Canadian Mining Journal

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Hard-Line enhances underground capabilities at Norcat test site



TeleOp station at the Norcat underground centre. Credit: Hard-Line

Global technology company Hard-Line is evolving remote-control systems at Norcat’s facility, opened earlier this year, at the former Fecunis mine site in Onaping, Ont., where companies can test and develop mining products.

Hard-Line specializes in remote and tele-remote-control solutions, and uses drift space at Norcat’s underground site. Inside Hard-Line’s new office is a TeleOp control station that allows tele-remote operation of heavy machinery and an underground LHD (load haul dump loader) at the test site. 

“This new space is a welcomed addition to an already impressive site,” Hard-Line’s senior VP of technology, Ryan Siggelkow, said in a release. “The bigger space will allow for more people to meet in our office and ultimately let us test products in a more efficient manner, including new tech like our TeleOp Assist.”

The Assist system is new to market and adds intelligent steering assistance and collision detection to the TeleOp base system to keep LHDs off walls. It also increases tramming speeds, and no pre-scan of the drift is required.  

Jim Doyle, Hard-Line’s supervisor of technology implementation, is often at the new facility and underground site testing different types of mining equipment. Doyle credits the Norcat partnership in advancing Hard-Line’s technology. 

“Our relationship with Norcat is really beneficial. We’ve seen growth and improvements in our products over the years because of it.”

The partnership dates back to 2012 when Hard-Line helped formulate the underground centre’s strategy and customer value proposition.

“We are excited to build on our existing relationship and support Hard-Line as they expand into our new surface facilities at the Norcat Underground Centre,” added Norcat CEO Don Duval. “With Hard-Line’s TeleOp control station, we have seen operators given the ability to control underground heavy machinery from the safety of an office at the Underground Centre.  This technology is not only enhancing productivity and safety but also it is transforming the definition of work in the global mining industry.”

Hard-Line has 25 years of experience specializing in remote and tele-remote-control solutions for heavy machinery. The Dowling, Ont., headquartered-company has a technology centre in Sudbury and offices in Chile, Peru, and the United States along with a worldwide distribution network.

The Norcat innovation centre has an operating mine designed to enable start-ups, small to medium enterprises, and international companies to develop, test, and showcase technologies in an operating mine environment.

For more information, visit www.Norcat.org or www.HARD-LINE.com.


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