RCT has successfully delivered a custom Teleremote project to the civil contracting sector in the US.
The milestone RCT Custom project was for Western Contracting Corporation’s work at Fort Wingate Depot Activity – a former army munitions facility near Gallup, New Mexico. The project required the excavation and off-site disposal of buried unexploded ordnance.
The Iowa-based construction firm subcontracted with AECOM Technical Services for its multi-year contract with the Army Corps of Engineers. Western Contracting provided the project with remote controlled equipment to mitigate the unacceptable risk of operator injury or death by an unintended explosion during excavation activities. Four Caterpillar machines – two 9630 track loaders and two 336E track excavators – were procured for Teleremote operation.
RCT’s USA Service Manager Thomas Laverty carried out the Teleremote installation, said the project was unique for a few reasons.
“Not only was it RCT’s first project in the civil contracting sector in the US; it was also the first time we have installed the ControlMaster® Teleremote solutions on these particular model machines,” said Mr Laverty.
“As a result, RCT’s specialised Custom department’s unique capabilities were required to design and manufacture bespoke kits to suit the machines.”
“While the hardware and componentry were a fairly standard off-the-shelf-product, the Custom team had to adapt the equipment utilising specially made brackets, wiring harnesses and software.”
As a result, the operators are now able to control the machines from the comfort of a specially built concrete and steel Automation Centre, equipped with three Teleremote stations. Each station consists of an operator chair, a joystick and two large monitors that provide vision from five strategically placed cameras on the each machine; giving operators an extensive view of the working area.
In addition to the standard Teleremote, RCT’s solution included the Multiple Machine Control (MMC) function. This feature allows each chair to remotely control any of the four machines at any given time, with a simple push of a button.
“MMC technology increases flexibility and productivity on site,” Mr Laverty added.
As well as significantly improving safety, the Teleremote solution has also improved the operators overall working environment.
“The operator is no longer exposed to the elements such as vibration, noise and heat to significantly reduce fatigue and helps to increase productivity,” said Mr Laverty.
Western Contracting’s Superintendent Tim Goslin said the Teleremote technology has been well received by his operators and is clearly the right solution for the project.
“With no prior remote control experience, my operators embraced the opportunity; quickly adapting to the new technology and the transition to remote control was surprisingly quicker than anticipated. This technology allows us to operate safely in a controlled environment outside of harm’s way,” said Mr Goslin.
“Also, the MMC feature has proven to be invaluable. During operations our production is not sacrificed if a machine needs to go offline because we have a standby machine available at the push of a button.”
The hardware and componentry for this project were all designed and manufactured in Perth, Australia before being dispatched to RCT’s Salt Lake City office, where RCT technicians installed the solutions on new machines at Ziegler Caterpillar in Sioux City, Iowa.