Tag Archives: Hastings Deering

Thiess hits new heights with SATS dozer technology at Lake Vermont

Thiess says it has safely expanded its Cat MineStar™ Command for Dozing program at the Lake Vermont coal operation in Queensland, Australia, owned by Jellinbah Group.

A total of six Caterpillar D11 dozers fitted with Semi-autonomous Tractor System (SATS) technology have been mobilised at the project, currently making it the largest deployment of the technology globally, the contractor claims.

The SATS solution enables one operator to remotely control up to four dozers from an office environment. Lake Vermont is currently running six SATS dozers from two side-by-side remote operator stations.

Beginning the pilot in early 2020, the team has moved more than 1.9 million bank cubic metres and recorded zero autonomy-related injuries.

Thiess Autonomous Services Manager, Trent Smith, has seen significant productivity improvements with the technology enabling his team to deliver more consistent dozing.

“We’ve seen our utilisations go up about 25%,” he said. “We’re simply running 22 to 23 hours per day in autonomous mode.

“Another advantage is its ability to remove wastage within a dozer process – the machine simply won’t stop. It follows exactly the design that you’ve given it and it never waivers from that plan.”

The technology has also proven safety benefits for dozer operators by removing them from a high-risk working environment.

“Our operators control the machines from our office on-site, reducing the risk of injury from mounting and dismounting equipment and from ergonomic challenges presented during ripping applications,” Smith said.

Working collaboratively with Thiess’ in-house technical support teams has enabled the project team to solve use and skill challenges rapidly, the company said.

“The crew that started initially really struggled with the system because it was such a big change from their role and operating out in the field,” Smith said. “We spent a lot of time investing in our people with the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to try and lift their skill and knowledge of the system and we’ve seen them grow into highly capable operators.

“They started out initially running two dozers and now they are quite comfortable operating four at a time.”

Thiess partnered with Caterpillar and Hastings Deering to implement and optimise the technology at the project, with Hastings Deering Product Manager, Simon Zillman, recognising Thiess’ focus on the integration of people and process when applying advanced technology.

To take advantage of the autonomation benefits, Thiess altered a portion of its production schedule so SATS dozers could continue working in the overburden, taking advantage of the consistent and optimised operation.

“Thiess has been excellent to work with,” Zillman said. “The team is very dynamic and right across the board everyone is proactive to make it work.

“Our relationship with Thiess is collaborative at all levels, from the mechanics who are fixing the machines in the field right through to the senior management.”

The Lake Vermont operation is also using Command for Dozing to reduce unit costs through increasing dozer utilisation, increased process consistency and increased execution of best practice mining operations, Thiess said.

Thiess, Caterpillar and Hastings Deering have also collaborated on the use of autonomous drilling at Lake Vermont, with the second robotised drill mobilised to site last year.

Hastings Deering rebuild program pays off for Rio Tinto’s Gove operation

Hastings Deering has been sustain output at Rio Tinto’s Gove bauxite open-pit operation in the Northern Territory of Australia by boosting engine power during the rebuild of dozers.

The Cat D11T dozer is purpose built to move more material and ensure maximum availability through its planned life cycle, the Caterpillar dealer says. For Rio Tinto, Dozer 79, had built up over 37,000 hours ripping and pushing bauxite at its open-pit operation.

Rio Tinto knew it wanted to undergo a Cat Certified Rebuild for its dozer but had to come up with an innovate way to do this while minimising equipment down time, Hastings Deering said.

Brendan Coleing, Superintendent, Mining Maintenance, said the Gove operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of its assets and maintenance schedules.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said. “By planning large maintenance projects in advance, at Rio Tinto, we’ve been able to compensate for machinery downtime and achieve some great energy efficiencies.”

One of the key projects that helped to allow for the nine-week Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) was the D11R repower project.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an alternative solution for engine replacement in its D11R fleet that reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans. This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines the machines originally came with, 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 states. “This in turn allowed us to remove Dozer 79 out of production, and into the workshop to complete a Cat Certified Rebuild.”

Alongside the increase in machine availability, this project presented a budgeted fuel burn reduction of up to 25%.

“Our like-for-like material movements are now done with significantly less fuel which is a great environmental outcome,” Coleing said. “They’re also quieter, making them a little more comfortable for the operator.”

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the CCR was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the original asset investment.

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, Hastings Deering says.

Brad Read, Service Manager at Hastings Deering, said the CCR program is an efficient way for customers to improve the planned lifecycle of their machines.

“Given Dozer 79’s upcoming power train, hydraulic and major component change outs, a CCR was a cost-effective way for us to maintain the asset through to the end of its target life,” he said. “Customers opt for a CCR as it provides the ability to rebuild their machine, including all technological advancements, over purchasing a new machine. This helps to reduce capital expenditure.”

Read said that the CCR offered an extended scope or work over a standard rebuild and took careful planning between the Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering teams.

“The CCR takes up to nine weeks to complete and covers an extended scope of work including power train replacement, hydraulics and electrical components, cab overhaul, work implement overhaul and ET testing and painting,” he said.

“Effective planning is critical to the success of a large-scale project like a CCR. The team needs to ensure all stages of the rebuild have been planned, scheduled and are on time to guarantee machine delivery back to the customer.”

“It is essential to support our customers in their operation.”

By successfully planning the CCR after the success of the C32 repower project, Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering were able to improve the performance of its equipment and compensate for the removal of Dozer 79, Hastings Deering said.

Coleing said: “By undertaking work in this manner, we’ve removed a massive amount of forward log of work that not only gave us immediate availability but provided us with an improved asset through to the end of the machine life.”

Hastings Deering starts APM equipment journey with load and haul

Hastings Deering, a distributor of new, used and rental Caterpillar machinery and services, has launched an Asset Performance Management (APM) solution that, it says, bolsters the company’s strategy of helping customers use Cat equipment more productively.

Hastings Deering Asset Support Supervisor, Kurt Pidgeon, says the new APM solution complements the company’s traditional value proposition.

“Hastings Deering has always been very effective with analysing the reliability and availability of equipment,” he says. “However, customers buy machines for productivity, so we decided to start providing productivity solutions to complement existing traditional reliability analysis that we perform.”

Starting with load and haul machinery and expanding into other operational areas, the APM solution delivers a wide range of reports and recommendations to improve productivity, according to the company.

APM is concerned with how the entire mining circuit is performing as a system, rather than a single facet of an operation, or individual machine, the company says.

“There are many information systems that aim to bolster productivity, but APM is unique in providing insights into how the whole circuit is performing as a system and specific recommendations on how to improve,” Pidgeon explains. “We help customers achieve their maximum sustainable production rate circuit-by-circuit as the mine plan evolves, as opposed to looking at one machine at a time.”

He added: “Analysing machine productivity has been done well for many years. Key performance indicators like truck payload have been a strong area of focus, for example. What if trucks are not the constraining factor on site and it is the load tool instead?

“Using APM, we focus on the broader mining operation so that we can better understand exactly where the improvement opportunities are.”

APM analyses the data from an entire mining operation to provide in-depth insights that lead to productivity and efficiency boosts, according to the company.

For Pidgeon, this means finding areas of improvement that may otherwise go unnoticed.

“Mining clients receive insights from the APM software via a team of specialists here,” he explains. “That leads to productivity improvements and efficiencies gained.”

Hastings Deering will soon expand the APM platform to other disciplines, such as drill and blast, with the aim of supporting the entire value chain of an operation.

“We’re about to start a module for the analysis for drill and blast processes,” Pidgeon says. “Further to this, we are developing analytical tools for each of the processes in mining.

“This will also include wash plant and material handling aspects to properly understand how one part of the value chain affects the performance of another. You need the complete picture to find the weakest link in that whole value chain.”

Remote operations have become critical to sustain mine operations this year in response to the restrictions enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hastings Deering has developed the APM solution to enable miners to analyse performance remotely when required.

“Remote management of mining is well accepted now,” Pidgeon says. “Working remotely in all facets of productivity monitoring is no different.

“It certainly enables clients to review site operations without having to be there. Mining is an industry where people work and live in different locations. Minimising travel if we can do so is an important thing to do at this time.”

South32 adds Cat AD63 to Cannington underground trucking fleet

Last month, Cat dealer Hastings Deering sent out the world’s first AD63 truck to South32’s Cannington silver-lead mine in Queensland, Australia.

With a 63 t payload, the AD63 is the largest underground truck in the Cat product line, and comes with best in class speed on grade, according to Hastings Deering.

Joe Russell, South32 Cannington Vice President Operations, told IM that since taking delivery of the articulated truck from Caterpillar, via Hastings Deering, the company had started work on tailoring the vehicle to the mine’s specific requirements.

“Once the truck enters full operation, it will replace an older vehicle in our fleet,” Russell said. “The AD63 will be used in conjunction with the rest of the underground trucking fleet to move material to various locations within the South32 Cannington mine site.”

Russell highlighted the vehicle’s Euro Stage V Cat C27 diesel engine when reflecting on the recent fleet addition.

“The AD63’s engine specifications will help us to further reduce emissions, resulting in good outcomes for the environment and underground air quality,” he said.

Released in April, the AD63 features a 5% increased payload and more torque for enhanced production capabilities compared with its predecessor, the AD60, Cat says.

Additional new features enhance operator ergonomics, maintenance access and safety, and data collection for machine health monitoring, according to the OEM.

South32’s Cannington underground mine produces about 3 Mt/y of ore.

BMA to invest in autonomous haul trucks at Daunia coal mine

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has announced a A$100 million ($69 million) investment and new jobs as part of the introduction of 34 autonomous trucks at its Daunia mine in central Queensland, Australia.

The first retrofit trucks will begin working from February next year, with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of 2021, it said.

The 4.5 Mt/y Daunia coal mine opened in 2013 and has a truck fleet that includes Cat 793Fs.

BMA Asset President, James Palmer, said this was a multi-generational investment in the industry and  state at a time when it is needed.

“We acknowledge the important role our business and industry can play in supporting Queensland communities and the local economy during this time,” he said.

“This announcement is a vote of confidence in Central Queensland. At least 10 regional and indigenous businesses will be employed to support the rollout, with contracts worth A$35 million. This will result in 150 additional project roles for BMA people and contractors. This is on top of 56 new permanent roles on site.”

He reiterated that there would be no job losses as a result of the decision and anyone who currently works with the company – as an employee or labour hire worker – would be given the opportunity to continue to do so.

Hastings Deering’s Central Queensland operations will see an additional 30 jobs required to assist with truck and ancillary fleet conversion.

Hastings Deering CEO, Dean Mehmet, said: “This contract is a huge boost to our local business and the region. We will need 30 additional people to support the work that is required to convert the trucks and ancillary mining fleet into autonomous vehicles at Daunia. It’s exciting work to build on that allows us to grow and develop local talent to deliver technology solutions into the resources sector.”

Other examples of local businesses that will directly benefit from this decision include NB Industries, who will complete the light vehicle fleet conversion, and Radlink who will install wireless communication hardware across the mine.

NB Industries is also involved in completing the fit out of ancillary equipment for the AHS rollout at BMA’s Goonyella Riverside mine, in Central Queensland.

Palmer highlighted the employee engagement and training that is central to this decision.

“We have engaged with our workforce at Daunia over the previous 18 months on the possible rollout of autonomous haulage. Our people have told us that they are eager for new job opportunities and skills. That is why we are confident this is the right decision for Daunia.

“It will further increase safety and performance and help the mine remain competitive over the long term.

“We understand this decision represents some change. But it also offers a unique opportunity for people to gain new, highly valued skills that will create additional opportunities for growth into the future.”

To help prepare for Daunia’s autonomous future, it is estimated over 30,000 hours of training will be delivered, ranging from general awareness to extensive training for those operating equipment, interacting with the autonomous haul trucks, or taking on new roles.

In addition to pledging to bring autonomous trucks to Daunia and Goonyella Riverside, BHP is looking to start the roll out of autonomous trucks at its Eastern Ridge mine site in the Pilbara of Western Australia shortly.

Queensland’s first Cat MD6250 drill delivered to Bluff coal mine

In what Hastings Deering says is a first for Queensland, a Caterpillar MD6250 rotary blasthole drill has been delivered to contractor Mining and Civil Australia (MACA).

The delivery to Bluff coal mine, east of Blackwater, is the first drill of its kind to enter the territory for works in the open-pit coking coal operation and was done with precise logistical planning, according to the Cat dealer.

Commencing its journey in Caterpillar’s Denison factory in Texas, US, the MD6250 was transported in components to Brisbane where it launched a 615-km journey by road to Rockhampton.

The transportation of the machine was done across three trucks, including two large prime movers to haul the chassis and mast, as well as a smaller truck to transport the smaller accessories and parts.

In Queensland, heavy vehicles and road trains are restricted to 80 km/h speed due to safety regulations, with the journey from Brisbane to Rockhampton taking two days to complete.

“The MD6250 doesn’t have the size of footprint of an off-highway haul truck, for example, but it is still big enough that we required a pilot vehicle and police escort to make the journey safely,” Adam Davis, Product Manager for Drills and Large Motor Graders at Hastings Deering, said.

Once the components were delivered, Hastings Deering’s team of engineers set aside a week to assemble the drill before delivery to the Bluff mine site to the west of the city.

Thanks to a 10-year contract with Carabella Resources (now owned by Wealth Mining), MACA manages both the drill-and-blast and load-and-haul operations at the Bluff mine, in what was a A$700 million ($487 million) deal for the company.

The advanced features on the crawler-mounted Cat MD6250 drill are set to maximise fuel efficiency and improve drilling for the contractor, Hastings Deering says. Its features include a Cat C27 engine, variable compressor output controls, drill depth indicators and virtual head stops for operators.

The drill is likely to offer far more than just the expected productivity benefits at Bluff, though.

Davis explained: “It’s an interesting site as there are restrictions around noise. MACA had experience with the MD6250’s predecessor model and believed they could get the same value and production out of the new model.

“The MD6250 has proportional hydraulics, which means the machine makes less noise during operation and the fan circuit only operates when it needs to. The machine only creates horsepower when needed, which cuts down on heat, noise and energy.”

Davis says the mine’s purchase of the MD6250 drill is in line with an industry trend towards using high-tech, mid-size drills suited to drilling holes smaller than the 270 mm sizes.

The MD6250 is equipped with a hole diameter range of between 152–250 mm.

“In places like the Hunter Valley, in New South Wales, it’s the norm to go for mid-size machines with this kind of technology, and it’s possible that this could also happen in Queensland in the future,” Davis said. “Once the larger coal seams begin to shrink in size and the work moves to higher-grade coal seams, smaller machines are used as they are better suited to such applications.”

Hastings Deering tunes up New Acland coal mine’s Cat 793F fleet

Caterpillar dealer Hastings Deering has recently completed a full component change out on five of New Hope Group’s Cat 793F haul trucks working at the New Acland coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

The miner used the local Hastings Deering workshop in Toowoomba, Queensland, for the six-month undertaking, New Hope said.

“At A$2.2 million ($1.6 million) per truck, it sounds an expensive exercise but, with each truck costing almost A$5.5 million new, it was worth the expense,” New Hope said.

New Acland Maintenance Supervisor, Rob Trapp, said it was the first time the company had sent an entire fleet to the Toowoomba workshop.

“The guys and Hastings Deering have done work for us before, but this was by far the biggest job they have done for us,” he said. “It was a huge job, replacing basically every component on the truck. The fleet is only six years old but each had done about 24,000 h of work at the New Acland site. That’s slightly above industry standard so they were due for a tune-up.”

Service Manager at Hastings Deering Toowoomba, Justin Butcher, said: “This was a great win for us. We have around 100 workers at the Toowoomba Service centre and, of that, about 12 worked on this project basically around the clock.

“Each truck took three weeks and we had a week break in between each truck. We did what is known as a certified power train rebuild, which means we effectively stripped the trucks bare and replaced all the drive train components including the engine.

“In fact, apart from the cabin, tray and tyres, there isn’t much we didn’t either remove or replace.”

To get the 170 t trucks from Acland to Toowoomba, the company took off the cab, tray and wheels and loaded it into another big truck, according to Trapp.

MES off to fast start with dual fuel haul truck engine conversion tech

Mine Energy Solutions (MES) is building on the recent dual fuel hybrid truck trial it ran with project partners New Hope Group and Hastings Deering at the New Acland coal mine in Queensland, Australia, and hopes to roll out its first commercial fleet at an operation in the state’s Bowen Basin late next year.

The trial on a Cat 789C haul truck took place over the past two years at New Acland and involved the conversion of high horse powered diesel engines from 100% diesel to dual fuel operation, using natural gas as the dominant fuel through sequential gas injection.

MES’ Graham Box provided IM with some more insight into the High Density Compressed Natural Gas (HDCNG®) technology, owned and developed by MES shareholder Intelligas, and the company’s business model.

Mr Box said MES, which doesn’t sell a product or a kit but a “fully-funded energy proposition”, uses bespoke designs for each truck model conversion it works on.

The incorporation of Type 4 carbon fibre cylinders to store the gas – which is compressed and stored at 350 bar (5,000 psi) using patented technology – is one of the ways the company has got around the weight and space constraints that previously limited technology using compressed natural gas and LNG on truck engines.

A lightweight non-invasive engine augmentation and on-board control system also help alleviate this issue, according to Mr Box.

“Remember, our gas remains in a gaseous state and is not liquefied,” he added.

The haul truck fuel conversion packs use HDCNG® proprietary gas cylinder filling technology to achieve energy densities approximately double that of conventional compressed natural gas storage systems and approaching two thirds of the density of LNG without the operational complexity and cost of LNG cryogenic storage and handling, according to MES.

“This enables mine trucks to achieve high levels of diesel displacement whilst carrying sufficient fuel on board for a full work shift and not adversely affecting payload,” the company said.

The system has been developed to achieve sufficient fuel storage quantities on board the machine for a full work shift of up to 12 hours. In mine haul trucks, a slim-line diesel fuel tank (and if required a slim-line hydraulic oil tank) replaces the existing tanks allowing for the introduction of HDCNG® fuel packs for the storage of gas on the machine.

The trial at New Acland took place on a Cat 3516B engine, yet Mr Box said the company is “well advanced” or has “completed development work” on a number of other OEMs and models.

“Our first commercial conversions will be on either a Liebherr or Komatsu mine haul truck,” he said. “We are targeting large trucks/engines, with the 789C, or equivalent, the smallest we will do.”

In addition to preparing for its first commercial fleet agreement late next year, Mr Box said deliveries are expected in the US and Western Australia’s Pilbara region in the following two years.

This is just for starters, with qualified opportunities in Canada, South America, India, Russia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Indonesia and Mexico, according to Mr Box.

“The best testament for us is feedback from mining companies who have been searching for the type of technology we have developed,” he said.

“We have been told by some of the world’s largest miners that there is clear daylight between our technology and anything else out there, including from the OEMs. It has been MES’ choice to position our commercial pathway in a targeted and controlled fashion and we are working closely and collaboratively with our pathfinder customers and these other mining companies.”

New Hope for dual fuel hybrid trucks following Australia coal mine trial

Major players in the mining sector are clambering over each other to get a part of the new dual-fuel hybrid truck that has been doing circuits for the past two years at New Hope Group’s New Acland coal mine in Queensland, Australia, according to the mining company.

The mine was the place of choice to conduct the trial of the latest innovative technology in dual fuel trucks by project partners Mine Energy Solutions (MES) and Hastings Deering.

General Manager of New Acland mine, David Vink says the project was a great example of industry collaboration.

“We provided the trial site and wherewithal, MES the technology and Hastings Deering the hardware – so to speak (truck and engines),” he said.

He explains the revolutionary technology enables the conversion of high horse powered diesel engines from 100% diesel to dual fuel operation, using natural gas as the dominant fuel through sequential gas injection. The trial was on a Cat 789C haul truck (pictured).

“When MES first looked for project partners in Queensland, there was no one interested,” Vink said.

“But we could see the potential for this technology from the outset.

“Now, after nearly 24 months operating on site, clocking more than 6,200 hours, we’ve piqued the interest of the big boys and the sceptics.

“We’ve taken the technology from an R&D project to ready for commercial application. Actually beyond that – it has already been taken up commercially which has signalled the end of the trial.”

Vink said the trial was originally planned to run for just six months in 2016 but, off the back of data collected as the trial progressed, the technology itself evolved even further.

“The trial is complete, MES’s technology has been proven and we are pleased to be part of this exciting project that is now going global,” Vink said.