Posted by Daniel Gleeson on Oct 22nd, 2021

Caterpillar has added two new features to its cloud-based MineStar ™ Edge platform – MineStar Guide and Surface Management.

The additions, which are accessed along with device tracking and production record data from the same office computer or tablet in the field, further expand the Cat® MineStar Solutions technology suite.

Edge, Cat says, provides the latest technological advances to measure, manage, and optimize mining operations. Using data fusion, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, it continues to grow as it collects data, recognizes patterns, and learns to make decisions.

Guide, available in early 2022, serves as a new platform for high-precision on-board, while Surface Management is an extended office platform for Guide that is currently under development.

With the advanced capabilities of the Edge platform and the most advanced GNSS technology, MineStar Guide offers the next-generation high-precision system for leveling and loading operations in accordance with Cat. Real-time feedback improves operator efficiency and increases machine production.

With a new user interface in the machine cabin, Guide offers intuitive operation that makes it easier to train new operators. Its built-in dual receiver system provides improved machine heading and data to increase grading and loading efficiency.

With the improved 3D slope control and construction visualization, Guide offers high-precision block and material identification that is automatically made available to the operator and the company. Type, block and material designs are also automatically sent to the machine depending on the location in order to ensure adherence to planning, increase productivity and reduce rework.

Guide provides “skiteless” ore inspection and regular elevation updates, reducing the need for on-site surveyors to improve safety.

MineStar Edge sends operator and production performance metrics to the machine so operators can stay on schedule.

At the most recent MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, guide demonstration units were installed on the Cat 992 wheel loader, Cat 6060 hydraulic bucket cab and Cat 24 motor grader displays, as well as in the technology area.

3D planning with MineStar Surface Management

The new MineStar Surface Management, accessible via the built-in MineStar Edge platform, provides the field planning and material information created in the office, says Cat. The next generation sorting and loading platform uses data provided by machines equipped with Guide to precisely execute planned and actual production.

With the new Edge platform, Surface Management enables reports to be displayed on office computers or in the field on laptops and mobile devices. The 3D visualization of virtual and augmented reality greatly improves the display of project progress, says Cat. The mobile platform gives users the ability to zoom and rotate specific areas of the website for a more detailed view.

“As a powerful materials management tool, Surface Management automatically generates fused digital models from multiple data sources to improve accuracy,” the company said. “It tracks transport routes, landfills, loading areas and other truck destinations.”

Users can review drafts, running blocks, and as-built areas. The reporting functions include advancing the timeline and comparing with swiping to the previous or future, as well as calculating the volume. Surface Management increases program flexibility and gives customers the freedom to use the reporting method in accordance with Cat.

According to Cat, dozens of mine sites rely on Edge’s equipment tracking and production record capabilities with fleet installations from fewer than five to more than 80 machines.