Tag Archives: Jarvas Croome

WesTrac receives funding boost for autonomous technology training centre

Leading Caterpillar® dealer WesTrac has welcomed a A$1 million ($678,616) State Government investment to expand the range of training services offered at its automation-focused WesTrac Technology Training Centre in Collie, in Western Australia’s South West.

The funding, announced on September 5 under the McGowan Government’s Collie Futures Industry Development Fund, will help WesTrac to build new training facilities and offer a broader range of courses at the training centre, which is one of only two in the world and the only such training centre outside the US.

The centre opened back in August 2020, with the State Government contributed A$2.7 million through the Collie Futures Fund towards the project.

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome (pictured speaking in the centre), said one of the key focuses of the expanded offering would be providing apprenticeship pathways, and other resources and construction industry skills development opportunities, to local students.

“Since launching in 2020, the WesTrac Technology Training Centre has delivered autonomous operations training courses to more than 450 people,” Croome said.

“To date, that has predominantly involved people working in the resources industry and needing to upskill, however we have also run a pilot program in partnership with the not-for-profit Motivation Foundation, which supports young people to earn qualifications and secure full-time employment.”

The Motivation Foundation aims to educate and develop life and employability skills for school students enrolled in Year 11, 12 or equivalents from diverse backgrounds.

Croome said the expansion of the WesTrac Technology Training Centre would provide enhanced facilities and training opportunities to allow the partnership to expand and continue into the future.

Announcing the funding in Collie, WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said it continued to assist Collie to build on its rich history as an industrial hub, while setting up the town for the long-term by diversifying the economy and creating jobs.

“The WesTrac Technology Training Centre is part of Collie’s future, putting the south west town on the map as a national centre of excellence for autonomous equipment training – with ongoing benefits to Western Australia industry and the community,” he said.

Among the new facilities, WesTrac plans to establish virtual reality training, along with theory rooms, reception, administration and a multipurpose room. New plant and machinery will be purchased and communications infrastructure will be enhanced.

Croome said while training was not a massive revenue generator for WesTrac, it was an important part of building a long-term, sustainable future for mining and construction industries in Western Australia.

“As a key global centre for mining, it makes sense to continue growing our training capability in WA,” he said. “We are not only providing opportunities for people in the South West and around the state, but, now with COVID-related travel restrictions lifting, we’re starting to welcome trainees from interstate and overseas.

“The benefits for Collie and the wider region are immense. As well as directly employing eight people on site responsible for delivering training to up to 30 students per day, the centre utilises local service providers as much as possible including for accommodation, cleaning, catering, fuel and office supplies.

“More importantly, with hundreds of trainees coming to Collie for multi-day courses each year, there’s a considerable cash injection into the local economy.”

WesTrac to bring R2900 XE and Cat AD63 LHD-truck combo to Diggers & Dealers

Leading Caterpillar dealer WesTrac is to unveil one of the latest Cat® underground mining trucks to hit Australian shores at this year’s Digger & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, next week.

The Cat AD63 Underground Mining Truck was recently released by Caterpillar to the market and has undergone a series of upgrades to improve on the design and performance of its predecessor, the Cat AD60.

The AD63 has been designed and built for the most rugged mining applications while delivering exceptional performance, according to WesTrac. Improvements to payload, powertrain performance and serviceability have also been made.

This includes five optional dump body sizes including a new lightweight option, 63-t payload, a tilt cab to provide ease of servicing access, and eHVAC ducted air-conditioning for operator comfort. The AD63 is powered by the Cat C27 engine, which meets EU Stage V emissions standards.

The AD63 is well matched with a variety of loaders and is a good pairing with the new Cat R2900 XE underground loader, which, with an 18.5-t-payload, can fill the AD63 in three to four passes. The R2900 XE, displayed at MINExpo 2021 in Las Vegas, in September 2021, will also be on show in Kalgoorlie.

The R2900 XE itself is designed with the latest diesel-electric technology, offering up to 30% greater fuel efficiency as well as increased payload and breakout force.

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome, said: “Diggers & Dealers is an iconic event on the mining calendar and even with border closures last year, it attracted the second highest audience ever.

“It’s proof that these sorts of events are still high on many people’s priority lists and with borders open again, we should see a more diverse audience this year – and potentially see attendance records broken.

“That makes it even more exciting to be showcasing the Cat AD63 and R2900 XE at Diggers & Dealers.”

Diggers & Dealers is set to run from August 1-3 at the Goldfields Arts Centre in Kalgoorlie.

WesTrac to rebuild Rio’s Pilbara dozers at Geraldton facility

Rio Tinto, WesTrac and the Western Australia Government have agreed on a project that will see dozers from Rio’s Pilbara operations head to WesTrac’s Geraldton facility for rebuilds, with up to 54 machines committed between 2021 and 2025.

Western Australia Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, welcomed the news, saying it would provide a major boost for the Mid-West’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.

The project was negotiated between the State Government through the Mid West Development Commission and industry after feasibility studies identified WesTrac’s Perth and Pilbara facilities were at capacity and unable to accommodate the additional repairs and maintenance required by Rio’s mining operations.

The Geraldton facility will receive up to 12 dozer rebuilds annually, from various Pilbara operations, according to the statement.

The project will support two new, localised apprenticeship opportunities in the Mid-West as well as creating new local skilled jobs and providing pathways to employment with Rio Tinto, the government said. The project also reduces transport times and negates logistical difficulties mining companies face getting heavy machinery in and out of the metropolitan area.

“The state will look to expand the initiative into a cross-regional Smart Specialisation project with linkages to the Kimberley and Goldfields regions, using the Mid-West as a demonstration pilot,” it added.

MacTiernan said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will see more work carried out in our regional centres, rather than shifting to Perth. It confirms that geography is not a barrier to global success for our regionally-based METS facilities, but in fact an advantage.”

Rio Tinto Port, Rail and Core Services Managing Director, Richard Cohen, said: “Rio Tinto is committed to growing regional Western Australia by supporting jobs and training opportunities for local people. Regional investment initiatives like the METS project will deliver ongoing benefits to the local economy.

“By unlocking the capabilities of the Geraldton WesTrac branch, we are significantly reducing transport time by removing the roughly 900-km round trip to Perth. This will lower costs, improve productivity and reduce the risk of driving related incidents that can occur on congested metropolitan roads.”

WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome, said the company was committed to developing capacity and capability throughout the state.

“Like many providers in the METS sector, WesTrac is seeing strong demand across all areas of our business due to the level of mining and construction activity,” he said. “That applies to new and used equipment sales, training, maintenance services and equipment rebuilds, and if there are opportunities to expand our offerings in regional centres and provide efficient outcomes for our customers, we’ll happily consider them.”

As well as multiple metropolitan operations, WesTrac currently has branches in eight regional centres including the major Western Australia mining regions. The company also operates as the authorised dealer of Caterpillar equipment in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

WesTrac’s Collie technology training centre to welcome new trainees next month

The WesTrac Technology Training Centre in Collie, Western Australia, is close to completion and due to accept its first trainees within weeks, the Cat dealer says.

The facility, which is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, will deliver training courses to technicians and operators of autonomous equipment such as haul trucks used in the mining industry, according to WesTrac.

Announced in January this year and partially funded through the Western Australia Government’s Collie Futures Fund, the site near Bluewaters power station includes dedicated training facilities and an extensive “calibration pad” used for trialling and fine-tuning autonomous equipment, it said.

Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, was onsite today (June 29, 2020) to inspect progress, along with Regional Development Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, Collie-Preston MLA, Mick Murray, and WesTrac CEO, Jarvas Croome.

McGowan said the training centre was one of a range of new initiatives designed to secure the future of the town.

“It’s great to be here in Collie to view first-hand the progress on this facility, which is going to put Collie on the map for training technicians and operators of autonomous equipment,” he said.

“The WesTrac Technology Training Centre will result in new jobs and training opportunities for local people. At the same time, it will meet demand from around Australia and overseas from resource companies that need specialised technicians and operators of autonomous equipment to support the growth in this technology.”

Croome said earthworks and construction at the site had progressed rapidly since it was announced in January and WesTrac was preparing to accept its first intake of trainees in the coming weeks.

“We are in the final testing phase at present and plan to commence the first official eight-day training course with internal WesTrac team members in early July, followed by courses for a range of mining operators later in the month,” Croome said.

“As the only such facility outside the USA that can provide dedicated training for autonomous operations of Caterpillar equipment, we anticipate strong demand for training over the next three years as resources companies transition their fleets.”

Initially, the focus will be on conversion of existing haul trucks to operate autonomously, with additional courses to be rolled out in line with industry demand, Croome said.

Trainees will be accommodated at the nearby Collie Hills Village while undertaking courses and are expected to boost opportunities for local businesses during their time in the town.

Croome said WesTrac had been working with local businesses to supply goods and services, and expected job opportunities to grow in the future.

Cat, WesTrac highlight XE wheel loader range in Western Australia

Caterpillar, last week, invited dealers and key clients from across Australia and New Zealand to a special showcase event for its latest wheel loaders, articulated trucks and a range of other equipment.

The machines were put through their paces at Quarry Farm, south of Perth, in Western Australia, with 2019 national Load and Haul Event centred around Cat’s new XE range including the Cat 988K XE and 972M XE wheel loaders.

Cat said: “The XE range is proving incredibly popular for a broad range of applications across construction, earthmoving and smaller mining operations, and is closely based on the popular predecessor models with additional features providing greater productivity, efficiency and even better all-round performance.”

The new Cat 988K XE is the first large wheel loader offered by Caterpillar with a high-efficiency electric drive system, delivering 25% greater overall efficiency and up to 10% more productivity in load-and-carry applications than the 988K loader, according to Cat.

“Delivering high-production in all loading applications, the 988K XE is recommended for demanding job sites where fuel efficiency makes a difference in the machine’s total cost of operation,” the company said.

The new loader features switched reluctance technology and leverages more than 15 years of Cat electric drive experience as well as more than four years of stringent testing in a range of applications, according to the company.

The Cat C18 ACERT™ engine, mechanical dropbox, driveline and axles from the legacy of the 988K remain in this electric drive machine, providing a consistent, trouble-free operation, Cat says.

Cat’s 972M XE wheel loader, meanwhile, features a continuous variable transmission that results in smooth shifts, fast acceleration, and speed on grade, while also delivering exceptional fuel economy, Cat says.

“While designed with the construction sector demands in mind, these characteristics will make the 972M XE a popular choice in quarry and mining operations with the need to deal with steeper grades, tighter loading areas, and greater pressure on cost per tonne,” it said.

Among other recent additions on display was the 986K wheel loader, 6015B hydraulic shovel, and the 745 and 740 GC articulated trucks.

There was a cameo appearance by the Piacentini Panther Low Loader, designed by Bunbury-based contractor Piacentini & Son, which has been developed to improve safety and efficiency when loading and transporting heavy equipment around mine sites, the company said.

Jarvas Croome, CEO of WesTrac which hosted the event and is the Caterpillar dealer for Western Australia and New South Wales, said industry would welcome the further refinement of this popular range of construction and earthmoving equipment.

“Activity is increasing across Australia with a large number of infrastructure and major construction projects underway, while there’s also a lot of movement in mining,” he said.

“The highly versatile Cat XE range is going to be a popular choice for fast, efficient operations across all sectors, not to mention providing improved environmental performance for operators.”

Caterpillar, WesTrac to help automate Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri iron ore mine

Rio Tinto and Caterpillar have agreed to work together to create an automated mine operation at the Koodaideri iron ore project, in Western Australia, that makes best use of data analytics and integration to enhance safety, optimise production, boost mining machine use and lower costs.

The recently signed agreement will see Cat® and dealer WesTrac supply and support mining machines, automation and enterprise technology systems for the new mine. Rio, in a separate release, said this would see the supply of a fleet of 20 autonomous 793F trucks (pictured) as well as four autonomous blast drills.

Beyond the autonomous fleet, Caterpillar will also provide loaders, dozers, graders, water carts and diggers for the operation, which will be Rio Tinto’s first Pilbara mine to be primarily operated using Caterpillar machinery, Rio said. “The two companies have also agreed to study the potential for increased levels of automation of heavy mining equipment at the mine in the future.”

The partnership with Caterpillar at Koodaideri will enhance Rio Tinto’s industry-leading Mine of the Future™ programme, which connects all components of the mining value chain for the first time, as well as making increased use of automation and digitisation, according to Rio. Caterpillar’s machinery will be integrated with Rio Tinto’s Mine Automation System (MAS), which collects and enhances data created by the company’s mining operations, to improve productivity across Rio Tinto’s entire iron ore network.

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Chris Salisbury, said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with Caterpillar and WesTrac, the regional Cat dealer, to help make Koodaideri the most technology-enabled and innovative mine in our Pilbara iron ore network.

“Technology is rapidly changing our mining operations as we harness innovation to make our operations safer, smarter and more productive. This extension of our partnership with Caterpillar and WesTrac represents an exciting step for our business.”

Denise Johnson, Group President Resource Industries, Caterpillar Inc, said: “The Caterpillar team is looking forward to working with Rio Tinto to apply our proven mining equipment and technology and to implement additional MineStar™ autonomy solutions at Koodaideri—a new mine designed to capitalise on leading-edge technology.

“We are excited to work together to advance Rio Tinto’s mine automation and digitalisation program.”

Koodaideri will deliver a new production hub for Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in the Pilbara. Construction work has commenced, and first production is expected in late 2021. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the Pilbara Blend, Rio’s flagship iron ore product.

As mine construction advances, WesTrac will manage logistics of mining machine delivery and commissioning and play a key role in implementing technology solutions.

Jarvas Croome, WesTrac CEO, said: “WesTrac is excited to be part of the Koodaideri project and to work with Caterpillar to deliver ground-breaking equipment solutions to support Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future vision.”

Last week, FLSmidth announced it would bring the latest smart 3D design to Koodaideri after announcing a contract win.