Caterpillar presented a number of new longwall mining products and solutions at the International Trade Fair for Mining, Power Generation and Metallurgy in Katowice/Poland. Together with the regional Cat® dealer, Bergerat Monnoyeur, Caterpillar showcased its latest technologies in the MCK Hall.
The Caterpillar exhibit featured digital presentations of new longwall machines, technologies and services – all designed to make longwall mining safer, more efficient and more productive. A highlight was the virtual reality experience, which enables customers to experience newly developed virtual reality service tools for Cat longwall systems (Figure 1).
Similar technology was used for the new Cat Virtual Reality Training & Simulation system. Real-time and realistic interactive 3D visualizations of real operations with Cat Virtual Reality Services offer opportunities to help trainees and operators understand the complex mechanics and operations of a complete longwall system, where so many pieces of equipment are interrelated.
Digital presentations also demonstrated Cat shearer automation – using technology for face alignment, horizon control and extraction control. Also, the latest version of Cat longwall machine monitoring, Cat MineStar™ Health for Longwall, was shown. Health for Longwall is a cost-effective and user-friendly data visualization and reporting tool. It empowers managers to efficiently view, manage and use machine data to make informed maintenance decisions that will help maximize the availability of longwall equipment.
Caterpillar designs and manufactures complete longwall systems customized to optimize performance in specific applications (Figure 2). The Katowice exhibit presentations featured new longwall components, such as the Cat EL1000 Shearer, designed for low to mid seam heights. This latest addition to the successful range of Cat shearers covers seam heights from 1.6 to 3.2 m.
The recently introduced Cat PF HD Line Pan for armored face conveyors is especially designed for heavy-duty longwall applications with demanding conditions. The new pan is the most robust and reliable Cat line pan, lasting up to two times the life of corresponding PF5 and PF6 pans.
The exhibit also previewed the Cat HTD4100 High Torque Drive System for longwall armored face conveyors. The drive enables a higher level of automation for enhanced speed and torque control and real-time monitoring, and its modular design simplifies installation and maintenance. The converter-controlled torque motor offers fast response and precise control to reduce conveyor chain wear and failures.
Caterpillar also previewed its next generation roof support control, PMC-R 2.0. It is the successor to the very successful Cat PMC-R control unit. The new roof support control unit is designed to meet the automation needs of modern, high-performance longwall operations. Advanced microcontroller technology with increased computing power and enhanced communication capabilities offers improved functionality to control roof supports in a self-advancing longwall system. The new controller also features enhanced serviceability.
Caterpillar and Cat dealers have created a one-of-a-kind, on-site support network for delivering expert service, integrated solutions, after-sales support, fast and efficient parts fulfillment, world-class remanufacturing services and more. Services now include Caterpillar Accredited Rebuilds (CAR) for longwall roof supports. The CAR program offers a like-new roof support with a new machine warranty and a new serial number, all at a fraction of the cost of a comparable new roof support.
Cat dealers also offer Customer Service Agreements, which deliver an innovative, end-to-end mining solution for the overhaul of underground mining equipment. Cat dealers offer field proven experience in the overhaul of underground mining equipment. The Customer Service Agreement is a guarantee of higher efficiency, delivered through superior quality parts and workmanship, resulting in reliable operation and extended durability.
At Katowice Mining Fair, Caterpillar and Cat dealers also showed their commitment to work alongside customers to improve performance across the operation, leveraging every longwall system component, tool and technology to help improve safety, efficiency and productivity.