Next generation cameras advance autonomous dozer operations - Florida, USA

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OVERVIEW

One of North America’s leading producers of concentrated phosphate and potash is rolling out a cutting-edge strategy to enhance its mining operations and improve safety for its workforce. As part of this strategy the mining company engaged smart technology specialist RCT and its valued technology partner Excelsense to introduce innovative technologies to achieve this goal.

Excelsense is a world leader in developing high quality vision systems for use in global heavy industries with particular focus on the mining sector. The company addresses an ever-growing demand for highly durable and extremely reliable optical vision systems especially in relation to the use of autonomous technology across mobile equipment operations. Excelsense prides itself on developing self-sufficient, self-cleaning cameras and sensors with a cleaning method that eliminates the need for external hardware such as nozzles, hoses or airtanks that could become vulnerable to the harsh conditions often found at the mine face. The technology improves personal safety as it does not require intervention from site personnel to inspect or engage directly with the camera unit.

SOLUTION

RCT deployed its market-leading ControlMaster® automation technology in partnership with
Excelsense which provided their cutting-edge ToughEye™ 1700 self-cleaning cameras to
enhance mining fleet operations at the mining company’s phosphate operation in Florida, USA.
The combined technology package was commissioned by RCT’s experienced technicians
on one of the mine’s Komatsu 155AX dozers to assist in the mining of phosphate rock. The
combined technology package enabled site personnel to safely direct the dozer to push raw
material out from the under the stacker onsite from a safe vantage point.

RCT’s advanced ControlMaster® automation technology relocated the dozer operator away from
the machine’s cab to a specially modified ControlMaster® Automation Centre away in a central
location. By harnessing the power of the Automation Centre, site personnel could access the
full range of machine functions as if they were sitting in the machine’s cab. As part of the project
RCT’s technicians installed five Excelsense ToughEye™ 1700 self-cleaning cameras in strategic
positions around the dozer to provide operators clear and unobstructed views around the dozer.
The ToughEye™ 1700 self-cleaning cameras are specifically designed to operate in extremely
harsh mining environments and can continue to operate in the face of abrasive dust, mud,
oil, grease and water. The technology can self-clean for several years with no scheduled
maintenance and operates without hoses, tanks or nozzles and does need to be refilled with
detergents or other products often used to clean lenses.

At the request of site personnel, RCT configured the Automation Centre to allow site personnel
to activate the camera’s self-cleaning capabilities with the press of a button. Once activated, the
camera lens rotates 360° and the camera unit’s inbuilt technology cleans the lens and provides
crystal-clear camera vision which is displayed in the Automation Centre. Site personnel also
have the option of configuring the camera on a timed cleaning cycle.

RESULT

Since the Excelsense ToughEye™ 1700 self-cleaning cameras and ControlMaster® automation
technology was installed, the feedback from site personnel has been overwhelmingly positive.
The self-cleaning function gives the dozer operator very clear and unobstructed camera views
of the working area and in turn has significantly improved dozer utilisation. The ability of the
camera lens to clean itself by rotating 360° means dozer operators do not need to approach the
machine and manually clean the lens which could potentially damage the lens. The operator’s
ability to manage all camera functions and dozer functions from outside the work area from the
ControlMaster® Automation Centre is a significant safety improvement for all site personnel and
enables them to work more efficiently and effectively.

COMMENTS

Excelsense Advisor Bryan Anderson commented: “We are extremely proud to support our
partner RCT in implementing the ToughEye 1700 camera and empowering the mining company
to achieve its operational goals. ToughEye was created to support personnel working in harsh
conditions - similar to those found on this mine - and to provide a very view of the working area
at all times.”

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