Rio Tinto optimises life for Cat D11T with strategic planning

In any operation, the need to remove a key asset for nine weeks makes a significant impact on delivering on production targets. When that asset is a powerhouse in mining applications, a Cat D11T dozer, strategic forward planning is critically important.

The Cat D11T Dozer is purpose built to move more material and ensure maximum availability through its planned life cycle.

For Rio Tinto, Dozer 79, had built up over 37,000 hours ripping, and pushing bauxite at their open cut mining operation in Gove, Northern Territory.

Rio Tinto knew that it wanted to undergo a Cat Certified Rebuild for its dozer but had to come up with an innovate way to do this while minimising equipment down time.

Rio Tinto superintendent, mining maintenance Brendan Coleing said that the Gove Operation has focused heavily on building safe and reliable machinery to meet the targeted life of their assets and maintenance schedules.

“With a 24/7 operation, we need to plan and strategically think about our assets, their maintenance and lifecycle,” he said.

“By planning large maintenance projects in advance, at Rio Tinto, we’ve been able to compensate for machinery downtime and achieve some great energy efficiencies.”

One of the key projects that helped to allow for the nine-week Cat Certified Rebuild was the D11R re-power project.

In early 2020, the Hastings Deering team worked with Rio Tinto on an innovative alternative solution for engine replacement in their D11R fleet that reduced costs, fuel use and emissions while extending lifespans.

This incorporated replacing the 3508 engines that the machines originally came out with, with the newer C32 engines.

“Recent success with repowering our D11 fleet with C32 engines, has helped our mining operations move more bauxite due to increased power in the machine,” Coleing said.

“This in turn allowed us to remove Dozer 79 out of production, and into the workshop to complete a Cat Certified Rebuild.”

Alongside the increase in machine availability, this project presented a budgeted fuel burn reduction of up to 25 per cent.

“Our like for like material movements are now done with significantly less fuel which is a great environmental outcome. They’re also quieter, making them a little more comfortable for the operator,” Cooling said.

With Cat equipment built to perform over multiple lifetimes, the Cat Certified Rebuild was the most efficient way to help get the most economic value out of the original asset investment.

A Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) is a full machine rebuild that provides a like-new machine, inclusive of all Cat updates to help achieve a full machine life supported by the Caterpillar warranty.

“Given Dozer 79’s upcoming power train, hydraulic and major component change outs, a Cat Certified rebuild was a cost-effective way for us to maintain the asset through to the end of its target life,” Cooling said.

Hastings Deering service manager Brad Read said that the CCR program was an efficient way for customers to improve the planned lifecycle of their machines.

“Customers opt for a Cat Certified Rebuild as it provides the ability to rebuild their machine, including all technological advancements, over purchasing a new machine,” Read said. “This helps to reduce capital expenditure.”

Read said that the Cat Certified Rebuild offered an extended scope or work over a standard rebuild and took careful planning between the Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering teams.

“The CCR takes up to 9 weeks to complete and covers an extended scope of work including power train replacement, hydraulics and electrical components, cab overhaul, work implement overhaul and ET testing and painting,” he said.

“Effective planning is critical to the success of a large-scale project like a CCR. The team needs to ensure all stages of the rebuild have been planned, scheduled and on time, to guarantee machine delivery back to the customer.

“It is essential to support our customers in their operation.”

By successfully planning the CCR after the success of the C32 repower project, Rio Tinto and Hastings Deering were able to improve the performance of its equipment and compensate for the removal of Dozer 79.

“By undertaking work in this manner, we’ve removed a mass amount of forward log of work, that not only gave us immediate availability but provided us with an improved asset through to the end of the machine life,” Coleing said.

The Cat Certified Rebuild Program now comes with an industry leading 24 month warranty coverage for peace of mind

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.