Mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has joined forces with the US-based Arch Coal's Thunder Basin Coal Company - Black Thunder mine to develop and operate the Cat MineStar Command for dozing at the site near Wright, Wyoming.
The latest technology will reduce cost per tone and helps to improve dozer productivity and safety.
According to Caterpillar, Command for dozing is part of the company's vision for a fully autonomous mine and includes a semi-autonomous solution that enables an operator to operate multiple dozers from a remote office environment.
Sitting in an office, the dozer operator can reduce the risk of injury from mounting and dismounting equipment.
Black Thunder mine, which is running four Cat D11T dozers enabled with the technology at present, used the technology initially in reclamation.
At present the technology is used in production overburden removal in advance of dragline operations.
Since its implementation at the site, the technology has logged more than 25,000 hours of tele-remote and autonomous operation time in addition to shifting over 23 million loose cubic yards (LCY) of material.
Wyoming Machinery provided local technical resources for system installation and ongoing support.
The mine is also using Command for dozing system to reduce unit costs through increasing dozer utilisation and increased process consistency.
Image: Command for dozing operator station at Caterpillar Proving Grounds. Photo: courtesy of Caterpillar