Open Cut

Automated Bulk Dozer Push - Reducing the Cost of Overburden Removal

Open Cut » Overburden Removal

Published: October 17Project Number: C24037

Get ReportAuthor: Ross McAree, Richard Hensel, Zane Smith | The University of Queensland

Caterpillar Command for Dozing is a Semi-Autonomous Tractor System for D11T dozers that can perform bulk dozing. The first deployment of this technology was at Black Thunder Coal Mine in Wyoming where it was demonstrated to be capable of executing push-to-an-edge bulk dozing as part of a dragline strip mining project.


This report describes collaborative research undertaken by the University of Queensland and Caterpillar to extend Caterpillar Command for Dozing so that is capable of pivot-push dozing.


The report is framed against the context of the need to understand how to best choreograph the sequence of cuts, pushes, and dumps performed by an autonomous dozer for bulk move pivot push dozing so that the material moved by the is dozer is moved as efficiently as possible. Difference in opinion among operations about how best to pivot push exists and this report looks to shed some light on this question, accepting that in different circumstances different methods might be preferred.


The report describes the common variants of pivot push dozing in use in the Australian coal sector and presents a software framework developed to simulate pivot push dozing operation. This framework takes as its input a pit geometry determined by aerial survey, the characteristics of the material to be pushed, and the attributes of the bulldozer machinery. The framework simulates the movement of material under the action of a dozer and computes a push sequence for efficient material movement.


This simulation framework allows, among other things, an expected effective-time productivity trajectory for the push to be computed which gives the volumetric rate at which material is moved to prime. The simulation framework is validated using experimental data collected for a manual push operation. Computed productivities are shown to match well to actual productivities determined by volumetric measurements obtained by aerial survey.


The question of which pivot push method makes best use of the effective dozer time is explored through the simulation framework. The report gives comparative productivity results for three pivot push variants in current use across Australian mines. Results indicate the preferred method for pivot push dozing should be to tip-head till the void is levelled followed by either back-stacking or tip-heading the remaining material uphill. The report goes on to explore how well the semi-autonomous dozer technology performs. The metric used for evaluation is the effective time productivity (ETP): the cumulative volume of overburden moved to locations beyond the pivot-point as a function of time the bulldozer spends in effective operation. Predictions of expected ETP computed by the simulation framework provide a reference against which actual dozer productivity can be evaluated for a specific overburden profile and material properties. The report compares the measured ETP acheived by the semi-autonomous technology at the time of its initial deployment and then again after six months following further technical development. The initial productivity trial was undertaken at a time when operators were still in process of learning how to use the system. This initial trial showed the semi-autonomous technology achieved 85% of expected ETP. Reasons for the gap between expected and actual operation were identified and addressed. These included operator familiarity with the technology as well as technology improvements to address identified issues.


A second productivity trial conducted after improvement to the system showed the semi-autonomous technology has an ETP similar to that for manual operation.


The project has demonstrated that semi-autonomous pivot-push dozing in technically feasible and its productivity can match manual operation.


The significance of this work to the Australian coal industry is in supporting the realization of technology for semiautonomous pivot push operations and also in providing methods for evaluating the effectiveness of those operations.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C24019Field Trials Of Nitrogen Injection Into UIS Directional Boreholes To Enhance Gas Drainage In Low Permeable Seams

Pre-gas drainage is widely used as an effective method to control ga...

C24065In-Seam Wireless Drill String Project – Phase 2

This report presents the research for a wireless survey tool that pr...

C21013Improving Cavity Prediction On Longwall Faces Through A Combination Of Reliable Convergence, Canopy Attitude And Leg Pressure Monitoring

Most Australian coal mines have shield leg pressure monitoring in real t...


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C26027Using An Ecotoxicological Approach To Validate The DGT Technique For The Measurement Of Bioavailable Metal Concentrations

This project builds on the opportunity identified through Project C2...

C25039Prediction Of Long-Term Salt Generation From Coal Spoils

The release of salts from spoil piles has the potential to affect su...

C26028PDS Validation Framework

There is currently limited research available to prove the accuracy ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C26007 Revised Dustiness And DEM Test Method (Update Of AS4156.6) Part 2:Preparation

In 2015 project C23054 investigated and reviewed the Australian Stan...

C22033Advanced Control And Optimisation Of DMC Operation

The objective of this project was to develop, implement and demonstr...

C24045Adaptation Of Coal Grain Analysis To Improve Flotation Yield Estimation

Yield estimation from resource data is notoriously difficult. Facto...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C25045Stage Two - Assessment Of In Situ High-Temperature Strength Of Cokes

Stage I of this project established a reliable and repeatable proces...

C27003Review Of ACARP Research To Support Marketing Of Australian Thermal Coal

In this project, researchers pinpointed issues relating to the use o...

C25044Trace Elements In Coal; Status Of Test Methods In Use And Their Applicability


The key objectives of this stage...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement - Phase 3

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C19054VAM Enrichment With A Two-Stage Adsorption Process

Treatment of ventilation air methane (VAM) with cost-effective technolog...

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook