On the road with RST Solutions

June 15, 2020

Fine Particle company Reynolds Soil Technologies (RST Solutions) has released polymer products designed for haul roads used by driverless trucks on 24-hour haulage cycles.

Dust can be a challenge for driverless trucks, with their systems sometimes perceiving it an an obstacle.

That can lead to the trucks stopping, which can lead to scheduling issues right through the mine.

The RST Solutions products include road stabilisers and dust control solutions for both above and underground mines that are designed to minimise haul road dust and keep the road in good condition for longer so the haul trucks can operate at optium levels.

RT20 Dynamic is a liquid soil compaction aid that can be watered onto the road by the same trucks driving in normal operations, which reduces the need for regular road maintenance.

A Guardian suite of polymer technology products that includes a road binder and dust binder, strengthens road surfaces for long-term resistance to the damaging effects of rain and heavy vehicle traffic.

The binders are versatile and cost effective and bring long-term results.

RST Solutions operations and technical director David Handel said when the company first started developing solutions for automated operations of unmanned trucks to address some of  the new challenges presented, compared to fully-manned operations.

“What was interesting to us in the early days during the trials was that the truck’s autonomous system perceived dust as a wall so it would stop and shut down the truck when it drove into dust from the vehicle in front,” he said.

“We saw the need for new technology aimed at controlling dust for longer periods of time on haul roads coping with extremely high volumes of heavy vehicle traffic.”

Handel said they focused on developing and modifying road stabilisers and dust binders with a simple spraying method, with compation carried out by autonomous trucks in operation.

He said long-term dust suppressants are not the total answer for managing autonomous haul road conditions, as the roads are unavailable at times due to traditional grading and maintenance practices.

“Unsealed haul roads must be kept in operational condition with ongoing dust mitigation as well as regular spillage removal and targeted maintenance to keep good running surfaces,” he said.

“Our research and development team found that haul roads, when treated with RT20 Dynamic road stabiliser, stayed in good condition for longer periods of time with reduced dust emissions, which enabled the smooth running of autonomous vehicles.”

Handel said RT20 Dynamic responds well to traditional grading practices and delivers haul road surfaces that hold their structural integrity for longer.

He said RST Solutions has sold about 300 tonnes of the Guardian Road Binder product since it hit the market 18 months ago.