We’re focused on being a partner beyond the iron, helping our customers optimize operations at every level – from machines to individual sites to the complete mining enterprise. We collaborate with customers and develop solutions that combine products, technologies, analytics and other services, helping them work more efficiently, boosting productivity and keeping people safe. Miners are looking for new ways to optimize operations, and automation is a key value-driver in reducing variability and increasing productivity. Caterpillar can assist in the transition to an automated operation through the integration of people, processes and technology. We believe one of the essential contributors to the success of the system is the expertise that goes along with its deployment. We have experienced teams that work with Cat® dealers to implement the system, as well as on-site personnel who help customers run their autonomous operations. Autonomous haulage fleets improve productivity by 30 percent or more compared to best-in-class manned sites.
Caterpillar’s Resource Industries business drives operational excellence with a focus on Lean manufacturing and a competitive and flexible cost structure. In 2018 we reached a significant operational excellence milestone as our 40,000th large dozer rolled off the production line in East Peoria, Illinois, USA. With industry leading quality and performance, the D11 dozer was put to work by our customer Teck Resources Limited (“Teck”). Teck has purchased more than 160 D11 dozers over the last 10 years – more than any other large dozer customer. During a celebration of the milestone, Teck’s representatives acknowledged Caterpillar and our employees at the dozer facility for their manufacturing excellence.
Large mining trucks continue to be foundational for Resource Industries, and customers want solutions based on application. In 2018, the team launched two new electric-drive trucks – the 360-ton 796 AC and the 410-ton 798 AC – which fill payload gaps and allow Caterpillar to offer the most comprehensive truck lineup in the mining industry. We also made significant investments in our hard rock underground business. We launched the completely revamped R1700 underground load-haul-dump loader, our first ground-up machine in nearly two decades, and a new underground truck model, the AD22, expanding the Cat® underground truck product lineup into a new size class. In addition, we developed a new battery electric machine and battery equipment charging system, providing an emissions-free solution for underground mining.
*Includes inter-segment sales
Caterpillar remains the leader in mining automation as we continue to expand offerings for both surface and underground mining operations. Cat® MineStar™ Command technologies enable different levels of automation, working on haul trucks, dozers, drills and underground loaders.
Our Command for hauling system, which enables fully autonomous haulage, continues to set records. We have more than 150 autonomous trucks in service, and in 2018 achieved over 1 billion tonnes hauled. These trucks have traveled over 35 million kilometers without a single lost-time injury.
The system continues to set records in terms of value as well. Our customers have reported productivity increases nearing 30 percent and reductions in the frequency of safety incidents by as much as 50 percent.
Our flagship autonomous operation, the Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) Solomon iron ore mine in Western Australia, has continued to add trucks to its autonomous fleet, and Fortescue is in the process of retrofitting the system on both Cat and competitive truck models at its Chichester Hub. We’ve also increased our focus on interoperability – making it possible for Cat technologies to be used on any brand of equipment, work on Cat machines already in the field, and integrate with mines’ enterprise systems and processes.
Technology solutions like Command for hauling are growing rapidly, and the speed at which they are being implemented continues to improve. Our first implementation took several years, and our most recent took just a few months. We combine our technology with proven processes that allow us to quickly get the system up and running so our customers can start reaping the benefits.