A Cat® 992D Wheel Loader in Bulgaria, recently retired to a museum, has reached a milestone few machines in its class ever achieve. During its 18 years of service, it loaded an estimated 61,800,000 tonnes of ore and worked over 100,000 hours.
Assarel-Medet JSC Mining and Processing Complex purchased the machine in 1995 from local Cat dealer Eltrak Bulgaria. The company, which is the leading and largest open pit mining and copper ore processing company in Bulgaria, produces around 50% of the nation’s copper – processing around 13 million tonnes of ore per year.
During its time in service, the powertrain, engine, and torque converter were overhauled. A strict maintenance programme was followed and genuine parts and components were used to ensure high productivity levels were maintained.
"Wheel loaders are an extremely important tool in the production cycle and often work in demanding conditions,” said Randy Aneloski, Caterpillar marketing specialist for large wheel loaders. “When the 992 was first introduced in 1968, it was intended to last through multiple engine lives, but we didn’t envision it delivering 100,000 hours of service. It’s a testament to a very good maintenance program by both Assarel-Medet and Eltrak Bulgaria.”
The first Cat 992 in the D Series rolled off the production line in 1992. At that time, this 10.7 cubic metre loader was the seventh model in Caterpillar’s line of wheel loaders, in addition to being the largest. It’s powered by a 12-cylinder 3412 diesel engine. Since then, the Cat 9 Series wheel loaders have undergone continued research and development upgrades, evolving with the B, C, D, E, F, G Series to the current Cat 993K unit.
The Cat 992D has earned its place in the Assarel Medet museum, where it’s now displayed. It’s been replaced by the latest Cat model, the 993K, which will work in the highest-yielding copper mine in Bulgaria.The Assarel Medet team looks forward to another long-serving and productive life for the new 134-tonne 993K wheel loader. The new machine will certainly be put to the test, as it will work three shifts, 365 days a year.