Platform features optimize productivity, reduce costs

By |  January 11, 2017

Mining operations, including many aggregate sites, use platforms such at Caterpillar Inc.’s MineStar to optimize production efficiency, enhance safety and reduce cost per ton. The company recently announced an upgrade to MineStar Terrain, one of the capability sets that makes up the company’s integrated mine operations and mobile equipment management system.

Terrain combines GNSS guidance technologies that help operators work efficiently and accurately with integrated office software that enables remote monitoring and fact-based decision-making. All Terrain products (for grading, drilling and loading) have been upgraded.

Terrain for drilling directs the execution of drill patterns and enables remote monitoring of drilling activities. With this upgrade, multiple drills on the same pattern can share the status of each hole drilled in real time. This gives drill operators and office staff a common, accurate view of progress against the plan at all times, reducing inefficiencies and redundancies.

Another new feature is a training simulator for drill operators that runs on a personal computer. Whether the operator is learning new skills or improving existing ones, off-board training can be delivered safely, efficiently and economically, according to the company. Two more new features expand the versatility of Terrain for drilling: the system can now be used on Atlas Copco D65 drills and on excavators that drill drainage holes in leach pad applications.


Terrain for loading assists operators with movement and placement of material, improving efficiency and accuracy. Terrain for loading continues to be available with full functionality for any brand of equipment; however, this update integrates more deeply with the Cat 7495 Electric Rope Shovel. The 7495 system now indicates precise dipper-tip positioning and dipper payload in real time. Caterpillar says continuous display of dipper position provides more precise material identification.

Other improvements include a fully integrated Proximity Awareness feature that alerts the operator when a machine either approaches an avoidance zone or is approached by another unit that has breached specified boundaries.

Proximity information is displayed on the same screen as grading and loading information, simplifying the user experience. For shovels and excavators, an upgraded Linkage Avoidance Zone feature offers alarm accuracy.


Photo courtesy of Caterpillar

Terrain for grading is designed to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of grading in applications ranging from production dozing to reclamation. With this update, the D10T2 and D11T dozers can be ordered with factory-installed blade-control capabilities integrated into the machine control system.

Automating blade movement helps all operators – from the inexperienced to the highly skilled – move material faster and more accurately with less fuel and rework.

The newest version of Terrain for grading also includes a feature that tracks machine status (working or inactive), notes when a unit is inactive and prompts the operator to select a delay code, explaining the inactivity. Information is provided to mine management in a visual timeline report that can be used to assess and improve utilization.

Fleet integration

Customers using Terrain as part of a fully integrated fleet management system will benefit from a new feature for large wheel loader applications that combines fully automatic ore control with improved production tracking capabilities.

Whether working in-pit, at the stockpile or at the ROM pad, loader operators automatically receive 3-D grade block data from the mine plan, eliminating manual updates from the office and reducing the risk of human error.

The system facilitates blending at the ROM pad as automatic material tracking capabilities enhance efficiency and accuracy. The system also automatically tracks material dumped to the crusher or loaded into trucks.

Information for this article courtesy of Caterpillar Inc.

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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