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Hitachi develops operator assist for ultra-large excavators

The operator assist system will improve mine safety, with Hitachi also announcing the start of 24/7 mine monitoring in Brisbane

Hitachi Construction Machinery has developed an operator assist system aimed at supporting the digging and loading operations of ultra-large hydraulic excavators for improved operational performance and is currently conducting a verification test at one of Rio Tinto’s mine sites in Australia.

Through the application of the operator assist system, mine sites will benefit from reduced operator burden, improved mine site safety, increased productivity and reduced fuel consumption, Hitachi says.

The verification test is being performed at one of Rio Tinto’s iron ore mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Sensors, monitors and other equipment have been attached to a backhoe EX3600-7 ultra-large hydraulic excavator (operating weight of 326.6 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.

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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.

The system will enable retrofitting support for the EX-7 series of ultra-large hydraulic excavator models EX2000-7 through to EX8000-7 backhoe front specification machines.

Hitachi Construction Machinery has also announced that it has begun 24/7 remote monitoring of Australian mine sites that use its Autonomous Haulage System for dump trucks, from a Technological Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

At TCoE, the same information that customers are getting in their mine control room is monitored in real time. The information is analysed to help derive solutions for the issues faced by each customer to help streamline and optimise their operations.

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