Caterpillar busy with Pilbara automation retrofit on Komatsu 930E haul trucks

Caterpillar says it is putting its commitment to retrofit solutions and mixed-fleet interoperability into practice by installing Cat® MineStar™ Command for hauling technology on Komatsu 930E mining trucks in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The first commercial installation of the automation retrofit package will be completed before the end of the year, the company said, with 24 of the retrofitted, 290 t capacity 930E trucks working autonomously alongside the mine’s fleet of autonomous Cat trucks.

Craig Watkins, MineStar Solutions Manager, said: “Our interoperability initiative is driven by mining companies’ goals of making best use of their existing fleets.

“The Cat system makes it possible to operate different brands and sizes of trucks as well as manned trucks and autonomous trucks in the same space. Dynamic truck assignment optimises productivity. Our system also offers the flexibility to scale up fleet size to meet the mine’s needs.”

MineStar Command for hauling also allows trucks, no matter the payload or manufacturer, to operate at their full capabilities.

“The productivity gains attributed to Command for hauling are proven and growing,” the company said. For example, Caterpillar customer Fortescue Metals Group has measured a 30% improvement in productivity from its fleet of 70 Command-equipped trucks working at its Solomon Hub iron ore mines, also in the Pilbara, according to Cat.

In addition to the commercial launch of the 930E system, the first trial of autonomous Cat 797F mining trucks is underway at a mine in North America, Caterpillar said.

With nominal capacity of 363 t, the 797F is Caterpillar’s largest truck. It will join the 227 t capacity Cat 793F CMD, already operating in the Canadian oil sands, South America and Australia, in the autonomous truck line up.