May 17, 2020

The benefits of the Caterpillar R1700K underground loader

MINExpo 2016
Mining technology
caterpillar mining
Dale Benton
3 min
Caterpillar unveils underground loader
Minexpo 2016 – remember that?

Im sure most of you do, especially if youre interested in the latest underground mining vehicle technology.


Minexpo 2016 – remember that?

I’m sure most of you do, especially if you’re interested in the latest underground mining vehicle technology.

Well, Cat® announced just that – the new R1700K Underground Loader, featuring multiple engine configurations, a new ergonomic operator cabin and greater payload to help miners drive down costs and boost productivity.

In this modern market, productivity (which we reported to be down across the industry) and cost efficiency is crucial.

“The R1700K Underground Loader is designed to help customers lower cost per ton—through increased payload, improved pile penetration and greater breakout forces,” said Steve Rich, Product Manager Hard Rock Vehicles for Caterpillar.

The R1700K will be put through the paces, with rigorous field testing in 2017 before commercially launching in 2018.

So let’s take a look at what makes the R1700K Underground Loader one to keep an eye on:

First things first, straight from Cat: “The compact profile, efficient power train and rugged construction deliver low cost-per-ton truck loading and load-haul-dump production in underground mining applications”

Cat promises that the loader delivers a payload of 15 tonnes (16.5 tons), which is an impressive 20 percent more than the previous model and supporting efficient three-pass loading of the 45-tonne-capacity (50-ton-capacity) Cat AD45B Underground Truck

Multipole engine configurations are available for the Loader in a bid to enable miners to better optimize the loader for lowest total costs in various applications. So, all configurations use the proven Cat C13 ACERT™ engine. This engine can be configured for applications that require compliance with the highest emission standards in underground applications. Not only that, the engine allows optimisation for customers who are striving to improve underground air quality.

A mining operation is only as good as the miners themselves, which means safety is paramount to efficiency.

An open ROPS/FOPS cab and an enclosed cabin will allow increased leg room, multiple ergonomic adjustments, and automatic climate control and filtered ventilation in the enclosed cab enable operators to work in a comfortable environment.

Underground mining is not without its complications and the need for simplicity can make a huge difference in productivity. In comes the Loader.

Pilot hydraulic controls enable precise operation with low effort.  Switches and control panels are located central to the operator and within arm’s reach for fast adjustment to the operation of the machine or systems. There is even an optional rearview camera that can display its view on the easy-to-read color LCD monitor.

It doesn’t stop there, the LCD monitor presents live diagnostic code feedback- meaning users are able to identify an issue effective immediately and work to fix it as quickly as its noticed.

Moving more, safely

The bucket has an increased throat angle to allow for faster filling and better material retention during tramming. New Cat Bolt On GET (Ground Engaging Tools) are designed for use in abrasive applications where high wear rates make welded GET impractical.

The system also delivers more available wear material for longer life and greater uptime. Built-in wear indicators and replacement corner segments allow the system to be integrated into scheduled maintenance regimens.

A traction control system enables complete control over drive power to each wheel independently. This means minimal tire slip, optimum traction, and the ability to penetrate the pile more effectively for fast loading.

It is equipped with multiple subsystems for fast technology implementation. The Cat line-of-sight remote control systems allow operators to control their machines from safe distances, and the Cat Command for underground, semi-autonomous system enables operators to work from a remote location. Remote machine health monitoring, payload monitoring and other technology options can be installed at the factory or in the field.


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Get in touch with our editor Dale Benton at [email protected]

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Jun 30, 2021

Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech

Rio Tinto
3 min
Rio Tinto and Alcoa’s JV project ELYSIS has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint

Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.

ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production

ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.

The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.

The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).

The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.

The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.

ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.

ELYSIS technology at a glance:

  • The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
  • The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
  • In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
  • ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.

ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.

Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.


Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”

Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”

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