TORC® Provides Remote Control Solutions for Mining in Hazardous Areas

Adding Tele-operational Control to Existing Equipment Allowed TORC to Improve Productivity While Maintaining Worker Safety

Blacksburg, VA April 01, 2014


TORC Robotics, LLC (TORC) has provided a remote control solution for a 40 cubic yard shovel and 240-ton mining truck to a large open-pit mining operation in the western United States. The mine recently experienced a series of landslides. The resulting debris derailed production as the avalanche created numerous hazardous areas where humans could no longer venture. TORC provided tele-operated systems that enable remediation of high wall failures to begin much sooner than it would with manned equipment. The remote control systems provided by TORC allows the mine operators to quickly increase production that would have stalled due to the hazardous recovery. The Project Manager stated that, "TORC has been instrumental in adding new capabilities that the mine has never had at their disposal previously and are very valuable."

The TORC solution converted existing equipment (a CAT 793D haul truck and a Hitachi EX5600 hydraulic excavator) to operate via a tele-operated control system. The equipment can rapidly move between manual and tele-operated control by a single switch. Equipment is manually driven to a transition zone, where the operator leaves the vehicle's cab. The equipment operator then goes into the Integrated Remote Operations Center (IROC) that contains two operator stations and a spotter. A nearby communications trailer provides a dedicated wireless communications link between the equipment and the operator. Once the operator is in the remote control room, the vehicle is driven remotely into the hazardous zone. The operator control station is designed to exactly mirror the control center in the cab, allowing seamless transitions for the workers between manual and remote control. This allows the mine to continue working without putting personnel into risky and dangerous situations.

For more information, please contact Andrew Culhane, culhane(at)torctorobotics(dot)com.

About TORC Robotics
TORC Robotics, LLC (TORC®) is a leading provider of unmanned and autonomous ground vehicle solutions for the defense, mining, R&D, construction, and agricultural markets. TORC components and technology have been integrated on over 100 unmanned and autonomous ground vehicle platforms ranging in size from 15 pounds to 240-tons. TORC's robotic systems provide customers with rapid solutions by leveraging proven COTS (Commercial-off-the-Shelf) technology to ensure customer solutions are provided on time and on budget. For more information, visit http://www.torcrobotics.com/.

Featured Product

Universal Robots Add a Sense of Touch in New e-Series Cobots with  Built-in Force/Torque Sensor and Re-Designed User Interface

Universal Robots Add a Sense of Touch in New e-Series Cobots with Built-in Force/Torque Sensor and Re-Designed User Interface

With the new e-Series cobot line, Universal Robots raises the bar for cobots, adding unique new features while significantly strengthening the four core principles defining collaborative robots: fast set-up, easy programming, flexible deployment, and safe operation. With a new built-in, tool-centric Force/Torque sensor the e-Series is ready to take on applications requiring force control right out of the box. A repeatability of 30 micron means the new cobots are suitable for very precise finishing, assembly and electronics tasks. A re-designed user interface decreases cognitive load and expedites program development, while a new externally accessible, 500Hz system bus enables more complex motion control algorithms or profiles.