The Opti-Trak system, a system for automating today's LHDs and trucks

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 87, No. 984, 1994

D.G. Brophey and D.W. Euler, Mintronics System Corporation, North Bay, Ontario

In an attempt to address the issue of rising labour costs, and to improve productivity, a laser-based system to guide underground LHDs and trucks has been developed. This comprehensive system is known as the Opti-Trak system. Essentially, the vehicle is equipped with front and rear-mounted lasers which scan a reference strip mounted on the drift back. The vehicle follows this reference strip and in addition, based on reflective bar codes mounted beside the reference strip, initiates certain functions (i.e. dump cycle, speed change, brake check, etc.). Any programming that is drift-specific is handled by the positioning of the reference strips and bar codes. Consequently, the vehicle can easily travel to many different haulageways or branches, providing the reference strip and bar codes are in place. The advantages of this system are an immediate elimination of haulage operator costs and an increase in available hauling time to 7 hours out of an 8-hour shift as compared to the typical 5Y2 out of 8 hours that a manned haulage system offers. This paper describes the Opti-Trak system and the benefits to be realized from automation of mine haulage requirements.
Keywords: Automation, Guidance systems, LHD operations, Remote mining technology, Research and development, Robotics.