Hitachi to trial excavator semi-automation with Rio

Staff reporter

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co says it expects to start trialling new hydraulic excavator semi-automation technology at a Rio Tinto iron ore mine in Western Australia later this month.

The Japanese mining and construction equipment manufacturer’s president, Masafumi Senzaki, said HCM’s Operator Assist System was designed to boost ultra-large hydraulic excavator digging and loading productivity and safety.

“The verification test will be performed at one of Rio Tinto’s iron ore mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia,” HCM said.

“Sensors, monitors and other equipment will be attached to a backhoe EX3600-7 ultra-large hydraulic excavator [weighing 360 tons, or 327 tonnes] to conduct a performance verification of digging and loading tasks by the Operator Assist System and verification of the usability of the monitor display installed in the operator cab.

“Based on the verification at the mining site and through insights gained via collaboration with customers, such as through this partnership with Rio Tinto, Hitachi Construction Machinery aims to achieve practical application of the Operator Assist System in stages from 2025.”

HCM produces mining excavators weighing up 725 tonnes.

It says functions of the Operator Assist System will be retrofittable to all its large excavators.


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