May 19, 2023 - Mining automation enables key processes on mine sites such as controlling a machine remotely, automating multiple types of equipment across a fleet or implementing a completely autonomous fleet of haul trucks that can operate around the clock. To share its latest automation advancements, Komatsu recently hosted customers and distributors for an Automation Global User Forum at the company’s Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG) facility in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
With an emphasis on Komatsu’s interoperability strategy, the event highlighted the company’s equipment automation and system technology roadmaps as well as customer-presented case studies illustrating the high value autonomous haulage has brought to their mining operations and their potential paths to an automated mine site. Participants also got a first look at an Autonomous Light Vehicle (ALV) that Komatsu and Toyota are jointly developing.
Komatsu’s partnership with Toyota is reflective of the company’s interoperability strategy for its customers’ large mining fleets. Receiving directional commands from Komatsu’s class-leading Autonomous Haulage System (AHS), one or more Toyota ALVs can integrate with and operate alongside a Komatsu autonomous haulage fleet. Integration of this kind can help improve safety and productivity in an automated mine by reducing interactions with manually operated vehicles.
The forum was attended by customers representing over 20 mine sites around the world, including mines focused on the production of copper, iron ore, metallurgical coal and oil sands.
Showcasing the use and the value cases for AHS, forum attendees shared how they have used the system in multiple ways to optimize for the specific needs of their mines, based on climate and terrain. Use cases included:
• Mountaintop mining
• Mining in ice/snow
• High altitude mining
• High temperature/desert mining
"Interoperability is the cornerstone of our mining automation strategy,” said Martin Cavassa, Manager, Automation Business Development for Komatsu. "This forum was an excellent opportunity to showcase our developments in automation as well as what we envision for the future of mining.”
Komatsu’s concept for the automated mine of the future includes a range of options from teleoperation and task-level automation to a fully autonomous mine, including automation of the following common mining tasks:
Since Komatsu launched the world’s first commercial application of an autonomous haulage system in 2008, the company has deployed over 650 trucks at 22 sites in five countries (as of May 2023). Combined, Komatsu's AHS customers have moved over 6.2 billion metric tons of material.
Komatsu develops and supplies technologies, equipment and services for the construction, mining, forklift, industrial and forestry markets. For more than a century, the company has been creating value for its customers through manufacturing and technology innovation, partnering with others to empower a sustainable future where people, business and the planet thrive together. Front-line industries worldwide use Komatsu solutions to develop modern infrastructure, extract fundamental minerals, maintain forests and create consumer products. The company's global service and distributor networks support customer operations to enhance safety and productivity while optimizing performance. To learn more about Komatsu, visit https://www.komatsu.com/