Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership

Wolff Mining, as part of its push to advance its semi-autonomous tractor system (SATS) technology, has built upon its already existing partnership with Hastings Deering and Cat for the forthcoming deployment of its autonomous drills
Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership Wolff bites into Hastings autonomous partnership

Wolff Mining has been advancing its semi-autonomous tractor system (SATS) technology

The company, part of National Group, had been working with the others through the deployment of Cat's Command for Dozing module in a production environment, which subsequently earned them multiple awards.

"Our range of Cat autonomous drills offers enhanced safety and cost-effectiveness through high-precision drilling," Hastings Deering said. "This can offer various benefits to the mining value chain such as improved accuracy, consistency and utilisation rates."

The company also explained that high-precision satellite guidance capabilities ensure every blasthole is drilled exactly to the designed coordinates and desired floor elevation, and automated drilling functions ensure consistent operation that can maintain the drill's operation within ideal outlines to allow longer bit life, longer machine life and lower maintenance costs.

The Wolff semi-autonomous drills, the company said, utilise a line-of-sight system that involves a tablet; it can manage multiple drills simultaneously so one can control and monitor a single-row mission at a distance.

Mines that implement semi-autonomous drilling can realise accurate in-hole/bit positioning for every hole as well as consistency. Additionally, explosives energy can be contained due to such factors as plan matching, improved drill and blasting safety, optimised asset utilisation, improved rock fragmentation, along with lower operating expenses and greater productivity.

As noted by Wolff Mining's business development manager Leon Williamson, the automation from Cat's Command for Drilling can support operator shift changes while drilling continues. The result: mines that have more time for working and less time spent idle.

"It also enables remote operations that reduce or eliminate the costs for operator travel and on-site housing. In addition, semi-autonomous drill operations will enable a single operator to control multiple drills and proportionally reduce the cost per drilled metre whilst additionally increasing the effective drilled metres per shift for our clients," he added.

National MD Mark Ackroyd noted that the most crucial benefit was safety. "Beyond allowing operators to work safely away from the drill, there are a number of other features that ensure the safety of everyone working in the vicinity of autonomous equipment, whether that's trucks, drills or dozers," he said.