Caterpillar Announces MineStar Capability Sets Enhancements

September 28, 2016

Cat's MineStar suite of integrated mine operations and mobile equipment management capability sets help manage everything from material tracking to sophisticated real-time fleet management, machine health systems, autonomous equipment systems and more. The capability sets— Fleet, Terrain, Detect, Health and Command—can be used in combination or individually to allow your operation the flexibility and scalability it needs to be more productive, efficient and safe.

New at MINExpo:

MineStar Detect Object Detection - Caterpillar announces availability of Cat MineStar Detect Object Detection systems for additional Cat machines and virtually all brands of mobile surface mining equipment. Previously unsupported Cat machines as well as other brands of machines can now be equipped with the cameras, radars and in-cab displays that deliver increased site awareness to mobile equipment operators.

Object Detection kits are available with 1 to 4 cameras and as many as 8 radars for applications ranging from small auxiliary equipment to ultra class mining trucks. Functionality remains the same as the proven Object Detection system equipping Cat mining trucks from the factory and available as a factory option on several Cat wheel loaders and wheel dozers.

The expanded line of retrofit kits enables enhancing safety and standardizing mixed fleets for the benefit of operators and maintenance technicians. Object Detection is wholly contained on the machine and does not require the installation or operation of any off-board infrastructure. The system is fully supported by Cat dealers.

Detect Object Detection is designed to work during machine startup and when a machine is traveling at low speeds. The system employs radar capabilities to automatically detect hazards such as other equipment or vehicles within critical zones around the machine—in front, at the rear and each side. The system also presents specific camera views to show the operator where potential hazards are detected. A proximity bar on the in-cab display flashes yellow or red, depending on the distance of the detected object.

Cat MineStar Proximity Awareness System - Caterpillar is introducing a new collision avoidance system, Proximity Awareness, for surface vehicles. Part of Cat MineStar Detect capability set, the new system uses the latest peer-to-peer communications leveraged by the automotive industry. The system delivers fast and reliable communications between vehicles and presents collision avoidance information to operators without the need for a robust radio network covering the site.

The onboard hardware can be fitted to light vehicles and to any brand of surface mining equipment. Fewer components are required compared to the previous Cat Proximity Awareness system, which uses a WiFi network. The result is reduced space required onboard vehicles, fast installation and lower cost.

The onboard display can store up to 24 hours of incident data. This data is sent to the office for storage and analysis by using strategically located communications hot spots on site. Incident capture, playback and reporting are independent of MineStar Fleet.

Cat MineStar Fleet, Proximity Awareness and Object Detection can run on a single, in-cab display. The new Proximity Awareness system also features alarm tones that operators can easily distinguish from alerts delivered by other systems. When combined with Fleet in the office, enhanced reporting includes operator performance as related to the number of safety incidents. The new system retains the many features provided by the previous system, such as avoidance zones, speed zones, highly configurable machine envelopes and projected paths, operator notifications, incident capture and playback for training or incident reconstruction.

The Proximity Awareness system presents information to the operator via an intuitive graphic display in the cab. The system provides three onboard alarming levels. The zones, which define alarming, are customer configurable. Alarming priority ranges from low to critical. Low priority indicates the projected path of a machine is on course to collide with another machine, or it’s following another machine too closely. Critical alarms occur when two or more machines have their closest zones intersect. If machines routinely are in close proximity, such as loading and hauling vehicles, alarm filters can be implemented between machines classes to silence non-critical warnings.

Cat MineStar Terrain - Caterpillar announces an upgrade to Cat MineStar Terrain. Terrain combines GNSS guidance technologies that help operators work efficiently and accurately with integrated office software that enables remote monitoring and fact-based decision-making. Miners use Terrain to optimize production efficiency, enhance safety and reduce cost per ton. All Terrain products (for grading, drilling and loading) have been upgraded.

Terrain for grading improves the efficiency and lowers the cost of grading in applications ranging from production dozing to reclamation. With this update, the D10T2 and D11T dozers can be ordered with factory-installed blade control capabilities integrated into the machine control system. Automating blade movement helps all operators—from the inexperienced to the highly skilled—move material faster and more accurately with less fuel and rework. A retrofit option is being developed for the D9T, D10T and D11T. The newest version of Terrain for grading also includes a feature that tracks machine status (working or inactive), notes when a unit is inactive and prompts the operator to select a delay code, explaining the inactivity. Information is provided to mine management in a visual timeline report that can be used to assess and improve utilization.

Terrain for drilling directs the execution of drill patterns and enables remote monitoring of drilling activities. With this upgrade, multiple drills on the same pattern can share the status of each hole drilled in real time. This gives drill operators and office staff a common, accurate view of progress against the plan at all times, reducing inefficiencies and redundancies. Another new feature is a training simulator for drill operators that runs on a personal computer. Whether the operator is learning new skills or improving existing ones, off-board training can be delivered safely, efficiently and economically. Two more new features expand the versatility of Terrain for drilling: the system can now be used on Atlas Copco D65 drills and on excavators that drill drainage holes in leach pad applications.

Terrain for loading assists operators with movement and placement of material, improving efficiency and accuracy. Terrain for loading continues to be available with full functionality for any brand of equipment; however, this update integrates more deeply with the Cat 7495 Electric Rope Shovel. The 7495 system now indicates precise dipper-tip positioning and dipper payload in real time. Continuous display of dipper position provides more precise material identification. 

Other improvements include a fully integrated Proximity Awareness feature that alerts the operator when a machine either approaches an avoidance zone or is approached by another unit that has breached specified boundaries. Proximity information is displayed on the same screen as grading and loading information, simplifying the user experience. For shovels and excavators, an upgraded Linkage Avoidance Zone feature offers industry-leading alarm accuracy.  

Fleet integration

Customers using Terrain as part of a fully integrated fleet management system (Cat MineStar Fleet 4.4 or newer) will benefit from a new feature for large wheel loader applications that combines fully automatic ore control with improved production tracking capabilities. Whether working in-pit, at the stockpile or at the ROM pad, loader operators automatically receive 3-D grade block data from the mine plan, eliminating manual updates from the office and reducing the risk of human error. The system facilitates blending at the ROM pad as automatic material tracking capabilities enhance efficiency and accuracy. The system also automatically tracks material dumped to the crusher or loaded into trucks.

For more information about updates to Cat MineStar Terrain, see the Caterpillar exhibit at MINExpo 2016, contact a Cat dealer or go to: