Caterpillar introduces South Walker Creek automation

Image: Hastings Deering

The Next Generation Cat MD6310 drill has joined the fleet of Coldwell Drilling Co at the South Walker Creek coal mine in Queensland’s Isaac region.

It is first autonomous drill at the mine and represents a safe solution that supports the needs of the site.

The MD6310 is equipped with GPS-based Cat Terrain system that improves drilling accuracy, allowing the equipment to focus on the precise hole placement, depth and angle.

This is particularly helpful when placing explosives within the hole, making operations safer.

“It looks at how hard the ground is, rotation speed, pull down pressure and bit bar,” Coldwell Drilling Co fleet manager, Brendan Coldwell said.

“It will know when the machine is starting to become bogged and will optimise how it drills, which will make sure you have a longer bit life.”

Brendan Coldwell said it was the autonomy and safety gains on the MD6310 that would provide the most benefit to operators.

“From a safety point of view, there are a lot more interlocks in the machine now that are there from factory where these were traditionally aftermarket in older models,” he said.

“Things like the operator presence system within the machine, this system will shut down the machine when a risk is identified, these interlocks are key to safety onsite for our team.”

The MD6310 also trumped the old models with its “smarts”, and according to Brendan Coldwell, plans were more easily implemented into the drill thanks to the autonomous technology.

Coldwell Drilling owner Gayle Coldwell said the decision had been led by the company’s loyalty to Caterpillar drills.

“This technology will help us continue to train drillers for the industry, provide safer workplaces for our operators and show savings through fuel burn, consumable life and reduced re-work,” she said.