Caterpillar underground loader impresses during trials

The Cat R1700. Image: Caterpillar.

Caterpillar has launched the Cat R1700 underground mining loader, which features a new design that has delivered high productivity and efficiency during field trials and in production studies.

The R1700 carries a payload of 15 tonnes, 20 per cent more than its predecessor while maintaining the dimensions of the R1700G.

According to Caterpillar, a recent head-to-head study and multiple field trials show the machine leverages its payload advantage to deliver faster truck loading and more productive load-and-carry operations while using less fuel per hour.

“The R1700 gains cycle time advantages through fast bucket loading due to high breakout forces and a new traction control system that limits tire slip when the bucket enters the pile,” Caterpillar said in a statement.

“The result is fast loading, good bucket fill factors and reduced tire wear. Excellent machine balance and a new electrohydraulic braking system aid load-and-carry cycles.”

Caterpillar has boosted the fuel efficiency in the latest loader through on-demand adjustment of the cooling fan and the hydraulic system, as well as the efficiency of the Cat C13 engine.

The loader’s six-cylinder engine, which produces 269kW in standard configuration, is turbocharged and air-to-air aftercooled.

Caterpillar has focused on designing the R1700 to make best use of technology to boost productivity even further.

It has made the Autodig system optional to help new operators be productive from day one and to reduce fatigue for experienced operators.

The MineStar Command for underground system offers a selection of control technologies, including line-of-sight remote control, teleremote control from a distant operator station, semi-autonomous operation, and fully autonomous operation.

Caterpillar also promises new levels of operator comfort and control for underground operations.

“Operators will appreciate the responsiveness of the machine,” Caterpillar stated. “During the load or dump cycle, the harder the operator pushes the controls, the faster the machine responds.

“The steering system is pilot controlled to provide more precise feel for the operator during manoeuvres in tight places.”

For maintenance purposes, the R1700 features several components that have modular designs so they can be easily removed and replaced.