September 22, 2012
Investment for growth is the mantra for Caterpillar‘s surface material handling products, says Sri Srinath, Cat’s surface material handling products segment manager. As part of its investment, Caterpillar is focusing on quality improvements in its new and existing product lines, as well as productivity, serviceability, and operator ease and comfort. At the same time, the company continues to incorporate its values of safety and sustainability in equipment updates.
Drills, Srinath says, are one area of focus. “I’m here to tell you it’s a core product,” he says. “We’re investing in it.” Cat currently has six models of rotary drills, ranging from the MD6240 to the MD6750, and five track drills for the aggregate market: the MD5050, MD5050 T, MD5075 MD5090, and MD5125.
The goal, he explains, is to expand the company’s offerings into smaller sizes of rotary drills as well as a down-the-hole track drill. This year, the company has introduced the MD5150, which reduces cycle time and improves productivity; the MD6240, which delivers high productivity and reliability along with low cost of ownership, the MD6420B, which has a new global platform and is fully autonomous ready; and the MD6540, which represents a new generation in a larger size class.
“Autonomy is very important because operators are hard to find and there are some areas where it may not be safe,” Srinath says. The first cab-less drill is being tested and is reportedly working well. Cat is working with several mining companies to develop autonomous drills.
Finally, the company is working to “Caterpillarize” its drills to make it easer for dealers to service units through use of common engines, transmissions, and hoses, among other parts. A major investment has been made in its Denison, Texas, facility where the Caterpillar Production System (CPS) is being deployed. “We’re modernizing our factory and expanding our capacity,” Srinath says, noting that the units will be sold through Cat dealers.