On 10 April this year the largest man-made excavation, US copper mine Kennecott mine experienced a massive landslide and Remote Control Technologies (RCT) raced ahead to help clear it.RCT is a developer of automation and control solutions for the mining and industrial industries. They have assisted companies in over 60 countries globally to achieve higher productivity and safety levels, and are continually innovating along the path towards full mine automation. Wheeler Machinery Co. is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a locally owned and operated Caterpillar and construction equipment dealer. “Whatever it takes!” were the words Remote Control Technologies’ MD, Bob Muirhead used to get the company to reduce its normal deployment lead time from 10 to just three weeks to deliver a remote control solution to the disaster struck mine. The mine knew it was coming and prepared accordingly. However the clearing of the 128 million cubic yards of rock and dirt was an unprecedented challenge for the mine. Fortunately it was achievable through the clever technology developed by RCT and installed on their Cat dozers supplied by Wheeler Machinery. What really emphasises the significance of the RCT achievement, however, was that the project was on the other side of the world, in Utah USA, from Western Australian-based RCT. It seems incomprehensible that the WA company was faster to react than some local suppliers, but according to Wheeler, who provided the remote dozers for the mining project, RCT was both faster to react and had superior technical support.
The safety of their employees was of utmost importance to the mining operation, and dozer operators could not safely work in the disaster area. Remote control of their dozers was the logical option. RCT was able to design and manufacture three dozer remote interfaces and four remote kits to suit the Caterpillar D8T dozers used at the mine site together with spare remotes and support parts, prepare the necessary documentation and ship the equipment, all in a very small time frame.“This is what we do,” said Phil Goode, Senior Business Development Manager, “We help our clients. Whether it is to solve a particular problem or to improve safety and efficiencies generally, we are quick to react with the right solution.” Once on site, installation, commissioning and training were completed in three weeks by the two man RCT team. The purpose of the training was to equip Wheeler and the mining company’s dozer operators with the skills necessary to clear the landslide in the safest manner possible so they could resume normal mining operations and staff could get back to their work. “It was easy to work with the RCT team, the implementation went seamlessly and they were keen to share their knowledge and experience during the training, making us feel confident with the operation of the equipment,” said Greg Evans, General Manager, Wheeler Construction and Mining Technology. For the Perth-based company, this is an excellent demonstration that specific client requirements can be met effectively with the right technology and quickly implemented anywhere in the world. For the client, the use of innovative technology adapted to their machines and work needs limited down time.