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Remote crusher control improves site safety

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
2009 May June
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Keestrack remote operating system
Keestrack's system allows for remote operation of crushing equiptment
Inspiration for a remote control system for crusher operation came to Keestrack president Kees Hoogendoorn when he worked as an excavator operator as a student. Technology took a few years to catch up, but the company has now unveiled its GPS-based system, which has won a silver award in the services category of the Intermat Innovations Award. "When I was working with the machines I realised there was a real need to have an emergency cut-off for the crusher available from the cab of the loading machine," said Hoogendoorn. "If a hydraulic hose blows, there can be a big oil spillage by the time the driver gets out of his cab and reaches the machine. With the new system, not only can the operator quickly stop the machine, it also has warning alarms if a loss of oil pressure is detected." The remote control system allows the loader machine operator to drive and

monitor the crusher or screener from his cab. The operation of the machine can also be monitored via GPRS from the office.

According to Keestrack, the system contributes to higher productivity because, through use of presettings, it ensures the machines will automatically start in the correct positions. The company also said that the visualisation of the process by remote wireless technology allows for better checking of onsite processes and quick resolution of problems.

"In essence, it makes the operation on site both safer and more efficient," said Hoogendoorn.

Hoogendoorn started the Keestrack business 25 years ago as a crushing and screening machine hire company and traded as a Finlay dealer. But Keestrack then moved into developing its own machines in the mid 1990s when it recognised the need for recycling specific options.

It was Hoogendoorn's activities in the rental market that have helped to develop the controller's GPS machine tracking capabilities. "The GPS allows us to keep track of where our rental fleets are operating and also adds the benefit of tracking if the machine should be stolen," he said.

Other benefits of the system enable the maintenance engineers to access machine information in the event of a breakdown before reaching site and can then ensure they have the right spares available to minimise downtime.

The next stage of the development will allow a train of machines to be connected together so they can communicate and be operated from one controller. "We hope to bring this to market in the next six months to a year," said Hoogendoorn.

"The development will enable the crusher to be automatically stopped as soon as there is a problem with the screen. This prevents the hopper on the screen being overfilled and will also minimise downtime." The company claims that maintenance intervals can also be based on actual usage of the equipment by monitoring data collected by the system.

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