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Integrated cable manipulator

Escondida’s project has reduced risks associated with handling of cables and plugs used in the management of a large fleet of electric rope shovels and production drills.

On a typical day, workers handle cables and plugs several times per shift whenever a piece of the electric fleet is moved, or when cables are relocated to allow for changes to the mine road network. While a cable manipulator (a front end loader with a cable reel attached) is used for most of the heavy lifting, the Cables team is still exposed to manual handling activities, interactions with other mobile equipment, working at height, noise, dust and UV exposure.

To eliminate exposure to these risks, the team developed the Integrated Cable Manipulator (ICM), which incorporates a telescopic arm, modifications to the cable reel, an insulating claw and cameras. Introduced in June 2015, the first ICM successfully eliminated operator exposure to the identified risks by mechanising the vast majority of manual tasks. This has also led to a substantial improvement in the team’s productivity.

The remainder of the manipulator fleet is in the process of being modified, with the Cables team planning to only operate ICMs by the end of FY2016.