Tag Archives: Caterpillar

Cat to bolster MineStar Edge platform with Guide and Surface Management additions

Caterpillar has added two new capabilities to its cloud-based MineStar™ Edge platform – MineStar Guide and Surface Management.

Accessed alongside Equipment Tracking and Production Recording data from the same office computer or tablet in the field, the additions further augment the Cat® MineStar Solutions suite of technologies.

Edge, Cat says, features the latest technology advancements to measure, manage and optimise mining operations. Using data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence, it continues to grow as it collects data, identifies patterns and learns to make decisions.

Guide, available in early 2022, serves as a new platform for high-precision on-board, while Surface Management is an enhanced office platform for Guide, which is currently in development.

Using the advanced capabilities of the Edge platform and the most advanced GNSS technology, MineStar Guide provides the next generation high-precision system for grading and loading operations, according to Cat. Real-time feedback improves operator efficiency and increases machine production.

Featuring a new user interface inside the machine’s cab, Guide offers intuitive operation, which makes it easier to train new operators. Its on-board, dual-receiver system offers improved machine heading and data to increase grading and loading efficiency.

Working through enhanced 3D grade control and design visualisation, Guide provides high-precision block and material identification that is automatically provided to the operator and operations. Grade, block and material designs are also automatically sent to the machine, based on location, to ensure compliance to plan, increase productivity and reduced rework.

Guide offers “stakeless” ore control and regular elevation updates, reducing the need for surveyors in the field to improve safety, Cat says, with the company claiming the enhanced level of automatic blade control provided by Guide will help reduce operator fatigue when grading to design.

Operator and production key performance indicators are sent to the machine through MineStar Edge, empowering operators to stay on schedule.

Guide demonstration units were installed on the Cat 992 wheel loader, Cat 6060 hydraulic mining shovel cab and Cat 24 motor grader displays, as well as inside the technology area, at the recent MINExpo 2021 event in Las Vegas.

3D planning with MineStar Surface Management

Accessed through the integrated MineStar Edge platform, new MineStar Surface Management delivers to the field planning and material information created in the office, Cat says. The next-generation grading and loading platform leverages data provided by Guide-equipped machines for precise execution of planned versus actual production.

With the new Edge platform, Surface Management allows reports to be viewed on office computers or in the field on laptops and mobile devices. Its 3D visualisation of virtual and augmented reality substantially improves project progress viewing, Cat says. The mobile platform gives users the ability to zoom and rotate on particular areas of the site for a more detailed view.

“A powerful material management tool, Surface Management automatically generates fused digital modelling from multiple data sources for improved accuracy,” the company said. “It tracks haul roads, dumps, loading areas and other truck destinations.”

Users can review designs, blocks in progress and as-built areas. Reporting capabilities include timeline advance and comparison with swipe to previous or future and volume calculation. Increasing program flexibility, Surface Management gives customers the freedom to choose the reporting method, according to Cat.

Cat says dozens of mine sites rely on Edge’s Equipment Tracking and Production Recording capabilities with fleet installations ranging from fewer than five to more than 80 machines.

RCT Line of Sight solution lowers operational risk at OceanaGold’s Macraes mine

RCT’s ControlMaster® Line of Sight dozer solution has another customer reference to hand, following a recent deployment at OceanaGold’s Macraes operation in New Zealand.

The operation installed and commissioned a RCT solution to its Cat D10T2 dozer, allowing the machine to be remotely operated in higher-risk areas of the open-pit operations, OceanaGold said.

RCT confirmed the project included its Line of Sight solution, which forms part of its ControlMaster automation and control product range.

“We have quite an extensive history working on dozers, including Cat D10Ts, so the installation went smoothly thanks to the collaboration of RCT’s Customer Service team and OceanaGold​’s site team,” a spokesperson told IM. “Our international technicians provided site personnel with remote support during the installation and commissioning process.”

Over 49 years in business, RCT says it has successfully provided more dozer control solutions than any other company in the world.

The Macraes operation on the South Island of New Zealand is the country’s largest active gold producing mine, having produced over 5 Moz of gold since 1990, OceanaGold said. The operation consists of an open-pit mine, an underground mine, and an adjacent process plant inclusive of an autoclave for pressure oxidation of the ore. The operation produced 144,487 oz gold in 2020.

Cat previews productivity-boosting D10 dozer at MINExpo 2021

Caterpillar previewed the new Cat® D10 dozer at this week’s MINExpo 2021, in Las Vegas, this week, with the machine set to offer more productivity with less fuel consumption and maintenance, Cat says.

The Cat D10 series dozers have a well-earned reputation in the industry, with the new machine continuing this tradition, being designed to do more with less. Improvements to the drivetrain, hydraulic and cooling systems reduce fuel consumption by up to 4% while increasing productivity by up to 3%. Greater component durability, service improvements and technology integration deliver a reduction in overall owning costs, according to the company.

The dozer’s optimised drivetrain features an updated Cat C27 engine paired with a new stator clutch torque divider. Extended oil changes and integrated fuel lines increase the time between service intervals and enhancing reliability of the C27 engine. Different after-treatment solutions are available to meet the needs of the global market, including configurations to meet US EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage V regulations as well as emissions equivalent to US EPA Tier 2.

Boosting productivity in downhill dozing applications, the new D10 comes standard with high-horsepower reverse, which offers up to 20% more power in reverse gears. Load-sensing hydraulics provide oil flow only on command, reducing parasitic draw to increase available power to the ground. Paired with a single-plane cooling system, these improvements increase operating efficiencies by up to 6%, Cat says.

Boasting an updated electronic architecture, the new D10 features a new operator cabin, infused with proven technologies. Operator efficiency and comfort are improved with a new 254 mm touch screen display offering intuitive machine operation, upgraded seat offerings, available 360° vision and improved visibility.

Future-ready, the electronic infrastructure provides seamless integration of proven Cat technologies like MineStar™ Command for dozing, which removes the operator from the cab through line-of-site or non-line-of-site remote control, Cat says. Technology updates to optional automated features such as AutoCarry™ and AutoRip improve efficiency and ease of use, reducing operator fatigue, increasing productivity and minimising machine wear by limiting track slippage.

New to the D10, Remote Flash ensures the machine operates with the most current version of on-board software, so the dozer consistently delivers high performance, maximum efficiency and minimum downtime. The service enables remote updates to the software at a time convenient to the mining operation, without interrupting the production cycle and reducing service time on the machine.

With its modular design and elevated sprocket drive, the D10 series is renowned for industry-leading serviceability and low maintenance costs, according to Cat. Further reducing downtime, the new D10 design features extended oil change intervals enabled by a larger engine oil sump. Its new, easy-access radiator door and single-plane cooling system reduces overall heat load and promotes easier cleaning. New push arm bearing inserts improve reliability and reduce overall rebuild time.

Multiple visibility offerings provide customers with different solutions to achieve their desired line-of-sight to the front, rear and around the dozer. Further enhancing operating visibility, an available four-camera system delivers a 360° view around the D10 and includes a ripper camera. Improvements to the powered access ladder with lockout protection elevate operator safety when entering and exiting the cab.

Availability of the new Cat D10 dozer is scheduled for mid-2022, Cat says.

Caterpillar launches new Connected Worker system for extra layer of mine site safety

Expanding the Cat® MineStar™ Detect portfolio, Caterpillar has launched Connected Worker, a Guardhat™ developed safety and productivity solution for surface mining operations, at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas.

The Connected Worker system combines smart wearable technology with the power of analytics to deliver an added layer of protection against a variety of safety risks at the site.

Scalable to accommodate both small and large operations, Connected Worker improves safety by alerting all connected workers of hazardous situations in real-time, delivering up to a 50% reduction in lost-time reportable incidents, according to Cat. The system’s ability to track worker location plus enhanced communications through audio, video and image transmission also help to increase mine site productivity. A range of safety, productivity and benchmarking reports, customisable to fit the site’s needs, boosts operational efficiency, Cat says.

The worker safety system consists of three major components: the wearable hardware; software that captures and reports data; and the Internet of Things (IoT) platform that receives reports from the field and pushes out potential safety risks to workers.

Creating a safer working environment, Connected Worker helps to detect and report hazardous areas at the mine, unsafe exposure to environmental elements and communicates alerts to affected workers. The system communicates evacuation orders, fall detections, SOS signals and geofence violations, the company added.

There are three wearable options available to communicate with workers. An alternative to PPE, the HC1 Hardhat delivers real-time positions through an embedded global navigation satellite systems chip. With the use of Ultra-Wideband at the site, the hardhat wearable increases situational awareness indoors by offering 3D-tracking – longitude, latitude and elevation – helping to quickly locate a worker in an emergency. The hardhat features video and audio call, push-to-talk, and offline geofence and recording capabilities.

The TA1 wearable tag delivers tracking GNSS and Bluetooth tracking outdoors. It provides SOS, evacuation and social distancing alerts as well as notifies workers of geofence breaches. Workers can capture images and videos to report hazards, which are automatically shared with the safety control centre, so teams can quickly develop geofences around the hazard to boost worker safety.

A companion hardware for hybrid deployment, the smartphone app for Android™ devices offers a solution for managing and monitoring team members in an outdoor environment. The app allows field managers to communicate with workers, issue SOS alerts and can be used to capture images and video of hazardous areas for reporting.

Offering a deeper level of communication and reporting than other systems, Connected Worker creates a safety ecosystem at the mine site, where actionable data is captured and stored for analysis, Cat says. The SCC allows managers to view worker location and data in near real time to quickly communicate unsafe situations to workers in the field. All data is captured and stored on a local server or in the cloud, depending on the mine’s preferences.

A broad range of customisable reports allows mines to review, analyse and predict hazardous situations to prevent future safety incidents. Among the system-generated reports are: overview reports of selected events; zonal reports of violations and emergency evacuations; location reports with heat signatures designating highly travelled areas at the mines; and sensor reading reports that include temperature, noise, humidity and pressure of the working environment.

Connected worker will be commercially available in the March quarter of 2022.

Mining’s glide path to zero emissions

As MINExpo 2021 opened, Paul Moore sat down with Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President, and Brian Weller, Chief Engineer and General Manager, Resource Industries Electrification, talking everything from helping customers hit carbon reduction targets to the challenges and opportunities of combining battery haulage with autonomy 

Has the speed at which mining companies are looking to cut their Scope 1 emissions, with significant fixed reduction targets by 2030, taken Caterpillar by surprise?  

DJ: We have been talking for a number of years to the mining companies about zero emissions targets over the longer term but with no hard dates established at the time we started talking. There have been several related initiatives since then – notably the ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV), that has involved the major OEMs including ourselves as well as a number of the major mining companies. These initiatives have looked at GHG reduction but also areas like collision avoidance and DPM reduction underground. But the crystallisation of fixed dates you mention from the major mining houses over the last 12-18 months created much more of a roadmap to which we had to put hard development targets on – and also I think accelerated our roadmap. It gave us more clarity on the path forward and when you make commitments to investors as these companies have, they have to deliver on those reductions. Then you start to break down what pieces make up that reduction – and its not just mobile equipment – but certainly for most large mining sites, the big trucks are a meaningful portion, particularly when just looking at Scope 1 emissions. Then you start to focus in on what is it that needs to change first and you can prioritise the development process.

Your recent agreement with BHP focuses on battery truck development – are you still taking an agnostic future powertrain approach? And the statement said they will have early access to Cat zero emissions equipment – can you expand on what that means? 

BW: When you’re evaluating new machines and technology platforms, you have to understand your site energy source. We have done enough analysis that has shown that the solution is highly dependent on the individual project and site in terms of the machines being used and the application. There are project examples where running a hydrogen fuel cell powered fleet represents the best value in terms of competitive TCO. But I could take the same truck for a different application in a different part of the world, and this is no longer the case. So the solution you will see will have different energy sources depending on the product and where it is going to go. There are examples where fuel cells will be a higher cost to run than battery electric and vice versa.

DJ: Infrastructure is the big variable. A particular project may be in a part of the world that does not have access to renewable energy or even access to a grid. They may have a different energy profile for the minesite itself that lends itself to a particular mobile fleet power source. Plus the cost of energy changes from region to region.

BW: On power agnostic if you mean that we are open to a number of future power solutions – battery and hydrogen being two, but also others – then yes we are open to multiple options depending on what the customer needs. The customers are on what I like to call a glide path. They have a stack of carbon generating sources – everything from forklifts in the maintenance shop to the conveyors and the trucks. Every single minesite has to look at where carbon is being produced and then decide over time when to replace it and with what technology. That recipe is very unique to that site, location, asset base and life of mine.

DJ: There are also examples where customers are using bio fuels today to get them part of the way to their interim carbon reduction goals.

BW: On the early technology access point, with emissions reduction, we like to refer to four parts – people, process, infrastructure and technology. The infrastructure part is so significant in terms of the learnings that have to happen within a minesite, it is almost as large as those for us on the truck development side whether you are talking about safety protocols, how you will charge, how you will deal with energy swings. So given this, it makes sense for mining companies to have access to early machines so that they can begin making that journey.

DJ: With the exception of a few early pilot units, we traditionally would wait until we are in factory production before putting iron on a customer site. This is going to be a little different – because of the significance of the infrastructure issue. But autonomy also required major change management and learnings which was achieved – and this will be the same. Doing this together with the mining customers allows us both to learn together and to learn faster.

Can Stage V engines, trolley assist, dual fuel and other approaches give customers the medium term emissions cuts they are looking for before we get to all battery trucks for example? 

BW: It goes back to the customer glide path and the right recipe for carbon reduction that is very site specific. One customer may have an application where they can put trolley in effectively, another may not – it is very site specific. The same applies to biofuels and LNG. This is why you are seeing so much variation in how mines are proceeding because the solution is often so unique to a project and site. And saying that one technology will get the whole industry there is unrealistic. It is more a series of steps that will be taken. Look at electric shovels – most diesel hydraulic shovels today have a tethered electric option. And more customers are now looking to use that. I would say the technologies you mention are not just an interim step – they are part of the zero engine emissions pathway. On Stage V engines, it is important to clarify these are mainly reducing things like NOx and PM – whereas something like battery or trolley is very focused on carbon reduction.

How do we make things like battery charging compatible with autonomous mining?  

DJ: Actually this is one of the really exciting parts of showing what technology can do. Think about a traditional truck with a driver – they will look at how much diesel fuel they have and generally, a tank is enough for three shifts or 24 hours. As you move to electric – you need to charge those trucks much more frequently. You are in a position where, depending on where you are on the minesite, you may not get back to a charging station and the truck will get stuck. The layer of technology to know where you are in your battery level as well as where you are in the haul cycle is critical.  Technology is the key to optimise battery performance, battery life, and production. And we have conversations every day with mining customers on these sorts of issues. Autonomy is going to be a part of the future for almost all major mines as well as many of the smaller ones, so it will go hand in hand with electrification.

You have gone with a mobile charger strategy with underground equipment – are you also looking to mobile options for surface mining? 

BW: Absolutely – because the face of the mine is constantly moving, so you will have to move the chargers at some point. Some mines may also look to battery charging via trolley. There are a number of methods including static or dynamic charging. With trolley charging of a battery, you are using it either to displace the energy running through the battery or for charging the battery. It is just a question of how am I getting energy on board and if there is an opportunistic way to do it, then mines will do it. But remember, with trolley you still have to put that infrastructure in with substations and cabling. The mobile chargers will be the same and fast charging to keep these trucks running will require significant energy so substations will be needed here too. Think about the cabling and substations that work today with large rope shovels which have to be moved – this will happen with truck chargers too.

Will robotic charging also make sense in terms of autonomy extension? 

BW: You want the charging to be safe, fast and efficient. If a robotic arm or other similar system can be made to work efficiently then of course it would be preferred – in the same way some mines are already running robotic diesel fuelling today.

Does Caterpillar have a prototype all battery truck or FCEV truck running today at your test facility?   

DJ: Talking underground – we have battery electric R1700 XE units running right now at customer sites. On large mining trucks, we have significant development work underway and will have customers to the Tucson Proving Ground next year to see our integrated solutions in person, including prototype large mining trucks.

BW: Caterpillar’s design philosophy is to do a lot of analysis and simulation first. Then we do the component level. Actually, putting the truck together isn’t the hardest part. We are spending very significant time on software, components and systems.

Do you see a period during which “new power” trucks will have to coexist with conventional trucks as new technology is phased in?  

DJ: Aside from some greenfield projects there will be a phased introduction where mines have large existing fleets. So yes, the new power trucks will coexist for some time at many mines with conventional trucks – they will be “feathered in” if you will.

BW: Coming back to the infrastructure point – it is such a big part of this. The customer may say we have the capability to run a certain number of all electric trucks today based on the site energy profile. They may want to run them in a particular part of the mine first – which is common with autonomy introduction but in the case of electric, they may do it, so they don’t have to have a lot of chargers in the main part of the mine from the outset.

Will fleet management systems have to change to allow for new power trucks? 

BW: Of course, and we have the intention to do that with MineStar but also with Command for hauling. Think about the amount of information you are going to need from a battery powered truck for example. We like to talk about the ACE concept – autonomy, connectivity and electrification. There is no point in coming up with a spot solution for one small part of it. The technology allows us to do things we could never do before when these key technology offerings are fully integrated with the iron. You might have a minesite that has a downhill haul that over time will become a flat haul and then will become an uphill haul from deeper in the pit. Those changes will also change how much energy is used and how it is used depending on where the mine lifecycle is.

DJ: Each site is going to be unique not only in the equipment and power source used but also in the solutions that will unfold relating to ACE. Until now the equipment has been put in and the customer largely decides how to marry it with their mine plan and schedules to optimise the mine. For these new power sites, the approach will be customised depending on the particular recipe that is suited to that mine. They might even have the same hardware, but a different connectivity and software approach – how it is all knitted together.

Will your agreement with Nouveau Monde Graphite be a big step in learning as one of the first greenfield zero emissions mines? 

DJ: It’s a really exciting project and we are happy to be leveraging it to help us learn across our organisation. Plus its more than just about the mobile equipment at this site – we are also bringing in a lot of solutions to support the infrastructure from our Energy and Transportation segment. It is a hydro powered project, so it is all renewable. How do you make sure that all the energy transfer across the site is done in a way that allows them to optimise their mining processes? So we are really leveraging a broad section of the Caterpillar company – beyond just the mining specific part, to provide holistic solutions for NMG. And we see that as a real competitive advantage versus other OEMs.

What’s your current view on the market moving to “swarms” of smaller trucks with the focus moving away from ultraclass? And what about going cabless? 

DJ: We run a lot of simulations on the tradeoffs between truck size classes. When evaluating larger fleets of smaller trucks as a viable alternative – it is very dependent on how the mine is set up. For a brownfield mine that has traditionally run 400 ton class trucks, putting in swarms of small trucks is probably not going to align with the loading tools in place – the mine hasn’t been designed around smaller trucks. If you are starting from scratch with a greenfield mine and you optimise the mine based on smaller trucks then potentially it could be the lowest cost, most productive solution. But you have to look at it site by site.

BW: That’s right, and it is also highly dependent on the material you want to move – think about the size of the rock – what’s the rock fragmentation like? What is the bench height? What type of rock formation do I have? What is the ration of ore to waste? When you really think about what’s the right size truck – and that’s a question we get all the time – there’s over 40 variables you have to think about. There is a right size truck – but its for that site.

DJ: On cabs, I do see cabless coming in the future. Currently one reason for keeping the cab is to allow the autonomous truck to be driven manually, like around a truck shop. But there are other ways of moving the truck such as with remote devices. And when you think about the weight of the cab and the complexity of providing all the features for the operator environment – if you know the future is going to be all autonomous then eventually you get there with no cabs. It’s just the transition time.

Do you see a future of autonomous mining shovels and does Cat have an active program in this regard? 

DJ: We do have development of teleoperated and autonomous shovels ongoing and its part of our roadmap, but it hasn’t been a priority for our customers. In addition, we look at what advantage does it bring from a productivity perspective. It has potential from a safety perspective – some shovels operate in more challenging conditions. But because automation in other areas drives a much higher return for the customer, we have focused our development on our customer’s priorities.  Take, for example, the autonomous water truck we are doing right now with Rio Tinto at Gudai Darri. Optimising water delivery improves productivity while reducing overwatering. For shovels, our focus has been more around operator assist and getting the semi autonomous advantage from the shovel movement in and out of the face.

Do you see autonomy moving more towards onboard edge computing and AI – where the trucks become more able to react to situations themselves? 

DJ: We already have a significant amount of computing power on the truck and continue to make updates to our existing platform. We are also making investments in additional platforms for autonomy. It is a combination of bringing more value onto the machine but also considering cost. We want to hit the sweet spot of faster computing, plus have more peer-to-peer machine interaction as well.

Hastings Deering, Cat and Rio Tinto carry out Australia’s first 777 D to E conversion

In what it says is a first for the Australia market, Hastings Deering has successfully completed the conversion of 777D haul trucks into 777E models for Rio Tinto’s Gove bauxite operations in the Northern Territory.

The 777D to E conversion process includes an engine upgrade from an older Cat 3508 to a C32 Tier 2 engine, a transmission upgrade to electronic clutch control, torque converter upgrade and an upgraded cab with the latest electronics and safety aspects.

Nearing the end of mine life, Gove was looking at innovative ways to reduce its environmental impact, extend fleet life and optimise return on investment, Hastings Deering said.

Brendan Coleing, Superintendent, Mining Maintenance, said that the Gove operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of its assets and has been working to reduce environmental emissions.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said.

“All machines have availability targets. Ultimately, we want to keep them in the field as long as possible. The 777D to E Conversion project was a way we could continue the journey to do that, with the added benefit of providing improved technology to our operational teams.”

He concluded: “We’re excited that Gove operations was the first Australian mine to undertake this project, and only the second in the world. With a significant reduction in our carbon footprint, fuel consumption and maintenance costs, and an improved operator experience, really, we were challenged with: why wouldn’t we?”

With the first of the 777 trucks now back on site, the Rio Tinto team has seen a 5-6% fuel reduction, proving that effective planning for this fleet conversion has improved economy on site, Hastings Deering said.

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the asset investment, according to Hastings Deering.

A CCR is a full machine rebuild that provides a like-new machine, inclusive of all Cat updates, to help achieve a full machine life supported by the Caterpillar warranty.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an alternative solution for engine replacement in its D11R fleet that, it says, reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans. This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines with the newer C32 engines.

“Recent success with repowering our D11 fleet with C32 engines has helped our mining operations move more bauxite due to increased power in the machine,” Coleing said. “This, in turn, allowed us to plan for the 777D to E conversions to take place in the workshop to complete the CCRs.”

Chris Polkinghorne, Mining Support Rep at Hastings Deering, said that the 777D to E conversion was brought about through collaboration with Caterpillar, Rio Tinto Gove and Hastings Deering.

“As a team we worked through what the benefits of this conversion would be, what was required, the planning phase and then how to execute the project in as little time as possible,” he said. “The 777D to E conversion redefines performance adding all the advancements of the 777E truck model.

“For the operator, improved ergonomics provide enhanced comfort, safety, and visibility, to maximise productivity and reduce fatigue.”

Cat energy storage, microgrid and Dynamic Gas Blending solutions on show at MINExpo

At MINExpo 2021 next week, Caterpillar Inc is highlighting the company’s wide range of industry expertise combined with power solutions that, it says, deliver the reliability, efficiency and sustainability for boosting the performance of mining operations.

MINExpo 2021 is set to run from September 13-15 in Las Vegas, USA.

These power solutions range from Cat® Energy Storage, Cat Hybrid Microgrid Systems and fuel-flexible Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) solutions, which are all included in the company’s portfolio of renewable power solutions. The wide variety of these solutions supports customers’ sustainability goals and can be configured to minimise their greenhouse gas footprints while also reducing total cost of ownership, according to Cat.

Jason Kaiser, Vice President, Caterpillar Electric Power Division, said: “Power needs vary widely from mine site to mine site, and they are becoming increasingly complex as mining companies address the sustainability requirements of their environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives. With our decades of experience in the mining industry and full portfolio of technologies – including numerous solutions that readily incorporate renewable energy sources – Caterpillar can supply integrated power solutions designed, installed, and supported from a single source to ensure superior performance over the long haul.”

Caterpillar says it offers a complete technology suite of hybrid energy solutions designed to reduce fuel expenses, lower utility bills, decrease emissions and reduce the total cost of ownership while increasing energy resiliency in even the most challenging environments. Key components include Cat Photovoltaic Solar Modules, the Cat Master Microgrid Controller, Cat Connect Remote Asset Monitoring, Cat Bi-Directional Power inverters, Cat Energy Storage System modules and Cat generator sets.

Enerpac EVO solution gives WesTrac and Cat 994K wheel loader a needed lift

Enerpac’s EVO synchronous lifting system has come to the rescue of WesTrac in Western Australia, with the Caterpillar dealer in need of an efficient, portable and safe solution to lift its Cat® 994K wheel loader.

The system needed to be operated independently without manual intervention and provide a locking function during the lift, according to Enerpac.

The 200 t Cat wheel loader had to be lifted to a height of 400-450 mm with an accuracy of +/- 2 mm across four lift points: a process carried out on uneven ground, which caused the lifting points to be at different heights. The lifting equipment needed to work independently to the pump and required forklift pockets so it could be manoeuvred into place easily, according to Enerpac.

Enerpac recommended its EVO synchronous lifting system, which, the company says, allows one device to control the entire lifting operation while providing status updates at every point of the process without the need for manual monitoring. By digitally monitoring and controlling lifting operations, users enhance safety and eliminate costly downtime, it says.

“Utilising proven synchronised lifting technology, combined with an expertise in high tonnage cylinder manufacturing, a customised Enerpac solution was developed to provide a high-precision lifting system to lift the Cat wheel loader on challenging ground conditions,” Enerpac explained.

Sanjesh Balgovind, Heavy Lifting Technology Special Projects Manager, Enerpac, said: “With an intuitive user interface, the custom EVO synchronous lifting system is easy to set up and control. It combines high pressure hydraulics and computer controls to monitor and control precise lifting and movement of heavy loads, such as WesTrac’s 200 t Cat wheel loader.”

Assembling and transporting over-dimension vehicles like the Cat wheel loader requires several steps, according to Balgovind.

“It often involves locating and positioning the lifting equipment at the appropriate lift points, removing the wheels, attaching wheel stands, and lowering the vehicle to the ground followed by removing the lifting equipment,” Balgovind says.

“Thereafter, a multi-wheel trailer would be placed under the vehicle and the wheel stands removed before it is ready for transportation. Using short stroke cylinders without synchronous lifting would be time-consuming, cumbersome and could introduce additional risk if the load is lifted at different heights.”

Through an integrated human machine interface, all movements are operated from a central control system displaying live operation and real time status updates of each lifting position. The Enerpac EVO system can deliver an accuracy of up to 1 mm across all lift points and provides stroke feedback and indicative load at each point, according to the company. In addition, there are built-in warning and stop alarms to ensure optimum safety.

The custom HCRL-Series 100-ton (91 t) 18 in stroke cylinders have servo motor-driven lock nuts that provide mechanical load holding across all lift points for a safe work environment, according to the company, while its hardened and robust surface is designed to resist side-loading and cyclic wear. The locknut drive controller is mounted on the cylinder and keeps the locking collar 3-6 mm from the cylinder body. The cylinders are then affixed in custom steel frames with lifting pockets.

The lifting frames are then placed at the respective lift points with forklifts and connected to a custom EVO-Series synchronous lifting system, ready for lifting. As the rear of the truck requires a higher lift point, the frames are further attached to stands for additional height. The cylinders are then placed at the respective lift points with forklifts and connected to the EVO system, ready for lifting. A flow of 3 litres per minute is used to ensure that the locking collar adjustment can keep up with cylinder extension and retraction.

“At a rate of 1 mm/s, the wheel loader is lifted with significant safety and productivity gains,” Balgovind says. “The auto-locking cylinders provide an improved safety application as the load is always mechanically locked during both lifting and lowering operations.

“It is a safe and effective solution for applications with potential safety risks of working with hydraulic-suspended loads. In addition, given the portability of the system, it was brought to site easily and could function in a convenient manner.”

Caterpillar to add hydrogen to generator, power generation solution mix

Caterpillar Inc says it will begin offering Cat® generator sets capable of operating on 100% hydrogen, including fully renewable green hydrogen, on a designed-to-order basis in late 2021.

More immediately, the company will launch commercially available power generation solutions that can be configured to operate on natural gas blended with up to 25% hydrogen, it said.

“These market-focused innovations build upon Caterpillar’s hydrogen solutions portfolio, including Solar® Turbines’ gas turbine generator sets, which have run on high hydrogen blends for decades and are capable of operating on 100% hydrogen today,” the company said. “The ability to work with hydrogen fuel helps address customers’ carbon-reduction goals with high-performing, cost-effective technologies.”

Joe Creed, Caterpillar Group President of Energy & Transportation, said: “At Caterpillar, we are working alongside our customers to understand their needs, and they are looking for reliable power sources that support their climate-related goals. Our continued investment in new products, technologies and services is one way we’re supporting them with the quality solutions they’ve come to count on from Caterpillar.”

With the reciprocating engine capabilities of up to 100% hydrogen, Caterpillar says it is expanding on its legacy in gas engines and Solar gas turbines with more than 35 years of experience with high-hydrogen fuel.

It added: “Caterpillar continues to make investments aimed at improving the capability of hydrogen-powered solutions and replicating them across engine platforms as this fuel will likely play a role in customers’ plans for a reduced-carbon future.”

Australia’s IMARC mining event rescheduled to January 2022

Due to ongoing travel and gathering restrictions, and the rise of COVID-19 infections around Australia, Beacon Events, the organisers of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), has today announced its decision to reschedule the 2021 edition.

IMARC 2021 will move to the new dates of January 31-February 2, 2022, with the hybrid event taking place in-person at the Melbourne Showgrounds, and online for those that cannot attend in-person.

IMARC Managing Director, Anita Richards, said that while it is disappointing that the event has had to be postponed from 2021, it is the responsible action to take under the circumstances as the health and safety of IMARC’s participants is our number one priority.

“The rescheduling comes after much deliberation with our founding partners, and in consultation with our sponsors, exhibitors, supporters and various Victorian Government agencies who have been very supportive of the decision,” she said.

Victorian Government’s Head of Resources, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, John Krbaleski, added: “IMARC is a home-grown industry event that has become a major international resources conference. There is significant interest in IMARC and it’s clear that industry is keen to see it go ahead in January 2022.”

Austmine CEO, Christine Gibbs Stewart, said: “Considering the health and safety of our members, delegates, and staff members, we support postponing IMARC 2021 until January 2022. We know how important this event is to our members who are exhibiting and attending, as well as the METS sector overall, and we encourage everyone to consider this as an opportunity to refocus your efforts and support the event in 2022.”

AusIMM CEO, Stephen Durkin, added: “We’re looking forward to reconnecting with our mining community at IMARC in January 2022. The rescheduled event will provide an opportunity for delegates to network with leaders and experts from across the sector and take part in thought-provoking conversations about the future of our industry.”

BHP, MMG, Newcrest, Mitsui, OceanaGold and Kirkland Lake Gold have all confirmed their continued support for IMARC in January 2022, with their executive leadership teams confirmed to speak within the conference program, Beacon Events said.

In addition to the Federal Minister for Resources, the Hon Keith Pitt, and major sponsors METS Ignited, Caterpillar, ABB and World Gold Council who have also confirmed their support and participation.

IMARC 2021’s new dates are aligned with the expected easing of restrictions from all states across Australia, allowing for strong domestic representation, according to Beacon Events.

Richards said: “Holding IMARC at the start of 2022 helps create a unique opportunity for the industry to kick off the year with new conversations, develop existing relationships and create business opportunities for the coming year. With better weather comes opportunities for outdoor events and networking, alongside some major events at that time of year here in Melbourne.”

There is an expectation that when IMARC returns in 2022, from October 17-19, there will be greater international travel freedoms, allowing for the conference to attract a large domestic and international audience in-person once again, Beacon Events said.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC