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Contractors World International

As each truck approaches the loading area, the load-

ing tool operator uses their on-board touch-screen com-

puter to “spot” the truck to the correct loading location,

“telling” the truck when it can move into position to be

loaded, then once it is loaded that it can move off to the

dump area.

In dumping, the autonomous system is able to handle

the different requirements of the mine, depending on the

material to be dumped, whether to fixed crusher plant

locations for mined ore or to overburden waste dumps.

Mr Taylor said safety had been Komatsu’s first priority

in developing the FrontRunner system.

“Each truck’s ODS can detect light mine vehicles

and other mobile mine equipment – slowing or

stopping the trucks when required.

“One of the biggest safety issues with dump

truck operation is fatigue, particularly at night.

“Mine personnel have reported that they

feel far safer and less stressed with FrontRun-

ner trucks operating around them, because they

know their movements are constant and predict-

able 100% of the time.”

Cost Efficiencies

Mr Taylor said that operating a FrontRunner fleet also

significantly changed the mix of personnel requirements

to operate and control the trucks.

“Typically a Komatsu 930E truck in a 24/7

operation requires up to a total of five operators,

to cover shift changes and FIFO work patterns,

but with FrontRunner trucks, just a single

controller per shift is required to supervise the

entire truck fleet.

“On the other hand, autonomous truck

operation requires significantly higher skills – and

more people – to maintain and keep the system

going, including specialists in electronics, GPS and

control systems.”

Other reported advantages of Komatsu’s system in-


• More accurate component life prediction because

they are consistently driven to their optimum operating

characteristics at all times

• Reduced tyre wear, due to their constantly achiev-

ing their optimum travel speeds, acceleration, braking and

steering requirements

• Lower fuel consumption

• Increased productivity and production, through no

need to stop for shift changes or crib breaks, longer pe-

riods between service requirements, and minimised un-

scheduled downtime.

Komatsu Australia

Page 19

Contractors World International Vol 6 No 4


Copper Mine

Operators Explore


Located in Pima County, Arizona, a copper min-

ing operation recently obtained a Terramac RT9

for their copper mine tailings pond dust suppres-

sion. Since the Terramac dust suppression unit

was new to this mine location, the company

sent product specialist, Matthew Herzig out to

Arizona to perform an overview of the unit to

mine operators.

During the startup, Matthew went over all of

the RT9’s features, instructed the mine’s operators

on how to use the dust suppression attachment,

and discussed safety tips in addition to best prac-

tices for service and maintenance.

Tailings ponds have a unique consistency and a

toxic chemical balance which requires extraordinary

equipment to safely maintain the tailings in accord-

ance with the strict laws set forth for mines.

The Terramac unit manoeuvres through the tail-

ings with ease because the carrier’s rubber tracks

disperse the weight making the overall ground pres-

sure just 5.1 psi.

The crawler carrier can accommodate a 1600 gal-

lon (6,056 litres) water tank and carries the 60 ft (18

m) spray boom that distributes a continuous flow of

water and magnesium chloride solution to efficiently keep

the tailings dust particles at bay.

Without this application, extreme heat and winds will

stir up the tailings which then pollute the environment.