The new Cat R1700 XE Underground Battery-Electric LHD

In support of our customers’ goals for reduced carbon operations and leveraging over 400 Caterpillar advanced power system design patents, the new electric Cat R1700 XE LHD offers 100% battery-electric propulsion, producing zero exhaust emissions and significantly less heat generation than a reciprocating engine powered model for underground mining operations. The new underground LHD matches the performance of the diesel-powered R1700 while using switch reluctance (SR) technology that draws from Caterpillar’s more than 15 years of electric drivetrain experience and thousands of field application operating hours.

Cat R1700 XE underground battery-electric LHD. Courtesy of Caterpillar

Featuring fast onboard charging technology, the machine’s batteries can be charged while remaining on the R1700 XE to maximize available run time. The portable Cat MEC500 Mobile Equipment Charger provides quick charging wherever it’s needed and eliminates the expense of and need for static charging station infrastructure, additional batteries, and battery handling and swapping. The MEC500 fully charges the R1700 XE in less than 30 minutes using a single charger or in less than 20 minutes using two units. Liquid cooling allows the loader’s batteries to be cooled while the machine is put back in operation, increasing machine uptime availability.

Built for productivity

The R1700 XE electric platform brings a new level of production capability in Caterpillar’s electrified product range. Multiple design features are carried over from the field proven R1700 platform to reduce overall operating cost, improve component durability and reliability, and maximize availability and productivity. An aggressive digger, it features Autodig for optimal loading and improved traction control for maximum tire life.

Borrowing the front linkage geometry from the R1700, the R1700 XE offers matching lift and tilt breakout force for electrified machines of 24 190 kg (53,330 lb). Advanced hydraulic performance and load-sensing pumps with controllable flow deliver a 13.2-second raise/dump/lower hydraulic cycle time and 323 kN (72,613 ft-lb) rimpull and drawbar. The electric LHD vehicle offers 15 tonnes (33,069 lb) payload, 18 kph (11.2 mph) fully loaded top speed and 2.5 hours of aggressive run time between charges.

Five bucket sizes, including a bolt-together bucket option, with capacities ranging from 5.7 to 7.5 m3 (7.5 to 9.8 yd3) match material density needs to various loading, hauling and dumping conditions. Offering optimized balanced between productivity and bucket life, the full range of Cat ground engaging tools (GET) includes modular Weldon, bolt-on half arrow, and Durilock™ mechanically attached shrouds, heal shrouds and wear plates.

The R1700 XE comes from the factory ready for Cat MineStar for Underground technology to further increase operating efficiency and productivity. Scalable levels of remote operation from line of sight to fully autonomous are available to increase production efficiency and operator safety. Standard Product Link Elite delivers machine health monitoring to improve uptime availability.

Cat R1700 XE underground battery-electric LHD. Courtesy of Caterpillar

Improved comfort and safety

Integral to the cab and frame, the rollover protective structure (ROPS) and falling object protective structure (FOPS) are resiliently mounted to the frame to isolate the operator from vibration for a more comfortable ride. Pressurized to mitigate dust infiltration, the cab features a new climate control system with improved airflow, greater defrosting coverage and reduced noise levels. The larger cab provides additional space for the operator, who sits slightly lower inside the cab for greater headroom and improved ride comfort.

The R1700 XE’s operator station is ergonomically designed for total machine control in a comfortable, productive and safe environment. Steering and transmission integrated control (STIC™) provides maximum machine responsiveness and control by combining directional selection, virtual gears and steering into a single level. Low-effort, electrically operated joystick controls implement functions smoother with faster cycles for less operator fatigue.

Auto retarding improves machine control and operator confidence on long downhill hauls, while optional rearview and sideview cameras enhance operator visibility. Further increasing visibility, the R1700 XE features auto lights high and low beam, auto directional switching and auto boom lights on and off functions.

The multilayered electrical safety systems of the new underground loader are designed to withstand the rigors of underground mining environments. No high voltage cabling crosses the hitch of the R1700 XE, increasing operating safety and machine reliability.

Cat R1700 XE underground battery-electric LHD. Courtesy of Caterpillar

Serviceability and Durability

Intrinsic to the battery-electric vehicle design, the R1700 XE has fewer parts for reduced maintenance, and it shares strong parts commonality with the R1700, requiring less parts inventory. Modular design of key components, like the HVAC system being modular in design, better component positioning, and a light, modular structure delivers servicing ease.

Leveraging the R1700’s heavy rear structure design lends to long-term durability for the new battery-electric loader. Offering respective 250 kW (335 hp) and 226 kW (303 hp) rated peak power output, the highly efficient switch reluctance traction and auxiliary motors both offer long, 15,000-hour service intervals. Electrical connections are sealed to lock out dust and moisture, while wire harnesses are covered for protection. Colored and number-coded wires facilitate easy diagnosis and repair.

Field tested and validated, the thermally stable Lithium Iron Phosphate battery system powers the electric R1700 XE LHD, delivering fast charging capability and reliable performance. The Caterpillar-engineered cooling system with new chilling cores for battery cooling maximizes performance and cell life. Enabling efficient electronic diagnosis of machine performance and key diagnostic data, the Cat electronic technician (ET) delivers quick and effective maintenance and repairs.

Cat R1700 XE underground battery-electric LHD. Courtesy of Caterpillar

Source: Caterpillar