Caterpillar unveils tech packages for electric rope shovels

Caterpillar has announced two new optional technology solutions for the Cat 7495 and 7495 HF Electric Rope Shovels: the Integrated Technology Package and the Operator Assist Technology Package.

The new packages eliminate the need for one-off technology customization, and also offer faster technology installation and provide seamless integration of future technologies into machine operation.

They also offer improved health and productivity data tracking that help to reduce the number of unplanned machine outages, creating a more predictable maintenance schedule while extending component life.

First, the Integrated Technology Package fully integrates Cat Electronics into the machine’s design and provides the foundation to support future technology expansion. The package features six standard technologies, ranging from health monitoring to cycle segmentation to support improved uptime reliability, improved operator efficiency and enhanced cybersecurity. This upgrade also provides seamless integration of Cat MineStar Solutions’ comprehensive suite of operational technologies that help track, monitor and manage the shovel.

The Operator Assist Technology Package builds on the Integrated Technology Package and provides machine self-protection and control enhancements that simplify 7495 and 7495 HF operation. Without sacrificing productivity, this upgrade minimizes machine self-collisions and safeguards against operator practices that cause damage and allows less experienced operators to efficiently load trucks, while reducing the effort required to avoid poor digging practices that can impact machine availability and overall productivity.

Machine self-protection

The new Operator Assist Technology Package upgrade simplifies how the shovel is operated through machine self-protection. It automatically detects and avoids collisions between the dipper, crawler, boom bumper and cable management systems.

The technology’s LiDAR vision system scans the front of the shovel and algorithms integrate with operator commands to provide the least intrusive avoidance path. If a collision is unavoidable, the system will arrest machine motion to prevent or mitigate the collision. It reduces unplanned downtime, extends component life and improves total cost of ownership.

The package features the second generation of Enhanced Motion Control, encompassing all the improvements of the first generation. It also offers a new feature to protect the rotating undercarriage by alerting the operator when the turning angle exceeds 20 degrees, so corrective action can be taken.

Other features within the new Operator Assist Technology Package include:

  • Anti-swing in bank – prevents damaging side-loading forces on the dipper when the operator attempts to swing the dipper through the bank.
  •  Hoist stall prevention – monitors forces and optimizes crowd/retract commands to avoid stalling the dipper and prevent detrimental forces on the hoist gear-case.
  • Hoist rope slack prevention – automatically adjusts crowd and hoist references to maintain rope tension when slack is detected.
  • Boom jack minimization – automatically adjusts hoist and crowd to maintain proper rope tension and improves cycle times.
  • Rope crowd impact prevention – measures the force on the crowd rope and automatically adjusts motor output to avoid shock loading.
  • Rope crowd overspeed prevention – eliminates unnecessary wear on the crowd brake by providing more braking power to avert overspeed situations.

Prepared for the future

By providing the foundation for support technology expansion and integration, the Integrated Technology Package helps to provide more robust and reliable reporting. New Cycle Segmentation establishes operating key performance indicators (KPIs) and identifies dwell time when idle. It divides cycle time data into digging, swinging to the truck, dumping and swinging to the bank segments. This allows miners to track machine performance across different shifts and operators.

With this introduction, legacy reporting technologies change to new Machine Health, Vibration Monitoring, Payload Management and Bearing Temperature Monitor technologies.

  • Machine Health delivers improved reporting capabilities and provides remote real-time machine monitoring.
  • Using sensors to capture data from the crowd, hoist, swing motors and gearboxes, Vibration Monitoring examines vibration signals for changes, allowing for proactive maintenance to reduce unplanned outage downtime.
  • Payload Management provides real-time feedback on material moved to avoid truck over/underloading.
  • Bearing Temperature Monitor keeps track of hoist, swing and crowd bearing temperatures and alerts the operator if figures rise beyond established thresholds.

The optional Integrated Technology Package will be available in standard and premium subscription levels. Standard subscriptions include all package technologies and push notifications for software updates. Premium subscriptions include all standard features plus vibration data analysis, monthly report generation from a Caterpillar engineer and in-person consultation to review the report’s findings and conclusions. 

New Cat 7495 and 7495 HF shovel purchases can be optionally equipped with the Integrated Technology Package and Operator Assist Technology Package starting in 2023. Availability of the technology packages as field retrofit kits is scheduled for mid-2023.

Source: Caterpillar

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