This week Sandvik introduced Tele-Remote for underground loaders, a new smart entry-level addition to its AutoMine product family at a gathering in Tampere, Finland. The system, according to Sandvik, provides an easy way to start exploring the full potential of equipment automation while improving productivity, safety and cost efficiency in mining operations.

The new Tele-Remote provides functionality for smart teleoperation and monitoring of a single loader from the safety of a remote location. It is easy to set up, operate and maintain without a need for advanced technical skills, Sandvik said. Designed specifically for quick production area deployment, AutoMine Tele-Remote is particularly suitable for continuously changing mining environments, such as applications with small stopes or mine development.

“AutoMine Tele-Remote makes remote loader operating simple thanks to a number of smart system functionalities assisting the operator,” said Jarkko Ruokojärvi, product line manager automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. “The advanced features — such as automatic steering and predictive wall collision avoidance — ensure easy and smooth operation of the loader, reducing strain on the operator.”

As the intelligent operator-assisting system automatically steers the loader in environments previously unknown to it, loading can start immediately after site installation without a need for area definitions. In addition, the solution enables additional productive hours each day by allowing continued remote operation of the loader during blast clearance times, the company said.

Equipment utilization is also increased as operators can hand it over between shifts much faster without the need to locate and travel to the equipment. The intelligent features of the system also help to avoid wall collision damage that would otherwise lead to expensive downtime for repairs and maintenance. This translates into cost savings and higher productivity. The system’s compact onboard package is integrated into the intelligent control system of Sandvik loaders, allowing full monitoring and control functionality as well as straightforward retrofit installations.