Cat focuses on increased efficiency, production and uptime with new electric rope shovel tech

Caterpillar has announced two new optional technology solutions – Integrated Technology Package and Operator Assist Technology Package – for the Cat® 7495 and 7495 HF Electric Rope Shovels.

The new packages eliminate the need for one-off technology customisation, offer faster technology installation and provide seamless integration of future technologies into machine operation, according to the company. They provide improved health and productivity data tracking that help to reduce the number of unplanned machine outages, creating a more predictable maintenance schedule while extending component life.

The Integrated Technology Package fully integrates Cat Electronics into the machine’s design and provides the foundation to support future technology expansion, Cat says. The new package features six standard technologies – ranging from health monitoring to cycle segmentation – to support improved uptime reliability, improved operator efficiency and enhanced cyber security. This upgrade also provides seamless integration of Cat® MineStar™ Solutions’ suite of operational technologies that help track, monitor and manage the shovel.

Building on the Integrated Technology Package, the Operator Assist Technology Package provides machine self-protection and control enhancements that simplify 7495 and 7495 HF operation, Cat claims. Without sacrificing productivity, this upgrade minimises machine self-collisions and safeguards against operator practices that cause damage. It allows less experienced operators to efficiently load trucks, while reducing the effort required to avoid poor digging practices that can impact machine availability and overall productivity.

The new Operator Assist Technology Package upgrade simplifies how the shovel is operated through machine self-protection, the company says. It automatically detects and avoids collisions between the dipper, crawler, boom bumper and cable management systems.

The technology’s LiDAR vision system scans the front of the shovel and algorithms integrate with operator commands to provide the least intrusive avoidance path. If a collision is unavoidable, the system will arrest machine motion to prevent or mitigate the collision. In summary, it reduces unplanned downtime, extends component life and improves total cost of ownership, Cat says.

The package features the second generation of Enhanced Motion Control, encompassing all the improvements of the first generation. It also offers a new feature to protect the rotating undercarriage by alerting the operator when the turning angle exceeds 20°, so corrective action can be taken.

Other features within the new Operator Assist Technology Package include:

  • Anti-swing in bank – prevents damaging side-loading forces on the dipper when the operator attempts to swing the dipper through the bank;
  • Hoist stall prevention – monitors forces and optimises crowd/retract commands to avoid stalling the dipper and prevent detrimental forces on the hoist gear-case;
  • Hoist rope slack prevention – automatically adjusts crowd and hoist references to maintain rope tension when slack is detected;
  • Boom jack minimisation – automatically adjusts hoist and crowd to maintain proper rope tension and improves cycle times;
  • Rope crowd impact prevention – measures the force on the crowd rope and automatically adjusts motor output to avoid shock loading; and
  • Rope crowd overspeed prevention – eliminates unnecessary wear on the crowd brake by providing more braking power to avert overspeed situations.

By providing the foundation for support technology expansion and integration, the Integrated Technology Package helps to provide more robust and reliable reporting, Cat says. New Cycle Segmentation establishes operating key performance indicators and identifies dwell time when idle. It divides cycle time data into digging, swinging to the truck, dumping and swinging to the bank segments. This allows miners to track machine performance across different shifts and operators.

With this introduction, legacy reporting technologies change to new Machine Health, Vibration Monitoring, Payload Management and Bearing Temperature Monitor technologies.

Machine Health delivers improved reporting capabilities and provides remote real-time machine monitoring.

Using sensors to capture data from the crowd, hoist, swing motors and gearboxes, Vibration Monitoring examines vibration signals for changes, allowing for proactive maintenance to reduce unplanned outage downtime.

Payload Management provides real-time feedback on material moved to avoid truck over/underloading, while Bearing Temperature Monitor keeps track of hoist, swing and crowd bearing temperatures and alerts the operator if figures rise beyond established thresholds.

The optional Integrated Technology Package will be available in standard and premium subscription levels, Cat says. Standard subscriptions include all package technologies and push notifications for software updates. Premium subscriptions include all standard features, plus vibration data analysis, monthly report generation from a Caterpillar engineer and in-person consultation to review the report’s findings and conclusions.

New Cat 7495 and 7495 HF shovel purchases can be optionally equipped with the Integrated Technology Package and Operator Assist Technology Package starting in 2023, while availability of these technology packages as field retrofit kits is scheduled for mid-2023.