Caterpillar rolling out more autonomous truck technology
At a recent Cat® MineStar&tra...
Caterpillar is developing autonomous mining truck technology for an expanded range of models, including other brands.
At a recent Cat® MineStar™ Command for hauling demonstration at the company’s facility in Arizona, Caterpillar announced a project to adapt hardware and software for retrofitting the Komatsu 930E mining truck with Cat autonomous technology.
This interoperability initiative is driven by mining companies’ goal of reducing mining costs using their existing fleets.
“Retrofitting technology is a proven means for mining companies to get the most from their assets,” said Sean McGinnis, product manager, Command for hauling. “And many mining companies operate mixed fleets of trucks.
Developing autonomous systems for other brands of trucks will enable us to offer a total solution to these customers.”
Additionally, Caterpillar is expanding the number of Cat truck models fitted for autonomous operation. The autonomous arrangement of the 797F, the largest of the Cat line with 363-tonnes (400 tons) payload capacity, is now being tested.
Other models are being evaluated as Caterpillar works with mining companies seeking ways to lower cost per ton and enhance safety.
The new Cat autonomous trucks will join the proven Cat 793F CMD in the autonomous mining truck line.
A large fleet of the 227-tonne-capacity (250-ton) trucks has achieved a 20 percent productivity advantage over standard trucks working in an Australian iron ore mine.
Also, the fleet and support staff have achieved zero lost time injuries since the first trucks started operating more than 3.5 years ago. In keeping with the retrofit trend, several of the current global fleet of 70 Cat 793F autonomous trucks have been retrofitted to operate autonomously.
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Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”