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Cats dig into phosphate.

Caterpillar maintains steady progress with its mining shovel development

Caterpillar's first 5230 hydraulic mining shovel, weighing 307 t, is now well established at the Smoky Canyon phosphate mine of the Simplot Mining & Chemicals Group in the U.S. Here it is four-pass loading Cat 785 trucks (of which the mine operates seven) with about 140 t of chert overburden. This machine is equipped with a 17 [m.sup.3] bucket, with which the operators are achieving a high fill factor. The mine reports a July average of bank material loaded of 880 [m.sup.3]/h and expects at least a 15% improvement in this rate as personnel become more familiar with its operation.

The 5230 arrived at Smoky Canyon in April and started work at the beginning of May, taking less than 150 man-hours to build. The operators are pleased with the unit, reporting that it is quick and responds well.

Smoky Canyon is located in the southeast corner of Idaho at an altitude of some 2,300 m and produces about 3 Mt/y of ore. Hydraulic shovels are needed for their selectivity in mining multiple beds in which the ore thickness ranges from 610 mm to 3.7 m. A Liebherr 994 is also employed.

Caterpillar's new 5230 is available in a front shovel or backhoe (mass excavation) configuration, primarily matched to the Cat 785B mining truck but can also effectively load the Cat 777C and other trucks in the 91 to 177 t size class. Bucket capacity ranges for the front shovel configuration are from 14 to 17 [m.sup.3] and from 15.5 to 25 [m.sup.3] on the mass excavation version.

It is powered by a single 1,100 kW Cat 3516 diesel engine, which is quad-turbocharged, aftercooled and incorporates Electronic Unit Injectors (EUI). High displacement and low internal cylinder pressure and heavy duty components provide a reliable, durable, high performance engine. EUI continuously monitors sensor inputs to optimise timing and fuel injection, improving fuel efficiency and reducing maintenance costs associated with mechanical governor wear.

Caterpillar's exclusive Proportional Priority Pressure Compensated (Triple PC) hydraulic system provides on-demand pump flow to meet any hydraulic demand rapidly as well as reducing pump flow when there is no demand. Triple PC electronically monitors performance and operator input, then controls hydraulic pumps for optimum power and efficiency. By lowering pump flow when the demand disappears, hydraulic system heat loss is reduced, improving fuel efficiency and reducing noise. Automatic flow proportioning sends just the right level of pump output to the 5230's hydraulic circuit based on the flow requirements of the task in hand. If the machine requires more flow for the boom-up and stick-out function, for example, the system determines the exact amount of flow needed and adjusts it accordingly.

The Cat Vital Information Management System (VIMS) is used - an advanced information and diagnostic tool monitoring and managing key vital signs and providing information and action items to the operator through a message centre in the cab. The operator can access over 30 systems monitored by VIMS, which improves availability through better scheduling of downtime, faster diagnosis of problems and improved monitoring of machine health.

Shell-tine bucket construction provides strength and rigidity over the entire width of the bucket. Steel castings, in high stress areas like the front shovel bowl pivots, stick-bucket hinge point and corner adapters provide additional strength. High breakout and crowd forces and a curved profile aid prying action for better penetration and material roll into the bucket. Caterpillar expects the 5230 to achieve higher bucket fill factors, up to 95%, than the norm. The average bucket payload should be around 27 t. Throughout the development of this new mining shovel line, the focus has been on t/pass rather than bucket capacity.
5230 Specifications

                            Front shovel           Backhoe

Power                       1,100 kW               1,100 kW
Bucket capacity             14-17 [m.sup.3]        15.5-25 [m.sup.3]
Track gauge                 5,196 mm               5,196 mm
Maximum reach               15 m                   17.7 m
Maximum dump height         10.4 m                 10.1 m
Breakout force(1)           1,125 kN               873 kN
Crowd force(2)              1,250 kN               874 kN

1. Bucket cylinder.
2. Stick cylinder.


The large isolation mounted cab reduces noise and vibration. Cab pressurisation, positive filtered ventilation system and well positioned vents keep the environment clean and comfortable. The large inward slanted front window provides excellent visibility to the bucket. The operator controls and suspension seat are fully adjustable. Simplot's operators specifically commented on the low noise levels and ease of operation of this machine.

The 5430 shovel, the third and largest in the line, will be available in the following year. It is expected to weigh around 410 t and swing a 21.5 [m.sup.3] bucket as a front shovel, and a 20 [m.sup.3] mass excavation bucket. Flywheel horsepower will be some 1,600 kW and it is likely that two engines will be required. It should be able to five-pass load a 180 t truck (the Cat 789) in two minutes and take about 30 seconds longer to load the 217 t Cat 793 in six passes.
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Title Annotation:Caterpillar equipment used at the Smoky Canyon phosphate mine
Author:Chadwick, John
Publication:Mining Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 1994
Words:859
Previous Article:Mining zinc and lead at the top of the world.
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