Meet the Sims
MINING MAGAZINE – DECEMBER 2014
ThoroughTec offers the example of Goldcorp’s Red Lake mine site in Canada to demonstrate how mining companies are using simulators to improve safety, boost productivity and reduce operating costs.
Goldcorp uses a fourth-generation CYBERMINE simulator for a Cat R1600G LHD to evaluate the way operators react to emergencies. The simulator has proved particularly useful in assessing how equipment operators respond to fires and in teaching them how not to wear down tyres, says Greg Lew, executive vice president and director of global business development. Tyres for an LHD cost thousands of dollars each, so it is essential to ensure they are not unnecessarily worn down or damaged. “Some of their scoop operators were spinning the front wheels as they drove the bucket into the muck pile, which obviously decreases tyre life,” Lew says.
“Ensuring the machine is in the correct gear and lifting the bucket at the correct time.”
“The CYBERMINE system allowed them to show the operators how to avoid this, [by tracking] when wheel slippage occurs and the status of all the vehicle’s sub systems. From there, the instructor can deduce how to correct this behaviour, ensuring the machine is in the correct gear and lifting the bucket at the correct time.”
ThoroughTec says it has dramatically expanded its range of simulated cabs over the past year accross the products of major OEMs such as Caterpillar, Atlas Copco and Komatsu, and has built simulators for new clients such as Fletcher, MTI (now part of Joy Global) and Taiyuan Heavy Industry. These simulators cover machines such as bolters, continuous miners, drill rigs, front end loaders, haul trucks, excavators and shovels.
The South African company is also “very proud” of its new Cybermine Soft Rock Range, which includes a continuous miner, shuttle car, longwall miner and specialised bolter, and is augmented by LHD simulators from the Cybermine underground mining simulator catalogue.
Expansion goes beyond just reproduction of simulators that train novice operators in basic functions such as controls familiarisation, however important they may be.
One example is the advent of the machine walk-around for simulators, which most of the major players have introduced in response to customer feedback about machine maintenance issues.
*Extracts from Mining Magazine