At a June 2017 Cat® MineStar™ mining technology demonstration held near Tucson, Arizona, program participants also heard updates on Cat technology products and services for mining.
The opening session included a presentation called “What Do Miners Care About,” during which two Caterpillar mining technology leaders discussed some of the biggest challenges in the industry and the technologies that can help address them.
“We understand that our customers are looking for consistency across their operations, reductions in cost, getting the maximum output from all of their assets,” said Craig Watkins, a Caterpillar mining technology manager. “We’re committed to helping them use Cat technologies to achieve those goals. And we’re also bringing in the right technology partners to ensure we can do that across the mine site, and across the mining enterprise.”
For example, Caterpillar has partnered with Trimble to help mines better manage their overall businesses. This collaboration leverages Caterpillar industry expertise and its MineStar suite of technology products along with Trimble’s Connected Mine™ platform. This platform integrates data from the mining enterprise and feeds it to the mine’s ERP system, providing one single data source for multiple sites. It also stores historical data to allow seamless technology transitions.
“Basically, this partnership allows miners to have the information they need to make better-informed business decisions,” said Watkins.
Additional partnerships include Maptek, a mine planning system that requires less human interaction and reduces human error, and FTP Solutions, which provides end-to-end network and infrastructure monitoring for Cat technology applications like office, servers, switches and onboard components.
Caterpillar also has working relationships with what it calls integration partners. “These relationships allow us to enhance our offerings across the value chain and ensure interoperability across multiple platforms and mixed-fleet environments,” explained Bill Dears, a Caterpillar commercial mining manager.
These partners include providers of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data management and reporting tools, such as JD Edwards and SAP, as well as site network communication providers like CISCO, Siemens and Extreme Networks.
The presenters also discussed the return miners can expect from their investment in Cat technologies.
“This is the exciting part,” said Watkins. “We have countless examples from our customers on how quickly they are achieving a Return on Investment (ROI) from their Cat technologies, and four months seems to be a magic number. We aren’t promising that, of course, but it does seem to be a sweet spot. Once you’ve gotten your ROI, it’s all upside from there. And when we bring in consulting services, we can help customers get even more value.”
Dears explained the impact these technologies can have on the overall mining business. “Our entire suite helps you manage your costs,” he said. “And when you better manage costs, you’re going to be more profitable.”
Additional presentations covered specific Cat technology products and services for mining, including:
- Fleet, an integrated fleet monitoring and management system that works with all types of assets and equipment and shares data with other Cat technologies.
- Terrain, a machine guidance technology with offerings for grading, drilling and loading.
- Detect, which incorporates a number of products to enhance safety, including Vision, Object Detection, Personnel for Longwall, Proximity Awareness and Fatigue Risk Management Solutions.
- Health, which includes the onboard hardware used to extract machine data from Cat and non Cat equipment; an office application that monitors alarms, events and productivity; and a laptop software that can be used to view and manage data.
- Cat Equipment Care Advisor, an application that automates the use of analytics and combines it with expert equipment knowledge to enable Cat dealer Condition Monitoring services.
- Command, which in addition to the hauling and dozing applications shown during the demonstration, also includes automation products for drilling and underground load-haul-dump applications.
- Mining Professional Services, which provides consulting services that focus on the mining business beyond machines. Caterpillar experts helps miners apply technologies and data analysis to capture the maximum value from their operations.
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