sell, and support the industry-leading AHS. In 2014, Modular Mining expanded their corporate campus to include a building dedicated to the company’s research and development. That same year, Komatsu opened their new Arizona Proving Grounds in Sahuarita, Arizona; a facility largely used for research and development of Komatsu mining equipment and testing Modular Mining’s technologies.

Boliden Kevitsa takes delivery of first EU-Stage-V-compliant Komatsu haul truck

Boliden has received the first haul trucks from Komatsu as part of its investment in a new truck fleet at its Kevitsa (Finland) and Aitik (Sweden) open-pit base metal operations.

The delivery marks the entry of Komatsu electric dump trucks into the European market, according to the miner.

For Kevitsa, 17 Komatsu 830E-5 haul trucks will be delivered until January of 2020, with nine Komatsu 930E-5 haul trucks being delivered to Aitik until April 2020.

The new trucks are the first EU Stage-V haul trucks within Boliden’s fleet, significantly reducing diesel exhaust emissions, the company said. They will also provide improvements in operator environment and safety, Boliden added.

The Komatsu 830E-5 haul trucks have a 220 t payload and will replace the current truck fleet at Kevitsa, reducing the mine’s production cost, Boliden said. To further increase efficiency and productivity, the trucks will be equipped with dispatch and maintenance systems from Modular Mining to enable optimised production and tracking as well as fleet maintenance support, the company said.

Boliden mentioned the purchase of trucks back in October during its September quarter results, saying it had reached agreement with Komatsu regarding an investment totalling some SEK 900 million ($96 million). At the time, the company said all of the trucks were equipped for future electrification; an important point considering the trolley assist trial ongoing at Aitik.

To mark the delivery milestone of the first truck, a handover ceremony was arranged in Kevitsa on July 10.

During the event, strategies and technical solutions were presented by executives such as Boliden President and CEO, Mikael Staffas, and Managing Director and CEO of Komatsu Europe, Masatoshi Morishita.

Mikael Staffas said: “This is an important step in the development of our open-pit mines while improving our environmental performance from an already strong position. This [is], not least, because we now create opportunities for increased electrification and related productivity development.”

Masatoshi Morishita says: “Today is a milestone for Komatsu Europe. With the delivery of first CE-certified Electric Dump Trucks to Boliden, Komatsu can offer a full line-up of mining products and solutions in Europe as well. We aim this will only be the start.”

Modular Mining wins DISPATCH and ProVision order from Anglo American at Barro Alto

Modular Mining says it will implement its DISPATCH® Fleet Management and ProVision® Machine Guidance systems at Anglo American’s Barro Alto open-pit nickel mine, in Goiás, Brazil.

Anglo selected the DISPATCH and ProVision solutions to improve material blending, ore management and crusher throughput, the company said, adding that the solutions will reduce the ore dilution, boost blending of the ore directly from the pit into the crusher and optimise the fleet performance.

The DISPATCH Fleet Management System (FMS), chosen to replace the mine’s current competitive FMS at Barro Alto, will optimise the haulage fleet to increase productivity, Modular said. “The ProVision system will deliver high-precision navigation and machine guidance capabilities to the mine’s shovels; automating the management of material types, reducing the need for manual staking, and reducing the number of stockpiles. In addition, the ProVision system will provide real-time tonnage, volume, and grade metrics for any ore-bearing stockpile. Modular Mining’s Material Blending, Prestart, and Fuel Management modules, will extend the FMS’ equipment- and material management capabilities,” the company said.

Eduardo Caixeta, Manager, Barro Alto, said: “A number of factors contributed to our decision to partner with Modular Mining. In addition to their solid reputation with their fleet management and high-precision guidance technologies, the success that we have had with their solutions at our sister operation, at Minas Rio, played a key role in our decision. Another factor was Modular’s demonstrated commitment to performance, working with their customers to maximise the value from their solutions based on a mine’s specific goals.”

Airton de Sena, General Manager, Modular Mining, Brazil, said: “Modular has a long-standing relationship with Anglo in Brazil and we are excited to expand this relationship. Barro Alto is a leader in nickel mining, and this investment demonstrates their team’s commitment to maximizing returns through operational excellence and advanced technologies.”

Komatsu Australia launches updated PC4000-6 mining excavator

Komatsu Australia has released the latest version of its 370-t-class mining excavator, the PC4000-6 Series 3, delivering higher productivity, reduced maintenance costs, increased reliability and upgraded safety features, the mining OEM said.

The new excavator is based on the PC4000-11 released at MINExpo in 2016 – but incorporates a Tier 2 emissions standard engine, rather than the Tier 4 Final engine fitted to the PC4000-11.

It achieves its productivity increases through having the highest digging forces – both in backhoe and face shovel configurations – in its class, a large-capacity 23 cu m backhoe bucket (22 cu m in shovel mode) and faster cycle times through variable-speed slew motors, according to the company.

Komatsu-designed-and-manufactured hydraulic pumps contribute to lower maintenance costs through long life and easy-to-maintain design, the company added, while a simplified Komatsu control system ensures a high level of reliability.

Safety standards for both operators and maintenance crews have been improved through several upgrades, including 45° stairway access stairs and factory-fitted exit ladders.

The PC4000-6 Series 3 has an operating weight of 388-405 t (depending on configuration) and is powered by a Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 engine rated at 1,400 kW.

According to Michael Hall, Komatsu Australia’s National Product Manager, Mining, the PC4000-6 Series 3 has been specially developed to suit Australian conditions.

“Apart from the engine, the PC4000-6 Series 3 is the same as the PC4000-11 released in Las Vegas – including all the safety and technological developments it incorporated. Komatsu can now supply the latest design and technology with a Tier 2 option to Australian mines not requiring the Tier 4 PC4000-11 model,” he said.

“For that reason, we are offering this model with the well-known and proven Tier 2 compliant Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 engine for Australia. And it comes direct from the factory aligned with Australian mining requirements, so minimal modifications are required.”

Hall said Komatsu Australia brought the first PC4000-6 Series 3 to the country in the June quarter of 2018 in backhoe configuration.

“This size and configuration of excavator is a flexible loading tool option for many Australian mining operations and, with the local industry showing improved growth and activity, bringing in a stock machine is a sign of our confidence in the industry’s future,” he said.

“We see excellent potential for this model and are keen to see the advantages and improvements it delivers used in mining operations in Australia.”

Upgraded safety features are key improvements on the PC4000-6 Series 3.

The 45° access stairs allow operators and maintenance personnel much easier and safer access to the machine, including easier access to the machinery house level and to the operator’s cabin.

“Another safety advance is a new emergency egress system, incorporating emergency exits on two sides of the machine, ensuring high safety standards for all personnel on the machine,” Hall said.

A flipdown two-piece ladder, with anti-slip surfaces helps ensure quiet and safe exit from the machine in case of emergency, while the front window of the cabin is 19 mm thick impact-resistant glass, giving additional operator protection.

A new lighting system, consisting of 14 high-performance working lights using the latest LED technology, ensures significantly better visibility at night and other times of low visibility.

The excavator’s control system has been simplified and upgraded, using Komatsu controllers to reduce nodes and provide additional redundancy for improved efficiency.

“The PC4000-6 Series 3 is fitted with Komatsu’s latest KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring system, providing remote monitoring information about the machine’s performance and operating status,” Hall said.

“It also incorporates extended oil change intervals combined with easier and safer machine access, significantly reducing regular maintenance requirements.

“As well, the machine is Modular Mining’s ProVision ready, allowing it to incorporate a machine guidance system that integrates with mine planning software.

“It is also ready for MineWare’s Argus Payload System, allowing accurate, reliable payload measurements, so operators can optimise loading to required truck payloads,” he said.

In backhoe configuration, the machine has:

  • Operating weight of 394- 405 t;
  • Bucket capacity of 23 cu m;
  • Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 rated engine at 1,400 kW;
  • Arm breakout of 107,068 kg-f;
  • Bucket breakout of 117,775 kg-f;
  • Maximum dig depth of 8,000 mm.

In face shovel configuration, the machine has:

  • Operating weight of 388-400 t;
  • Bucket capacity of 22 cu m;
  • Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 rated engine at 1,400 kW;
  • Arm crowd force of 127,462 kg-f;
  • Bucket breakout force of 135,620 kg-f;
  • Maximum dump height of 12,000 mm.