|Caterpillar SD70ACe Electro Motive|
Let's face it, if you saw the Caterpillar booth at MINExpo you saw the whole show. Nobody's booth was bigger than Caterpillar's. Other manufacturers looked like also-rans at the racetrack.
Caterpillar unveiled their SD70ACe Electro Motive at the show but dominated floor space with the biggest of big screen TV's.
What follows is a guided tour of the equipment that Caterpillar had on display at MINExpo. I tried to get a picture of every piece of equipment. There were a lot of them and I apologize if I missed any.
|Caterpillar's Big-big screen TV|
Cat brought three of the world's largest haul trucks to the show. I think they did this just because they could. Seeing these massive vehicles side by side was really a great way to highlight the differences between them.
|Caterpillar 797F Haul Truck|
The Cat 797F offers a 400 ton payload making it one of the largest trucks in production. This behemoth represents more than a million pounds of steel sitting on the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
|Caterpillar 795F Haul Truck|
Caterpillar has ventured into the world of electric drive trucks with the 795F. This truck has a payload of 345 tons. It's smaller than the 797F but who can tell?
|Caterpillar 793F Haul Truck|
The 'smallest' of the big trucks, the Cat 793F has a 250 ton payload. Seeing it next to the 345 and 400 ton trucks is one of the only ways to tell that this truck is 'small' in any sense of the word.
|Caterpillar 777G Haul Truck|
It's hard to think of the 100 ton Cat 777G truck as being small but next to its neighbors at MINExpo it certainly was. The Cat 'triple seven' haul truck has been the work horse of the mining industry. I've seen 777 trucks at more mines than I can think of. They're big enough for most large mines and reliable enough for smaller mines.
Caterpillar equipment always looks good with the new yellow paint and the loading equipment on display was no exception. From loaders to rope shovels the Cat earth movers were fun to look at.
|Caterpillar 6030B Hydraulic Shovel|
With a 22 cubic yard bucket, the Cat 6030B Hydraulic Shovel isn't the biggest shovel out there but it is about the biggest piece of equipment you could hope to fit indoors.
|Caterpillar Wire Rope Shovel Bucket|
The sign in front of this wire rope shovel bucket said that this design ranged from 50-70 cubic yards. The wire rope shovels are definitely too big to be brought inside the convention center. This bucket even makes me look small. You can't tell from the picture, but I'm 6'5" tall. I look big next to most things that aren't mining related.
|Caterpillar Wire Rope Shovel Cab|
To offset the giant bucket, the Cat guys wanted to bring in the cab of one of their wire rope shovels. I guess this is the next best thing to having a giant wire rope shovel poking out of the roof of the convention center.
|Caterpillar 994H Wheel Loader|
With a bucket size ranging from 19-47 cubic yards the Cat 994H wheel loader is versatile enough for most mines. This is the biggest model that Cat offers and with the right operator this can really move muck.
|Caterpillar D11T Track Dozer|
The Cat D11T is the classic track type dozer. In any other setting the D11T would be a huge and impressive piece of equipment. Only the other massive mining equipment can make it look small (sort of). Even compared to the shovels and trucks on the mine site the D11T is large and in charge.
The Caterpillar drills aren't as exciting to me as some of the other equipment but they are still shiny and new, not to mention large and yellow.
|Caterpillar MD5150 Track Drill|
The Cat MD5150 is the largest track drill that Caterpillar offers. With a maximum hole diameter of 6 inches the MD5150 can drill up to 102 foot long holes. What you are looking at in this picture is the main part of the machine. The floor layout wouldn't allow me to get the whole machine in one shot.
|Caterpillar MD6240 Rotary Drill|
Though it is the smallest of the Cat rotary drills, the MD6240 can still drill a blast hole up to 10 inches in diameter. Once again the spacing of the show didn't allow for a complete photo.
Underground Mining Equipment
Underground mining equipment is the ultimate in rugged machinery. It is built to stand up to a brutal environment without ever seeing the light of day. I always laugh at open pit mining guys who complain about road grades in excess of 10%. Underground equipment routinely climbs 15% grades with no problem.
|Caterpillar AD60 Underground Articulated Truck|
Underground mining trucks are one of the more ingenious applications of technology in the mining industry. Low profiles and ejector plates make it possible to have dump trucks underground without gigantic openings. The AD60 articulated truck is the largest underground truck Cat offers with a payload of 66 tons.
|Caterpillar Underground Continuous Miner (front)|
I didn't get a number off the continuous miner on display but I did get two views of it. The front end uses the drum and bits to break up coal or rock and the arms load the chain belt.
|Caterpillar Underground Continuous Miner (rear)|
The chain conveyor transports the broken material to the rear of the continuous miner where it is loaded onto a buggy. Most continuous miners now have the option to be remote controlled, allowing the operator to stay well away from the working face.
|Caterpillar Underground Longwall Shearer|
If it was unbelievable that you could use a dump truck underground you will be truly amazed at the longwall shearer. This piece of equipment goes back and forth along a coal face 700-1000 feet wide, breaking up a few feet of coal on each pass. The broken coal falls onto the chain conveyor and is hauled to the main conveyor belt. Longwall mining is used in retreat and is a very efficient method of mining coal.
Longwall mining operations are supported by continuous miner crews to prepare the entries and initial mining face. As hard as the continuous miner crews work, the longwall shearer will easily out produce two or three crews working in the same mine.
|Caterpillar Underground Longwall Shields|
Longwall shields work in concert with the longwall shearer. The shields protect the shearer and miners from falling rock. The shields also direct the breaking of rock in the roof. Longwall shields are big, impressive piece of equipment but, contrary to popular belief, they don't actually hold up the weight of the rock above them. Even soft sandstone would need only a few hundred feet of depth to exceed the loading capacity of a longwall shield. Longwall mining is a retreat operation and it is important that the longwall keep moving. If forces are allowed to build up mining can become extremely dangerous.
That's what I got from the Caterpillar display at MINExpo 2012 in Las Vegas. I think I got some photos of everything but I probably missed something, there was so much to see. If you have pictures of equipment from the Cat booth I would love to see them.
Other MINExpo posts:
Registration MINExpo 2012
Caterpillar Steals Show MINExpo 2012