Hitachi to test automated mega excavator in Australian mine

22, Jul. 2020

(Photo courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery)
(Photo courtesy of Hitachi Construction Machinery)

SYDNEY, NNA – Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. will test automated mega excavator operations in an Australian mine next year in its ambitious plan to realize remote-controlled mining around the world.

The company plans to begin the test to develop autonomous ultra-large hydraulic excavators equipped with systems such as collision avoidance with other mining equipment to ensure the same level of operability as with the operator on board the machinery.

The Hitachi group arm picked Australia as it has supplied six rigid dump trucks operating around the clock, supported by its Autonomous Haulage System at Whitehaven’s coal mine in Maules Creek, a spokeswoman in Tokyo told NNA.

Phased development includes some part of excavation and loading operations managed by a single remote operator to operate multiple ultra-large hydraulic excavators and subsequent autonomous operation features for such excavators, the company said in a statement last Thursday.

All related systems can be applied to the EX-7 series of ultra-large hydraulic excavators, including those already used in the market, the statement said. Those systems can also be coordinated with the fleet management system of Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd., a mining operation system service subsidiary of the Tokyo-based firm, according to the statement.

The operation of ultra-large hydraulic excavators, which requires operators to manipulate the machines to dig and load minerals, relies on the skills of individual operators, leading to the need to ensure stable supply and reduce the burden on operators, according to the spokeswoman.