A lot of the cutting-edge technology rolled out in mining and construction sectors has focused on improving safety and efficiency, while reducing fuel costs and environmental impact.
Earthmoving equipment manufacturers are no different. According to Resolute Equipment’s sales records, the top three machines the company sold in 2015 were Caterpillar’s 777F watercart, Komatsu’s PC850SE-8 excavator and Hino’s service truck.

It is no surprise these earthmoving brands are popular. The manufacturers continually strive to remain competitive by concentrating on developing technology aimed at better safety and efficiency and minimising fuel costs and environmental effects. In order to make this technology a reality, earthmoving suppliers have invested millions in research and development.

In recent years, global heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has teamed up with several technology innovation companies including Australia-based Seeing Machines and France-based Redbird. Through these investments, Caterpillar aims to offer its clients the most up-to-date equipment to enhance their operations.

Fatigue-monitoring telematics

During 2015, Caterpillar purchased a licence to manufacture, sell and service fatigue monitoring telematics technology from industry pioneer Seeing Machines.

Under the licence, the units, originally sold as Seeing Machines’ Driver Safety Systems (DSS), will be rebranded to Caterpillar and marketed as Caterpillar’s only in-cab real-time fatigue monitoring and intervention devices.

The unit is discretely mounted on the dash of the operator’s cab and provides 24/7 monitoring of the driver’s face and eyes. Customised safety analytics software processes the footage and “understands” potential fatigue and distraction behaviour. It does this by tracking the rotational angle of the driver’s head to perceive point-of-interest, as well as determining eye gaze direction and eyelid behaviour.

Since commercialisation, the DSS has kept thousands of heavy vehicle operators safe by detecting and intervening in more than 120,000 fatigue events within a nine-month period.

This has hugely benefited the mining sector with heightened operator safety and less down time due to incidents and injury.

Drones enter a new phase

In December 2015, Caterpillar agreed to promote the benefits of Redbird’s drones and cloud-based analytics technology to its customers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

According to Caterpillar, there are enormous potential work site intelligence benefits from using Redbird’s drone technology, which is entering a new phase with data analytics spurring the evolution.

Redbird CEO Emmanuel de Maistre has commented Redbird was focused on developing more industry-specific algorithms to assess the data drones collect while flying over a work site.

The drone and analytics technology could bring tangible work site intelligence benefits to a multitude of operations and projects around the world, helping them function more productively and safely.

Investing in technology

Another major heavy equipment manufacturer and supplier Komatsu invests A$620 million annually in research and development to ensure its equipment is engineered with the latest technology.

Komatsu’s research and development has created autonomous trucks and other remote-controlled mining and construction equipment. The company has also developed fuel efficient hybrid excavators and dump trucks.

Cutting-edge technology breaks ground in earthmoving

Similar to other industry innovations, Komatsu’s advancements have focused on boosting safety and machine productivity while cutting energy use and fuel costs.

In 2011, Komatsu entered a memorandum of understanding with Rio Tinto to supply Rio’s Iron Ore Pilbara operations in Western Australia with 150 Komatsu 930E 290-tonne autonomous haulage system (AHS) mining trucks within a five-year period.

Rio planned to use its 150 Komatsu AHS truck fleet to precisely, economically and safely deliver a million tonnes of iron ore in a single day.

In order to function, the autonomous dump trucks are equipped with several technologies including vehicle controllers, Global Positioning Systems, obstacle detection and wireless navigation. This technology enables the truck to safely and economically operate throughout a complex load, haul and dump cycle.

Advantages of this technology include increased site safety, with 70 fewer people working in danger zones. Additional benefits comprise faster haul cycle times, extended tyre life, reduced fuel consumption and less maintenance.

Meanwhile, Komatsu’s hybrid technology has been designed to drastically decrease fuel consumption.

Komatsu claims its first hybrid excavator 20 tonne HB205-1 and HB215LC-1 are the most environmentally sustainable machines on the market, offering up to 41 percent less fuel usage. Additional benefits include lower carbon dioxide emissions and therefore reduced environmental impact. Other advantages involve decreased wear and tear (diesel engines don’t have to work as hard) and higher productivity.

Fuel efficiency saves on costs

Also committing to improved fuel efficiency is Hino, which has been manufacturing and supplying trucks to the Australian market for 50 years.

Since launching its hybrid truck in 2007, Hino has sold more than 15,000 hybrid commercial transport vehicles worldwide and continues to develop its hybrid design to maximise fuel economy.

The hybrid trucks have reduced environmental effects compared to conventional trucks. The Hino hybrid truck emits less carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide.

Other benefits include kinetic energy that would otherwise be wasted as brake heat emissions is converted to electric power which can be stored by the hybrid engine’s battery. Additionally the electric motor can power an engine start-up, resulting in improved energy usage and lower fuel consumption.

These earthmoving industry innovations have been a huge perk to the mining and construction sectors, leading to sharp increases in safety and operational efficiency. The technology has also negated negative environmental impact and fuel costs. Combined, these advancements can help cut overall production costs and improve profit margins.

If your business needs the most reliable plant and equipment on the market from the biggest innovators in the industry, Resolute Equipment can help! We have modern mining and construction earthmoving equipment for sale at the most cost-effective prices on the market. Call today on 1300 308 840.