Caterpillar introduces its two newest mining products

William Gleason

November 10, 2014

Despite a global slowdown in most mining sectors, Caterpillar, the world's largest mining equipment producer continues to forge ahead. On Nov. 10, as part of its Loading and Hauling Mining Focus Session at its Tinaja Hills proving grounds south of Tucson, AZ the company unveiled to customers and media its two newest mining products, the 994K wheel loader and 6020B hydraulic shovel.

The Caterpillar 994K wheel loader builds on a nearly 25-year history of the 994 model but is the largest version yet (20 percent larger with a 30 percent increase in payload capacity). This behemoth of a machine is currently being tested at Caterpillar's Tucson Proving Grounds, Anglo Gold Ashanti's Cripple Creek and Victor gold mine in Colorado and Taseko's Gibraltor copper and molybdenum mine in British Columbia. With gross operating power of 1,377 kW (1,847 hp) it has a standard lift payload capacity of 41 t (45 st) and high lift capacity of 38 t (42 st).

The machine includes improved functionality, performance and safety.

"We had high expectations for the machine and we have been very impressed. We have averaged 20 hours a day on the machine and it is keeping up with hydraulic shovels, its production just floored us," said Greg Gibson, mine manager at Cripple Creek and Victor Gold.

With more size and power, the 994K, which is expected to go into production in January 2016 (just in time for the 25th anniversary of the 994 line), has earned rave reviews including one from an operator who said, "this is like taking one of the older 992s or 993s and putting it on steroids. It's been great to operate."

With a Cat 3516E engine, the 994K has an operating weight of 240,000 kg (527,000 lb) and bucket capacity of 19.1 - 24.5 m3 (25-31 cu yd).

Like the 994K, the 6020B started with a clean slate and was engineered from the ground up, based on thousands of hours worth of conversations with customers from around the world.

Anita Russwurm RPA Manager who has been with the project from its inception said the 6020 B was built to give Caterpillar's global customers what they have been asking for, a hydraulic shovel with a payload capacity of 22 t (24 st).

The 6020B features a state-of-the-art operating cab that enhances safety and performance and a modular design for fast field assembly. The machine that is being field tested in Canada was assembled in 13 days in -45 degree C temperatures. The 6020B is also being tested in Finland and Suriname where frequent rains have truly tested its ability.

Steve Maloney began testing the shovel when it was still an unpainted machine in the factory and even then he said he knew it was going to be a special machine. He has since worked with each of the field test sites where he has found exceptional performance.

The backhoe on the machine has a maximum digging depth of 8.1 m (26.7 ft), a maximum digging reach of 15.9 m (52.2 ft) and maximum digging height of 14 m (45.7 ft). It features a maximum tearout force of 650 kN (146,000 lb) and maximum breakout force of 730 kN (164,000 lb).

Both machines include advances in safety and serviceability. They are the newest products to a product line that is now more than 500.