Tag Archives: Texas

Komatsu to expand ‘mother plant’ in Longview, Texas

To upgrade and consolidate multiple functions into a single location, Komatsu is building a significantly expanded office and administration building on its manufacturing campus in Longview, Texas, USA.

Last month the company broke ground for the new 56,000-sq.ft (5,202 sq.m) building at 2400 S. MacArthur St. and is targeting a move-in date of December 2023.

With design and manufacturing responsibility for Komatsu’s electrical drive and SR (Switch Reluctance) hybrid drive systems for the company’s electric drive wheel loaders, the Longview campus also supports Komatsu’s global mining business through manufacturing assembly of other key parts and modules for electric rope shovels, rotary and track drills, trucks for surface mining, and underground hard-rock mining trucks and wheel loaders. Komatsu will also soon begin a project to expand the facility’s motor shop.

Designated a “mother plant” within the network of Komatsu’s global facilities, the Longview facility has research and development, design and manufacturing capability on one campus. Mother plants are tasked with strengthening the production competitive edge of their plants as well as those of their “child plants” that manufacture the same models, Komatsu explained.

“We value our partnership with the city of Longview and this investment is a reflection of Komatsu’s commitment to the southside of the city,” Jesse Dubberly, General Manager of Longview operations for Komatsu, said. “With new investments in this campus of close to $100 million, our goal is to continue to demonstrate that we are a solid community partner that offers good, family-sustaining jobs.

“By taking functions that were spread across six buildings and consolidating them into one new energy-efficient facility, we are constructing a building that is designed to not only better serve our existing workforce, but is also sized for our future growth.”

In addition to office facilities for up to 230 people, the new building will house an employee centre which includes a café, marketplace, indoor and outdoor seating, multipurpose room and Komatsu store; and a facility care centre maintained by the Environmental Health and Safety department that will provide an audiometric booth, first aid room, mother’s room and direct access for emergency vehicles in the event of an emergency. There will also be a Komatsu Customer Experience Center showcasing both Komatsu’s legacy and ingenuity.

Both the general contractor, Transet Co., and the engineering firm, Johnson & Pace, are local Longview firms. The architectural design team for the project is Arkansas-based Polk Stanley Wilcox.

Caterpillar to relocate global headquarters to Texas

Caterpillar Inc has announced it will move its global headquarters to the company’s existing office in Irving, Texas, from its current location in Deerfield, Illinois, with the transition starting this year.

While the equipment maker has had a presence in Texas since the 1960s across several areas of the company, Illinois remains the largest concentration of Caterpillar employees anywhere in the world.

In 2017, the company announced it would move its global headquarters to Deerfield, following a decision to move out of Peoria.

On the plans for the most recent move, Caterpillar Chairman and CEO, Jim Umpleby, said: “We believe it’s in the best strategic interest of the company to make this move, which supports Caterpillar’s strategy for profitable growth as we help our customers build a better, more sustainable world.”

Wabtec to provide Fortescue locomotives with another 20 years of life

Wabtec Corporation has announced an agreement to modernise locomotives for Fortescue Metals Group, representing Wabtec’s delivery of the first fleet of modernised locomotives for an Australia-based customer.

The fleet will be transformed into AC44C6M locomotives to meet the performance requirements of Fortescue while delivering operational and environmental efficiencies, it explained.

“While we have completed more than 1,000 modernisations for customers globally, it’s a first for Australia and demonstrates Fortescue’s commitment to drive more sustainable rail operations,” Wendy McMillan, Senior Regional Vice President, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, said.

“By repurposing and rebuilding our locomotives, we give these heavy-haul trains another 20 years of life, while reducing the fuel consumption and maintenance, and repair and overhaul expenses by up to 20%. For Fortescue, the modernised trains will deliver up to a 55% increase in tractive effort and more than 40% increase in reliability.”

The modernised locomotives will benefit from improved performance and increased reliability with new features including a UX engine, new electrical cabinets, a new design high-efficiency radiator and radiator cab, an upgraded control system to remove obsolescence, and AC traction with individual axle control, Wabtec explained.

General Manager Hedland Operations, Mark Komene, said: “The procurement of the modernised locomotives is an important element of Fortescue’s locomotive fleet strategy. This newly modernised fleet will enable substantial long-term capital and operating costs savings, provide the latest traction and control technology, and enable future upgrades to alternative energy sources such as battery electric in support of Fortescue’s industry-leading target to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

The new AC44C6M locomotives will be rebuilt at Wabtec’s Fort Worth facility in Texas, USA, before making the journey to Western Australia over the next two years for deployment at Fortescue’s mining operations.

Wabtec’s modernisation program is a key component of the company’s effort to advance a circular economy. It updates ageing locomotives with customised solutions that range from simple changes including control system upgrades to complex restorations, such as the comprehensive transformation of an aged DC locomotive into an AC locomotive outfitted with state-of-the-art digital technology.

Fortescue, meanwhile, has progressively been looking to decarbonise its locomotive fleet, making plans to purchase two new battery-electric locomotives from Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, to transport its iron ore to port in Western Australia. This comes on top of trials at Fortescue Future Industries development facility in Western Australia of a locomotive operating solely on green ammonia and other green renewable fuels and technologies.

CSIRO talks up carbon dioxide game changer for low emission mining operations

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, says a next generation supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) powerplant could help accelerate mining operations to low emission outputs and meet large renewable energy targets.

Constructed by the Gas Technologies Institute (GTI), General Electric and other industry partners in the United States, these sCO2 powerplants are being explored in a collaborative program involving CSIRO.

The 10 MW-electric sCO2 pilot plant, currently being constructed in Texas, USA, will demonstrate a fully integrated power cycle that can be easily configured to operation on renewable energy, CSIRO says. When completed in June 2021, it will be the largest sCO2 powerplant demonstration facility of its kind in the world and will represent a significant step toward sCO2 technology commercialisation, it added.

While most powerplants use steam turbines to produce electricity, sCO2 powerplants use high temperature CO2 instead. By avoiding the use of water, advanced sCO2 power plants using renewable energy inputs have significant potential to transition mining operations to a low emission future, CSIRO says.

“The advantage is that sCO2 is a higher density working fluid, which means sCO2 power plants can be smaller, more efficient and not reliant on water for steam and cooling,” it said. “sCO2 powerplants can also be autonomous and operate using a wide range of heat sources.”

This makes such powerplants an ideal candidate to replace diesel generation in off-grid mining operations, as renewable energy can be used to power their operations for longer periods of time.

Many mining companies are committed to transitioning to low emissions technologies and widespread implementation of sCO2 power generation technologies could be a game changer for the mining industry globally and help accelerate the world’s transition to a low carbon future, according to CSIRO.

CSIRO’s partnership in the Gas Technologies Institute Program will improve understanding of how sCO2 powerplants can enable lower and zero emission technology solutions, and how they might be used in remote off-grid mining and community locations as a low-cost alternative to diesel fuel power generation, it said.

The powerplants also provide a potential future replacement for large grid-connected electricity generation.

A renewable energy solution

For CSIRO, the use of concentrated solar thermal (CST) technologies to provide the renewable energy solution for these sCO2 power plants is also a focus. CST technologies capture and store heat, which make it an ideal solution for a sCO2 powerplant. The Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI), which is managed by CSIRO, is leading efforts in this area.

For mining operations, the use of portable, scalable and low-cost thermal energy storage (TES) will be a critical enabler for sCO2 power plants. TES can be used to store heat, which can then be used day or night to run a sCO2 power plant.

The addition of TES can make 24/7 renewable mining operations a reality, CSIRO says. Australia’s TES efforts under the GTI Program will be delivered in partnership with Graphite Energy.

Keith Vining, Research Group Leader for Carbon Steel Materials, CSIRO Mineral Resources, said taking advantage of Australia’s solar resource to operate sCO2 powerplants for the purposes of mineral processing is a positive development.

“Metal production is highly energy intensive,” Vining said. “In most cases metal production from Australia’s mineral resources is performed overseas using traditional fossil fuel energy sources.

“In a low carbon world, there is an opportunity to perform more on-shore processing and replace traditional fossil fuel energy sources with renewable energy resources in the commodity value chain. The use of sCO2 powerplants operating on renewable energy could make this opportunity a reality.”

This research is part of the Joint Industry Partnership of the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) project known as STEP Demo.

The construction of the STEP project demonstration plant is nearing completion, with equipment installation underway in San Antonio, Texas. It is expected to be operational in mid-2021.

The site will be able to demonstrate performance over a range of operating conditions and allows flexibility to be reconfigured to accommodate ongoing testing and technology optimisation, according to CSIRO.

The supercritical CO2 cycles will be able to operate using a wide range of heat sources, including fossil fuel (natural gas), renewables (concentrated solar, biomass, geothermal), next-generation nuclear, industrial waste heat recovery, and ship-board propulsion.