During MINExpo 2016, Caterpillar highlighted its commitment to underground mining with a significant amount of space dedicated to underground mining equipment and solutions.
Prior to the launch of the exhibit, Robert Droogleever with Caterpillar’s underground mining division general manager told a group of editors that that 50 percent of the Caterpillar’s research and development resources for mining have been dedicated to underground mining, specifically in continuous mining applications.
“Underground mining is becoming more important to Caterpillar and to mining as a whole,” Droogleever said. He explained that the future of mining is autonomous mining and that the only way underground mining can achieve autonomy is through continuous mining machines, and not drill and blast methods.
Part of the underground mining package that was on display included a new loaded, the Cat R1700K Underground Loader. The loader features multiple engine configurations, a new ergonomic operator cabin and greater payload.
The R1700K delivers a payload of 15 t (16.5 st), 20 percent more than the previous model and supporting efficient three-pass loading of the 45-t (50-st)-capacity Cat AD45B Underground Truck. The R1700K will be commercially launched in 2018.
All options use the proven Cat C13 ACERT engine. This engine can be configured for applications that require compliance with the highest emission standards in underground applications, and it enables options for customers who are striving to improve underground air quality.
The R1700K is available in US EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage IV and in Tier 3/Stage III emissions compliance configurations. The Tier 4/Stage IV engine employs the Cat Clean Emissions Module, proven in millions of operating hours on a broad range of Cat equipment. The exhaust after treatment package components include a diesel particulate filter and a selective catalytic reduction catalyst to reduce both particulate and NOx emissions to near zero. The R1700K C13 Tier 4 Final engine has a gross engine power rating of 257 kW (345 hp) at 2050 rpm.