Safety: Remote Control Wheel Loader System
Safety implementation to protect the safety of wheel loader operators working under extremely dangerous and hazardous conditions
Sandton Plant Hire approached Babcock regards working with them towards a solution to protect the safety of wheel loader operators working under extremely dangerous and hazardous conditions at a chrome smelter in Steelpoort. In this environment machines and operators are exposed to steam and temperatures exceeding 1000°C.
The idea was for a remote-control system to operate the wheel loader. This bespoke system allows an operator to fully operate the machine from a safe position, in that way eliminating the risk of severe injury.
As this solution is not a standard feature on the machines it required intense study and understanding. I spent hours researching and finally found a similar solution that had been implemented in Germany. I initiated a trip to Germany with the customer, Volvo Construction Equipment and Glencore Mining – the end user.
The trip was a great success - the customer was impressed with the safety features and ease of use of the joystick and immediately placed an order to develop and install the system on three of the Volvo wheel loaders that work in the smelter.
This remote-control solution is the first of its kind in Southern Africa. Glencore Mine is so impressed that they are thinking of moving all their machines to a remote-control system to improve safety on the mine.