The future of mining: how smart solutions are boosting productivity

Minetruck MT65

Automation and smart solutions are fast becoming a reality in the world of mining and boosting productivity along the way.

Atlas Copco is one business turning to automation and smart solutions to achieve this goal, with the introduction of its new Minetruck MT65 last August.

Now 40 Australian orders later, the MT65 is company’s strongest and smartest truck to date. It is designed to carry a 65-tonne load and comes with a host of smart and automation-ready options. Included in this is Atlas Copco’s Rig Control System (RCS), which allows production logs and other data to be saved on a USB stick in the MT65’s cabin.

RCS also connects to Atlas Copco’s telematics system, which provides a summary of the machine’s performance, loading maintenance systems and maintenance issues on an online portal.

Other smart solutions for MT65 include a tyre monitoring system, a machine warm-up function, a machine protection system and an over-speed protection system.

Shaiful Ali, Product Manager, Underground at Atlas Copco, explained how implementing automation in its products can boost productivity and efficiency for customers.

“We believe the MT65, with the inclusion of Atlas Copco’s RCS, is a platform to grow automation easily to the next step,” Ali said.

“What we can do with the MT65, for example, is potentially integrate with smart battery or hybrid technologies, and also integrate with autonomous loader and drilling equipment currently in the market.”

MT65 has been designed with productivity, safety and operator comfort in mind, and builds on years of knowledge from its predecessor; the successful MT6020. Since launching in 2008, more than 200 MT6020s have been delivered to Australia.

Already harvesting the fruits of the MT65’s labour is ASX-listed gold mining company St Barbara. The business, alongside contactor Byrnecut, trialled the truck for four months during the second half of 2016 at its Gwalia operation in Western Australia.

“The trial was simply to be 2000 hours at Gwalia and the KPIs were a tonne-kilometre (TKM) increase, payload and speed on grade,” said Ali.

“Based on this we achieved a 10 per cent TKM increase compared to the existing fleet onsite. The average payload of the machine doing an independent load study was 65.7 tonnes. It achieved the same cycle time as existing machines on site with increased payload performance. And we saw a reduction in fuel use per hauled tonne.”

Atlas Copco has also maximised the safety features on MT65 to provide a more secure underground operation and better working environment.

Features include spring applied, hydraulically released (SAHR) brakes in the wheel ends and a built-in retarder in the transmission. Automatic brake testing and logging via an intuitive guide is also included.

To find out more about Atlas Copco’s MT65 and its smart capabilities, read the whitepaper here.