Caterpillar’s commitment to the mining industry was obvious as it introduced an assortment of new products that included trucks, software and advanced technology to the industry, at a recent press conference. The new trucks were loaded with innovations as was the software, and other products.
Cat made it clear that the company was ready to deliver product to the industry as soon as there was a need. Until then the company was going to do all it could to help mining operators and contractors achieve their goals, survive and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves as the recovery gains momentum.
The company is moving rapidly forward with the new large mining trucks showcased at MINExpo, last year and representing the company’s largest investment ever in new mining technology. The Cat 793F and 797F mechanical drive trucks and the 795F AC electric drive truck are all achieving milestones.
A full-sized pickup looks like a toy next to the 793 D. This is a demonstration of an optional safety device that gives the operator a view of the blind spots around the hauler.
The 793F and the 797F have accumulated more than 75,000 hours of field-testing and have proven their performance capabilities and their durability. The new Cat C175 engine that powers them has racked up 130,000 hours of field testing in mining trucks and more than 120,000 hours in power systems applications. Because of the success of these field-follow programs, the 793F is targeted to go into full production within a few months and the 797F late this year.
Caterpillar engineers have been testing two 795F AC prototypes, including the truck shown at MINExpo, at the Tucson Proving Grounds. The development program has provided input for the construction of a new 795F AC in Decatur, Illinois. The new truck recently shipped to a copper mine in North America where it will serve as the first field-follow 795F AC as it works at the mine. The 345-ton-capacity (313-tonne-capacity) 795F AC will enter a new size class for Caterpillar, and, as a result, the primary focus of the Caterpillar AC electric program has been on the 795F AC. The commercial launch date will be defined as the field-follow program progresses.
“It’s fitting that soon after producing the 50,000th Cat off-highway truck, we are now shipping our first ultra-class AC electric drive truck to a mine,” said Chris Curfman, president of Caterpillar Global Mining. “Our new trucks further solidify our position as the one manufacturer to provide unparalleled options and unmatched customer support.”
Innovation drives new trucks
The new Cat trucks offer innovative designs for improved safety and performance. “All of the F-Series mining trucks incorporate innovative design and engineering that enables them to deliver lowest cost per ton,” said Ed McCord, mining truck product manager. “With the latest technology in AC electric drives now available, Caterpillar is able to offer both types of drive to the mining industry. We see the addition of electric mining trucks as a complement to our mechanical drive trucks.”
The most evident new component is the Cat C175 diesel engine, which is the power plant for each of the new trucks. The C175 meets US EPA Tier 2 emissions standards, yet it delivers 4,000 horsepower in the 20-cylnder version that powers the 400-ton capacity 797F.
The 16-cylinder C175 powers the 795F AC with 3,400 horsepower, and it powers the 793F, which has 250 tons capacity, with 2,650 horsepower. The C175 promises longer life between rebuilds, lower sound levels, improved altitude capability and improved fuel consumption compared to the 3500 Series engines it replaces.
As a brand new platform, the 795F AC incorporates new technologies throughout. For example, four-corner blended braking and retarding—using Cat oil immersed and cooled disc brakes as well as electrical retarding—enhances safety and operator confidence. The remote-mounted generator enables servicing without removing other major components, and the wheel motors mounted inside the axle enable easy and separate servicing of the final drives. The retarding grids are radial, which promotes more uniform airflow for better reliability. And the Cat proprietary drive system is fully integrated and fully supported by Caterpillar.
Caterpillar believes that mechanical drive mining trucks will satisfy the needs of the vast majority of mining operations. But as the only manufacturer of 200-ton and larger mining trucks with both mechanical drive and electric drive systems, Caterpillar will soon be able to offer trucks that address all mining company preferences.
Truck demonstrations and walk around inspection
An important part of any press conference is the demonstration and walk around phases. Attendees get to see the equipment in use. Although the environment may be controlled, it is for safety purposes. In addition to the new trucks, Cat demonstrated its new wireless remote controlled D 10 T.
I had an opportunity to test the remote control unit and actually operate the machine from up in the stands. An editor from one of the other magazines captured this on video and posted it on YouTube. We owe a thank you to Construction Equipment for having captured and posted this activity.
All the products introduced at this event will be reviewed on Site-K Construction Zone over the next several days, as we work our way through the products introduced at ICUEE. Meanwhile, I have incorporated some shots from the demonstration and walk around.