Machines in Action

Alongside the 200,000-ton-capacity dock at China's Qiangang port, a fully outfitted Cat wheel loader is dwarfed by the huge ship that has just docked. According to Chen Liang, duty leader of the mobile mechanical team for Qingdao Port Group's Qiangang Company, wheel loaders such as this mainly help in piling up ore in the huge and dark holds for the grab buckets of gantry cranes.

"Since the grab buckets cannot gather the ore when it is spread around in the hold, the wheel loaders are particularly important," Chen said. "Our biggest worry is that the wheel loader will break down while piling up the ore, because lifting each wheel loader in and out of the hold requires replacing the grab bucket, which takes more than 10 minutes. If the wheel loaders cannot run continuously, replacing them will waste a lot of time and the efficiency will be greatly reduced."

In the dim hold, Cat® 980H wheel loaders continuously coordinate with the grab bucket to pile up the iron ore. Ensuring a full load is unloaded each time, the Cat wheel loaders are perfectly attuned to the rhythm of the work.

"The hold is a confined space. When a 10,000-ton cargo ship enters the harbor for unloading, each wheel loader is required to operate in the dark and stuffy hold for a long time, which is challenging for both machines and people — ordinary loaders simply cannot do the job," Chen said. "However, being easy to handle, stable in operation and the user-friendly cockpit, Cat wheel loaders allow drivers to work very comfortably and safely, helping them work efficiently. We wouldn't be able to repeatedly beat our own ore unloading record without the excellent performance of Cat wheel loaders!"

A Cat wheel loader dwarfed by the immense ship