Komatsu mining trucks

By | 01.01.2018
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A Komatsu 930E positioned in the top left background during a Caterpillar autonomous mine truck demonstration.

With 100 autonomous haul trucks expected to be working in mines across the world by the end of clay mining year, Caterpillar is emphasizing its brand agnostic mining technology platform, part of its efforts to embed itself deep into a mine’s operation.

“Autonomy is no longer an experiment,” said Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Resource Industries group president at a Cat investor meeting held concurrently with the mining press conference. “We’re seeing increasing pull from customers, and we’re currently tracking 100-plus opportunities. We want to move fast in the space; our competition is coming from both traditional and nontraditional players.”

Cat says its current autonomous fleet includes 56 Cat 793F trucks that have achieved 20 percent greater production than manned trucks working in the same mining complex. These 56 trucks interact with more than 150 manned vehicles – graders, loaders, water carts, komatsu mining trucks, light vehicles and dozers – managed through the Cat MineStar System. In 4.5 years of operation, Cat says its autonomous trucks have hauled 400-plus million metric tons of material with greater than 99.95 percent komatsu mining trucks availability, all without a lost time injury. And because there are no shift changes, breaks or lunches, the trucks put in an average of 2.5 hours more work a day more than manned vehicles.

Tech partnerships

Cat’s brand agnostic approach deals with current mine realities: most mines have mixed fleets, partially caused by consolidation in the industry. As the mining industry starts to recover from the commodity price downturn, komatsu mining trucks, mines are beginning to use existing truck inventory, which can be a variety of brands, requiring komatsu mining trucks retrofit komatsu mining trucks to this retrofit effort will be the partnerships it has formed with technical and financial companies, partnerships that in some cases have been long standing.  “You don’t see all our suppliers on the iron side, but you will on the tech side,” says Sean McGinnis, product manager for Cat Mining Technology.

For example, komatsu mining trucks, Cat has been working with Torc Robotics for 10 years, a relationship that began when both companies were involved in the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, autonomous vehicle Grand Challenge. Torc has since worked with Cat to develop Cat’sRemoteTask skid steer remote control system, introduced in 2015. And now Cat has partnered with Torc to develop a system where the Cat autonomous haul truck system can operate a Komatsu 930E haul truck, a product it plans to have on the market in the first quarter of 2019.

“Obviously the systems change when you go from one vehicle to another,” says Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc, based out of Blacksburg, Virginia.  “With the 930E project, we were able to bring in experienced engineers that understand autonomy and what the trade-offs are, and then work with Cat’s expertise to create a product that works well, komatsu mining trucks. This is very complex technology; there are a lot of moving parts.”

These two Cat 793Fs are part of the autonomous mine truck fleet now at work globally, komatsu mining trucks. Cat says there will 100 such trucks working by the end of 2017.

Fleming says mining is benefitting from Torc’s research in two other areas of concentration for the company: automobiles and defense.  “Today, the automotive autonomous sector is very hot, and it will change our lives in ways that we don’t fully comprehend right now.”

Other partners in the mine technology space include IT-network giant Cisco, tasked with getting the data off the equipment and into the komatsu mining trucks, says Craig Watkins, Cat Mining Technology sales support. “It’s important that every wireless network component works, and as we go into LTE telecommunications networks, we stay ahead of the curve,” he says. “Any hiccups in communication can have a significant impact on a mine’s productivity. Now it’s not about building redundancy into a system, but understanding when things are about to degrade so you never get to the point of interrupted data.”

Caterpillar’s long-standing telematics partner Trimble is also in the mix. “Mining has always been a 3D environment and that 3D capability hasn’t been there,” says Nathan Pugh, Trimble’s director of mining. “Our challenge was to put in a visual intelligence layer, so you can get your point across different organizations.” 

Cat has also made a strategic investment in Alight Solutions, which looks at financial forecasting and scenario analytics. One of Alight’s tasks is to take the MineStar data from a mine, compare it with Caterpillar’s benchmarking data from all mines and feed it into Alight’s forecasting and analytics system, says Michele McGovern, Alight CEO. For mines already operating, this can identify utilization and availability improvements, such as ways to optimally reconfigure haul roads. This analysis can also offer a “financial blueprint” for mines being developed, says McGovern.

Cat also has its eye toward maximizing scalability, bringing the large mine products and services into smaller operations, including nvidia best mining. “Our NextGen Minestar will be introduced in 2018 and will offer toe-in-the-water technologies, komatsu mining trucks, making it more accessible to quarry operations and smaller bitcoin mining with gpu and cpu sites,” says Dan Hellige, Cat Mining Technology sales manager. “We want to create a broader and deeper base of actionable knowledge that can be shared throughout an organization.”

This scalability also applies to different machine types. Today, Cat’s Command for Hauling offers a fully autonomous truck solution. With drills, Cat is taking amd 460 mining stair-step approach, with a terrain guidance solution now, komatsu mining trucks plans to offer a semi-autonomous and then fully autonomous systems in the future. There, too, Cat is working on retrofit products, specifically for the P&H 320 XPC, which will go into testing this year, and the P&H 120A, piloting in the first quarter of next year. Dozers can now be remotely controlled and feature auto blade control and carry; semi-autonomous features will come later.

Technology not the hard part

The most significant challenges that remain as the industry takes steps toward autonomy are with people and processes, rather than technology. “Making a truck drive safely from point A to point B is not the hard part, but rather it’s the change management needed to make it work on a mine site,” Hellige maintains.

But komatsu mining trucks of that change has already taken place, reports Caterpillar, komatsu mining trucks. “Right now there’s a pull from our mining customers,” says Cat’s Watkins. “From the komatsu mining trucks of the year, mines have suddenly started talking to us about doing more than an iron transaction.”

During the investor meeting, one analyst asked Group President Johnson if the increased productivity of unmanned trucks wouldn’t mean fewer truck sales. Yes, she said, “but we we’re also looking at the alternative, which would be to allow someone else to have this space. This is helping to improve komatsu mining trucks productivity of the entire site, not just a certain piece of equipment, komatsu mining trucks. That’s where the real value proposition comes in, when we get to the trusted advisor position.”

 

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Komatsu 930E - Wikipedia

Dump Trucks Designed for hauling construction materials and excavated earth and rocks. In addition to rigid dump trucks, articulated dump trucks are available, which. Mining operations require a different breed of truck. When the max payload is one of the determining factors of whether or not a mine stays open – it breaks down. With 100 autonomous haul trucks expected to be working in mines across the world by the end of this year, Caterpillar is emphasizing its brand agnostic mining. The Komatsu 930E is an off-highway, ultra class, rigid frame, two-axle, diesel/AC electric powertrain haul truck designed and manufactured by Komatsu America Corp. in.

Mining operations require a different breed of truck. When the max payload is one of the determining factors of whether or not a mine stays open – it breaks down. The Komatsu 930E is an off-highway, ultra class, rigid frame, two-axle, diesel/AC electric powertrain haul truck designed and manufactured by Komatsu America Corp. in. Operating a production fleet of driverless mining trucks Komatsu’s Frontrunner® system is reshaping the mining industry. Komatsu America Corp.


Mining operations require a different breed of truck. When the max payload is one of the determining factors of whether or not a mine stays open – it breaks down to simple math that the biggest hauler wins. However, with a bigger hauler like the Komatsu HD150, the computer control units used to run it make it less like a traditional truck and more like running a program.

This comes in handy when conditions get very treacherous.When the clay pan on the way to a mine becomes too slippery to maintain traction, the Komatsu’s integrated control units take over for the driver to ensure its brought to a proper halt. Most mining trucks built by Komatsu, CAT, Hitachi, Bycyrus and Liebherr come with automated control programs to keep these massive haulers in line.

At a certain point, when two or more engines are combined with eight or more brakes – the human pilot is the biggest point of weakness in the system.In the class of 150+ metric ton off-road mining trucks, it’s the Komatsu HD1500-7 up against the CAT 785C. While Liebherr T 264 is a great producer of off-road mining trucks, their starting haul load is 250 tonnes. Their lightest vehicle can carry a payload equivalent of a Komatsu HD1500-7 with a full payload.

In terms of drive train and maximum horsepower output (2,700 hp), it certainly goes toe-to-toe with all the major producers and for super large scale operations – Liebherr has carved itself out a chunk of the market. In the class of light weight, formidable off-road mining trucks – it truly does come down to two commensurate manufacturers. Komatsu and CAT, while offering their product line to nearly any mining operation in the world, definitely have carved out slices of territory for themselves. Komatsus are build and produced in Japan with smaller manufacturing plants located across the world. Their main operating area, though, is the desolate reaches of the Australian outback and parts of Africa.

Komatsu HD1500-7
Max Power Output: 1,400 hp
Drive System: K-ATOMiCS automated control
Max Speed: 40 mph

CAT 785C
Max Power Output: 1,450 hp
Drive System: Cat® 3512B EUI twin turbocharged
Max Speed: 35 mph

Computer Automated Control Systems Save the Day

Because conditions mining situations are very demanding on vehicles, no operation can afford a major mishap. That’s why Komatsu especially designed their North American line with K-ATOMiCS traction control.

This electronically controlled all clutch modulation system serves to correct and steer the gear changes necessary to push traction to its fullest. When dealing with a 232,000 pound truck loaded down with another 250,000 pounds of ore – there is no room for error. Additionally, the ARSC (Automatic Retard Speed Control) is extremely responsive to the driver in terms of independently accelerating each wheel. This comes in extremely handy on really tough uphill or downhill driving in slippery conditions.

The reason why lightweight off-road mining trucks are absolutely essential is because not all mines require the same amount of ore to become profitable. Additionally, the more treacherous the conditions and poorly graded roads demand something with a bit more versatility than the gargantuan behemoths produced by Liebherr and Hitachi. That’s not to say they don’t have a definitive role in mining operations!

Fuel Requirements Play a Huge Role

When mining operation managers first decide which off-road mining trucks they are bringing onto the site – fuel considerations and payload are two of the biggest concerns. Often times, mines happen to be located some distance away from major fuel resupply points. Depending on the mineral and geography of the area, it comes down to which truck can run the longest on the least amount of fuel. For the Komatsu HD1500-7, it consumes roughly 560 gallons of fuel in one tank. At a burn rate estimated between a gallon a minute to a gallon and a half – a full tank should give this truck a run time of around 9 hours. That’s one full shift of driving, hauling, and moving ore. When fuel has to be brought in by rail or by transport truck – that’s the budgeted load for 54 days of operation from one cargo container of rail transported fuel.

Not to mention, with the bigger off-road haulers – unconventional means are required to even get those behemoths onto the work site. In North America, there are tight restrictions on weight and size. So bigger vehicles like the CAT 797F or Liebherr’s T 264 class of off-road mining trucks is a logistic nightmare to get to location. In other countries, however, such restrictions can be overlooked.

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