May 17, 2020

Five advantages of the Caterpillar Operator Assist – Enhanced Motion Control system:

cat mining
mining equipment
Mining technology
Dale Benton
3 min
Five advantages of the  Caterpillar Operator Assist – Enhanced Motion Control system:
For mine operators, keeping an electric rope shovel in the bank is essential for optimum productivity and profitability.

Recognising this, Caterpillar...

For mine operators, keeping an electric rope shovel in the bank is essential for optimum productivity and profitability.

Recognising this, Caterpillar has introduced the Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system. The software is designed to simplify machine operation, promoting high production while protecting the machine from inadvertent misuse. The new system enhances production by reducing operating faults, such as crowd over-speeds and boom jacks.

The system can yield a number of significant benefits, including more reliable crowd rope replacement schedules, full design life for hoist ropes, reduced wear on crowd brakes, and longer life for hoist gear case components.

It reduces downtime for maintenance and repair by controlling machine motions under certain conditions. This translates to added production and lower cost per ton—with a return on investment typically less than six months.

Five advantages of the Operator Assist – Enhanced Motion Control system:

When developing, the Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system, Caterpillar engineers reviewed the operating habits of numerous operators of all skill levels. Based on this practical information, the new system addresses specific operating situations that could potentially jeopardise both the machine and the production schedule.

Hoist stall prevention: Over-crowding the dipper and excessive loading can stall the dipper and place detrimental forces on hoist gear-case components. The Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system monitors force and optimises crowd/retract commands in relation to hoist speed. Optimising the loading cycle reduces stress and wear on hoist system components.

Boom jack prevention: Current in-service machines can crowd against the bank floor and lift the boom with the dipper handle. This triggers faults that adversely affect cycle times. The Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system aims to prevent boom jacking by automatically adjusting hoist and crowd to maintain proper rope tension. With the new system, the operator will experience fewer digging interruptions.

Crowd impact prevention: A crowd impact occurs when the dipper hits the bank with high inertia resulting in high crowd rope stresses. If the crowd motor continues to apply force in this situation, the crowd ropes are subjected to shock loading. The Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system measures force on the crowd rope and automatically adjusts motor output to avoid shock loading, keeping the dipper in the bank with just the right amount of force. The net result is extended life for crowd ropes.

Crowd over-speed prevention: A crowd over-speed occurs when the commanded speed is exceeded and the brake automatically applies. This action interrupts the digging cycle and causes unnecessary wear on the crowd brake. The Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system provides more braking power to prevent over-speed situations. This feature eliminates the need to de-rate crowd speed in near-vertical handle positions, unburdens the operator and improves crowd brake life.

In-bank swing prevention: When the operator attempts to swing the dipper through the bank, side-loading forces on the dipper can damage shovel components. The Operator Assist—Enhanced Motion Control system can determine dipper engagement and limit swing forces to avoid damage.

For more information about Cat electric rope shovels, go to:


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May 24, 2021

Codelco partners with Microsoft to extend digitisation

Microsoft Networks
2 min
Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, has struck a deal with Microsoft to promote digitisation and automation at its copper mines across Chile

Chile's Codelco, the world's largest copper producer, has announced a deal with tech giant Microsoft to fast-track the digitisation of its sprawling mining operations, helping it extend automation and improve analytics.


The joint project with Microsoft will beef up the company's capacity to make its production processes more efficient and promote "sustainability" within its operations, Codelco said in a statement.

Codelco, like many Chilean miners, has fought in recent years to adopt new technologies to boost efficiency and keep down costs at its aging deposits, many of which suffer from declining ore grades.

"We are promoting profound changes so that different areas operate in a completely remote and automated way, reducing risks, improving productivity, safety and reliability of our operation," said company executive Alvaro Garcia.

Mining companies worldwide are pushing forward with plans to operate mines remotely, reducing the risk of accidents and boosting efficiency.


Codelco’s move towards automation however has led to confrontations with unions, who see it as a threat to their livelihoods. The company said the project with Microsoft will include a training component for the its workers.

The state-run miner has recently ramped up its use of technology to ensure its copper is 100% traceable, a vital step in reducing its carbon footprint and boosting sustainability within its operations.



Codelco’s CEO Octavio Araneda said that tracing copper through its mines would help the company more precisely measure progress on its social and environmental goals while providing proof to increasingly demanding customers of those efforts.

“We can now say that 100% of our products are traced…which will allow us to have a very strong transparency regarding our resource use footprint,” Araneda said.


The announcement comes amid a broader push by the company to reduce water consumption, recycle industrial waste and scale back carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Codelco said in a webinar that the tool it has developed to assure traceability will help assure those sustainability targets are met.

Soaring demand for electric vehicles, a key component in the global fight against climate change, has increased attention on the carbon footprint and sustainability of inputs such as copper, cobalt and lithium.

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