RCS 5 rig control system

Atlas Copco has been named one of the winners of the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) 2013 competition for the interface design of its new rig control system, the RCS 5.

The IDEA competition is issued by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). It was established in 1980 and ranks among the most preeminent international design competitions. Atlas Copco’s new rig control system, RCS 5, received a bronze in the Digital Design category.

"We’re honoured to be the first company in the mining industry that receives a design award for a control system," says Sisirnath Sangireddy, team leader interaction design at Atlas Copco’s Industrial Design Competence Center. "This proves that our design is recognised as the very best in the business."

RCS 5 is a hardware and software interface solution designed for drill rigs. It is used as the primary user interface between the rig and the operator, assisting, monitoring and controlling the rig and enabling local or remote control. The system also logs statuses, events and error information for future analysis.

The interface is designed to accommodate different scenarios such as ambidextrousness, colour blindness and variable light conditions and it fulfils all industry and usability standards. By using self-explanatory symbols, the solution works globally.

Navigation within the system is done through a 15in touch-screen display. Drilling is controlled through two multifunctional joysticks with primary functions grouped in the top of the joysticks. This allows the operator to focus on the drilling instead of searching for functions on the display.

The result is an optimal work flow with organised information and increased usability.

"The joysticks together with the touch-screen provide a really ergonomic working environment, and this has been one of our biggest focus areas," says Johan Jonsson, product manager at Atlas Copco. "Our aim in general has been to develop an ergonomic operator system that is intuitive and easy-to-use. You get a faster production start when a new rig comes on site and it also reduces the training time needed for new operators."

RCS 5 is currently available on Atlas Copco’s E-series of large development drill rigs.