Tag Archives: MineStar

Fortescue’s autonomous haul truck fleet at Christmas Creek still growing

Fortescue Metals Group has now seen 35 manned haul trucks converted to autonomous mode at its Christmas Creek operations in the Pilbara of Western Australia, with Caterpillar recently completing a Command for hauling installation on a Komatsu 930 E, according to the iron ore miner.

The company shared the news ahead of an investor and media tour of the company’s operations this week.

During the tour, attendees will take in details of the company’s new 60.1% Fe product, West Pilbara Fines, in addition to viewing the innovative relocatable conveyor that started operating earlier this year.

Visitors can also expect to see first-hand Fortescue’s roll out of autonomous haulage technology. This includes a global first where Cat Command for hauling, part of Caterpillar’s MineStar technology offering first used on a commercial scale at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub operation, has been retrofitted on a CAT 789D and a Komatsu 930E haul truck.

Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said: “Fortescue has led the way globally in embracing automation at our operations. The 789D is the 35th manned truck to be converted to autonomous at Christmas Creek, demonstrating our progress to becoming the only iron ore operation in the world to have a fully autonomous haulage fleet.”

Gaines said the tour will also see the company discuss Fortescue’s new energy agenda, including the integration of renewable energy and its recently announced landmark partnership with CSIRO to commercialise hydrogen technology.

Cat D11 Dozer set for a revamp

Cat is updating its D11 Dozer with new load-sensing hydraulics, high-horsepower reverse and the latest technology as the OEM looks to provide higher material movement at a lower cost per tonne.

Engineered to be rebuilt multiple times, the new D11 has a redesigned main frame delivering lower total cost of ownership over the life of the machine, Cat says. Time-saving service updates reduce daily maintenance and boost machine uptime.

The machine is being trialled in North America this year before being rolled out commercially in the June quarter of 2019.

New load-sensing hydraulics and new drive train components deliver up to 8% fuel efficiency gains compared with the previous model, Cat says.

The variable hydraulic pumps adjust output to meet demand, which saves energy, reduces heat generation and extends component life, according to the company. The new stator clutch torque divider provides improved drive train efficiency and, when combined with the new, high-horsepower reverse function, the machine delivers 4-8% greater productivity while burning less fuel.

The redesigned structures and components increase reliability and durability for higher utilisation. For example, the larger equaliser bar features an improved bearing design to increase reliability.

“The new D11 also improves on the time-tested elevated sprocket undercarriage with a more robust track roller frame to extend component service life. Replaceable bearings on the ripper and blade pin boreholes and new push arm trunnion bearing inserts offer fast replacement and extend component life,” Cat says.

The D11 is available with a choice of emissions solutions to meet regional requirements, the Cat C32 engine delivers power ratings of 634 kW forward and 712 kW reverse for increased performance. A new single-plane cooling system design better dissipates heat to maintain consistent operating temperatures, even in extreme heat, and it provides easier core cleanout. This is of importance to the Tier 4 Final solution, which generates more heat than the Tier 2 equivalent.

In addition, improved reversing fan function delivers greater reverse airflow for radiator cleanout, Cat says.

The company also highlights a 30% larger engine oil sump capacity, which extends preventive maintenance intervals to 500 hours in challenging environments, giving customers more uptime.

“The ground-level electrical centre provides convenient access to the lockout control, engine shutdown switch, and switches for access ladder raise/lower and remote-control mode options.

“Service technicians can also fill the Auto Lube system and change the coolant and hydraulic, engine and powertrain oil from the ground,” Cat says.

Standard features built into the new D11 offer improved access to the operator compartment, with the cab door mounted for either left- or right-side opening. Delayed egress lighting allows the operator to exit an illuminated dozer, while access lighting is controlled from either the cab or ground-level electrical centre.

The new operator station features high-definition touchscreen displays with scalable electronic architecture, while the dynamic fluid monitoring system displays fluid levels and warns the operator of low-fluid conditions.

Caterpillar is now offering a range of standard and optional technologies for the new D11 to allow work to be “done more efficiently, more accurately and at a lower cost”.

Standard Automated Blade Assist makes use of pre-set blade pitch position to increase efficiency while reducing operator workload. Fuel efficiency and productivity are optimised through Enhanced Auto Shift, which automatically selects the optimal gear and engine speed based on powertrain load and desired ground speed.

The D11 is also available with AutoCarry™, which automatically changes blade position to keep track slip at a minimum to optimise productivity when pushing a load. The optional Auto Ripper Control reduces operator fatigue and decreases machine wear by monitoring and automatically adjusting engine speed and ripper depth to minimise track slip.

Cat Product Link™, also available, enables remote reporting of critical operating data like machine location, operation and condition, and allows data tracking from anywhere through VisionLink™.

Available Cat MineStar™ technologies for the D11 include Terrain for grading, which guides the operator in grading to plan and boosts productivity by reducing rework. Command for dozing offers multiple levels of remote control as well as semi-autonomous operation, which enables a single remotely located operator to manage several dozers.