Kobe Steel has been granted a patent for a remote operation system for construction machines. The system includes a master operation device and a slave operation device. If a difference is detected between the operation amount detected by sensors on either device and the operation amount received by the communication unit, the system can automatically stop the machine and issue an alarm. GlobalData’s report on Kobe Steel gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Kobe Steel, ore pre-treatment was a key innovation area identified from patents. Kobe Steel's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Remote operation system for construction machine with automatic stop and alarm control
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11680383B2) describes a remote operation system for construction machines. The system consists of a master operation device and a slave operation device. The master operation device is used to remotely operate the construction machine, while the slave operation device is mounted on the machine and operates it based on the commands received from the master device.
The master operation device includes a remote operation member that receives input from the operator, a first sensor that detects the operation amount of the remote operation member, a first communication unit that transmits the operation amount to the slave operation device, and a warning device that issues an alarm. On the other hand, the slave operation device includes a second communication unit that receives the operation amount transmitted from the master operation device, an operation mechanism that directly operates the operation member of the construction machine, a second sensor that detects the operation amount of the operation member, and a slave side controller that controls the operation mechanism based on the operation amount received.
If a difference is detected between the operation amount detected by the second sensor and the operation amount received by the second communication unit, the slave side controller executes stop control to automatically stop the construction machine or alarm control to activate the warning device. Similarly, the master side controller in the master operation device executes stop control and alarm control if a difference is detected between the operation amount detected by the first sensor and the operation amount received by the first communication unit. If the difference is continuously detected for a certain time or more, both the master side controller and the slave side controller execute stop control and alarm control.
In the event of a communication interruption between the master operation device and the slave operation device, the master side controller transmits a stop control command to automatically stop the construction machine and activates the alarm control. The slave side controller also executes stop control and alarm control by transmitting an alarm command to the master operation device.
Additionally, the patent mentions that the control to automatically stop the construction machine involves gradually decreasing the engine speed to an idle state and then stopping the engine.
Overall, this patent describes a remote operation system for construction machines that ensures safe and efficient operation by detecting differences in operation amounts and taking appropriate control actions, including automatic machine stoppage and alarm activation.