MacLean offers VR training for bolter operators

MacLean Engineering showcased its newest technology development at this year’s CIM Convention in Montreal. The new MacLean virtual reality (VR) bolter training tool was front and centre, providing visitors with a hands-on experience of the immersive training world of virtual ground support installation.

“This past year we made significant investments in our in-house technology development capabilities,” notes MacLean president Kevin MacLean. “This means we now have our own teams of vehicle monitoring programmers and remote control mechatronics experts – a whole new generation of MacLean employee, one that will help propel the company’s product development along the path from remote to semi-autonomous to fully autonomous fleet operations.”

“Our 2018 purchase of an underground test facility in Sudbury gives these new teams a world class underground mining lab for technology prototyping and product testing, all at the service of delivering safer, more productive, less costly fleet operations to our global customer base,” adds MacLean founder and chairman Don MacLean.

“MacLean’s technology push is closely linked to the imperative of training to ensure safe and sustainable adoption of new technology in the underground environment,” states Patrick Marshall, director of mining technology. “As mining companies go deeper and to more remote locations to chase economic orebodies, they are necessarily going to be operating in jurisdictions without longstanding, experienced mining labour forces. So, the focus needs to be on training and that means providing the whole range of tools and expert trainers, required to build knowledge to be passed along at site level on an ongoing basis. Our VR bolter is one of those tools – a highly transportable, accessible and engaging learning environment developed expressly for the next generation of miner who has grown up in a digital age, just as mining itself is joining the digital age in a significant way.”

Two other MacLean technology initiatives will also be highlighted in convention presentations – battery electric vehicle (BEV) material haulage trial results; and, real-time vehicle monitoring that delivers a shortlist of actionable data to support operator safety, machine life and predictive maintenance practices.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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