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April 12, 2019updated 16 Apr 2019 2:00pm

Caterpillar reveals plans for the R1700 XE, its first electric underground loader

US construction equipment company Caterpillar has unveiled its first electric underground loader, which will be use lithium ion batteries.

By JP Casey

US construction equipment company Caterpillar has unveiled its first electric underground loader, which will use lithium ion batteries.

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Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
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The new LHD vehicle, the R1700 XE, will be based on the R1700, a 15-tonne loader that was itself a step towards cleaner operations when it was launched in 2018. The original R1700 was 34% more fuel efficient than previous Caterpillar loaders. The XE will incorporate a number of the R1700’s features, including a 65% increase in lift force over previous models.

Because it will use lithium ion batteries, this model sees a ten-fold decrease in total energy costs and an eight-fold drop in heat generated, compared to entirely the diesel-powered R1300. The XE will use a standalone fast charging system that will allow for onboard charging of the batteries.

“For underground mining specifically, this electrification experience was reinforced by the development of a proof of concept machine,” said Caterpillar in a statement. “Caterpillar converted a conventional diesel Cat LHD into a battery electric platform.

“Both the loader and charging system saw substantial testing at Caterpillar’s Peoria proving grounds, and that was followed by weeks of operation and testing at a customer’s mine in Canada.”

The loader was tested at Glencore’s Sudbury nickel mine in Ontario, which mined more than two million tonnes of nickel ore in 2018 across two operations, demonstrating its effectiveness at a large-scale project. The technology could be of interest to Glencore, which is under pressure from shareholders, including the Church of England, to cut down on its carbon emissions, following a year in which it produced close to 130m tonnes of coal.

The XE is the latest all-electric vehicle to join Caterpillar’s fleet, following the announcement of a prototype 26-tonne excavator developed with Pon Equipment. This vehicle is powered by a 330kWh battery pack that weighs 3.4 tonnes. The company also unveiled two new all-electric trucks in November 2018.

Caterpillar’s commitment to electrification could have significant impacts on the wider mining industry, with the equipment manufacturer supplying vehicles and technology to thousands of mining and construction companies from 226 dealers. The company’s market capitalisation has also increased dramatically over the last decade, from a low of $10.52bn in 2009 to $84.14bn ten years later, according to Macro Trends.

“In designing the R1700 XE, Caterpillar is relying on a wealth of experience in designing electrified machines and power generation components and solutions,” said Caterpillar. “Caterpillar has used the insight gained from its proof of concept testing to develop the R1700 XE and the MEC 500 charging system as a safe and productive option for mines going to battery electric fleets.”

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Free Report
img

Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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