Rio Completes Deployment of World’s Biggest Robot and ‘Factory’


Iron ore miner Rio Tinto has completed the deployment phase of its $900 million Pilbara AutoHaul automated heavy-haul, long distance rail network.

After a build up from running its first autonomous train in July, the company hasannouncedthe system is now fully operational. The company operates more than 34 autonomous train services a day in the Pilbara, monitored and controlled remotely from its Perth operations centre, 1,500 kilometres distant.

Each train has been described as a giant robot, but in fact they are more akin to a Toyota car assembly plant – a typical modern factory. The autonomous train, consisting of three locomotives and carrying around 28,000 tonnes of iron ore, are the latest element of Rio’s vision of its WA iron ore operations as a single, connected, series of automated processes.

Individual processes such as mine bore hole drilling, explosives filling, in-mine haulage and ship-loading have long been automated and controlled as a single sequence of steps from Perth.

Read more in article…