Mining 24 Hours a Day with Robots

Tom Simonite for MIT Technology Review:  Each of these trucks is the size of a small two-story house. None has a driver or anyone else on board.

Mining company Rio Tinto has 73 of these titans hauling iron ore 24 hours a day at four mines in Australia’s Mars-red northwest corner. At this one, known as West Angelas, the vehicles work alongside robotic rock drilling rigs. The company is also upgrading the locomotives that haul ore hundreds of miles to port—the upgrades will allow the trains to drive themselves, and be loaded and unloaded automatically.

Rio Tinto intends its automated operations in Australia to preview a more efficient future for all of its mines—one that will also reduce the need for human miners. The rising capabilities and falling costs of robotics technology are allowing mining and oil companies to reimagine the dirty, dangerous business of getting resources out of the ground.  Cont'd...

Comments (0)

This post does not have any comments. Be the first to leave a comment below.


Post A Comment

You must be logged in before you can post a comment. Login now.

Featured Product

Zaber's X-LRQ-DE Series:  High Precision Stages with Built-in Controllers and Linear Encoders

Zaber's X-LRQ-DE Series: High Precision Stages with Built-in Controllers and Linear Encoders

Zaber's X-LRQ-DE Series of linear stages have high stiffness, load, and lifetime capabilities in a compact size. The integrated linear encoder combined with stage calibration provides high accuracy positioning over the full travel of the device. At 36 mm high, these stages are excellent for applications where a low profile is required. The X-LRQ-DE's innovative design allows speeds up to 205 mm/s and loads up to 100 kg. Like all Zaber products, the X-LRQ-DE Series is designed for easy set-up and operation.