New Cat® Integrated Remote Control System for Large Track-Type Tractors Improves Safety & Productivity
Caterpillar introduces an integrated Remote Control System for the D10T, D11T and D11T CD Track-Type Tractors. The new Cat® system is another importanttechnology in the evolution to autonomous minesites. It meets ISO15817 and AS/NZS4240 safety standards and permits miners and other large-tractor users to work safely, productively and economically in a broader range of applications. With an integrated Remote Control System, equipment owners can work in hazardous environments, meet regulatory requirements and reduce liability, while protecting operators from excessive noise, dust, vibration and other potential threats to health and safety.
The Caterpillar® system will be commercially available in 2009. It differs from aftermarket add-on systems because it is fully integrated with the Cat-designed components, systems and electronic control modules (ECMs) found on the D10T, D11T and D11T CD. Integration reduces complexity and cost and allows the system to deliver higher performance, better reliability and longer life.
Basic system offers safety, efficiency and portability
The basic system features a remote console from which an operator can safely perform virtually all machine functions including engine startup, acceleration, deceleration and shutdown; shifting, steering, directional control and braking; blade and ripper control; and auxiliary functions such as lights and horn. Critical information normally displayed in the cab (in gauge clusters and on display panels) is replicated on the remote console. The console incorporates a shoulder harness for convenience and portability.
In addition to the remote console, the basic system includes these key components: a primary transceiver and antenna, a Cat-designed remote control ECM, a relay block from which auxiliary functions are controlled, an in-cab emergency shutdown switch, an in-cab remote control mode indicator and an on-cab beacon that indicates when the machine is under remote control. A ground-level service center is also included in the basic system. It mounts on the ripper or counterweight and features two switches: one for selecting either remote or manual control, the other for emergency shutdown.
The basic system can be used on any D10T, D11T or D11T Carry Dozer. For new machines, an Attachment Ready Option makes system installation and setup quick and easy. Retrofit kits are also available for the current field population.
Caterpillar design enhances safety
To enhance safety, the Cat system will bring a remotely controlled large track-type tractor to a stop when one of these conditions occurs:
- Any emergency shutdown switch is activated. Switches are located in the cab, on the remote console, in the ground-level service center and on an optional redundant emergency shutdown transceiver.
- Remote control console is tipped
- Off-board transceiver loses power
- Radio communications are lost
- Communications to on-board transceiver or any ECM are lost
- Selected Level 3-alarms from any ECM are activated
Other standard safety features include an AutoRetarder function for engine overspeed protection and an AutoBrake function that engages when the machine is in neutral.
An optional avoidance system, using systems proven in the Caterpillar CAES system, also enhances safety. It uses global positioning to create electronic fences that identify three-dimensional worksite boundaries. When a remotely controlled machine reaches a boundary, two warnings are issued before an avoidance stop is activated. Though the machine stops and the remote control function is disabled, the engine continues to run. A quick sequence on the remote console allows the operator to reacquire remote control and override the avoidance zone for up to three minutes. This feature is useful for situations in which the machine needs to be operated temporarily outside previously defined electronic fences.
More options improve comfort and productivity
Late in 2009, Cat will offer two options to enhance the remote control system. An ergonomically designed operator station consisting of a comfortable Cat seat and seat-mounted joysticks and switches will allow an operator to run a machine remotely from a natural, cab-like environment, reducing fatigue and improving productivity.
An optional remote video/audio system will also be available. It will permit the operator to experience the same type of visual and auditory feedback normally gained inside a cab. The system will stream four high-resolution, low-latency, low-distortion video feeds and one low-latency audio feed to the remote operator in real time.
For more information about the integrated Remote Control System for large track-type tractors, customers should contact a Cat dealer or visit www.cat.com.
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