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RCT moves with industry direction shift

An Australian mining technology firm has passed five million operating hours with its mine-vehicle guidance systems, underlining the industry’s growing reliance on machine automation and a diverse group of tech vendors.
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RCT control technology has done more than 5 million hours on mining machinery worldwide

Staff reporter

The automation and control product manager at Perth-based RCT, Brendon Cullen says the five-million-hour mark is significant for the company. "It is much greater than other automation solutions available on the market today," he says.

RCT is more than 45 years old - started by a Kalgoorlie electrical fitter, Bob Muirhead, who devised a range of vehicle safety and control devices and turned RCT into a global leader in the underground-mine remote control market. The industry's transition from manual remote control to semi-autonomous machines and now increasing levels of mobile fleet automation has occurred over decades, and Muirhead has consistently played a long R&D game while his primary market inched along the automation road.

Cullen says hundreds of RCT ControlMaster Guidance systems are at work around the globe.

"Guidance has and will continue to prove itself in the automation field," he says.

The guidance technology is interfaced with steering, brakes, throttles and gears, and effectively controls the activity of mobile machines, using an on-board GCU, front and rear lasers, cameras and sensors to keep the heavy, expensive equipment tramming on an optimum course and at optimum speed. An ‘operator' using joystick control only needs to point the machine in the right direction and it does the rest.

Cullen says the five million hours have come up with no safety incidents or machine damage, with equipment working 16 hours or more a day under RCT control at many sites around the globe.