Caterpillar Inc. last week announced a series of investments that, over the next four years, will significantly enhance its position as a leading manufacturer of products and solutions for the global mining industry. The company will produce a full range of mining shovels, ranging from a 125-ton model through an 800-ton model.
Caterpillar selected its manufacturing facility in Aurora, Ill., for initial production of the new product range and is conducting a study of additional production sources in other parts of the world. In early 2011, Caterpillar will begin pilot production of the new 125-ton class shovel.
The first commercial shovels produced in Aurora are expected to be available later in 2011. The larger shovels are planned for commercial availability beginning in 2013 and through 2014.
This range will give customers a direct match for loading Caterpillar’s mining trucks — from the 100-ton class 777F through the 400-ton class 797F. The Aurora facility also produces Caterpillar’s largest wheel loaders, which are an alternative method for loading mining trucks.
“As we discuss solutions with our global mining customers, it’s clear they want a complete line of Caterpillar shovels to best match the full range of Caterpillar trucks operating at their mines,” said Chris Curfman, president of Caterpillar Global Mining.
The company is also accelerating previously announced capacity expansion plans for trucks in Decatur, Ill., with additional capacity expected to come on line beginning in 2011. The expansion in Decatur will increase truck capacity at the facility by nearly 30 percent. Decatur produces Caterpillar’s largest mining trucks, including the flagship 797F series truck, which has a maximum capacity of 400 tons.
In addition, Caterpillar plans to increase capacity for 60 and 100-ton trucks at its existing manufacturing facility near Chennai, India. The capacity expansion would more than double truck production capabilities in India. The expansion for its 100-ton 777D and 60-ton 773E trucks in India should be completed by early 2012.
Combined, the long-term shovel development program and added truck capacity represent investments of nearly $700 million in Caterpillar mining products through 2014.
Caterpillar is also updating the status of its new electric-drive mining trucks. The company currently has pilot units of its 345-ton 795F AC truck at customer sites for final evaluation, with commercial production set to begin in late 2010.
In early 2012, the company also plans to produce pilot units of the 793F AC truck with a 240-ton payload. Both the 793F AC and 795F AC will complement Caterpillar’s full range of mechanical drive trucks.
Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines.