BHP, Caterpillar, and Finning to interchange haul truck fleet at world’s largest copper mine with 798 AC electric-drive vans


BHP Group, Caterpillar, and Finning Worldwide introduced an settlement to exchange BHP’s complete haul truck fleet on the Escondida mine—the world’s largest producer of copper concentrates and cathodes positioned within the Antofagasta Area, northern Chile. This settlement is a part of a strategic gear renewal course of developed by Escondida.

The brand new Caterpillar 798 AC electrical drive vans will characteristic expertise that delivers important enhancements in material-moving capability, effectivity, reliability, and security and generate a constructive influence in key initiatives for the longer term, akin to decarbonization, range and inclusion, autonomous applied sciences, and the event of native capabilities.


The 798 AC is powered by the Cat C175-16 diesel engine with the Cat AC electrical drive; the 798 AC has a payload of 372t. The C175-16 engine
is out there with two horsepower choices and may
be configured for US EPA Tier 4 Last / EU Stage V rules. The 798 AC can also be accessible with a high-altitude association that forestalls deration at altitude and provides simplified upkeep and restore.

Greater than 4,500 C175 engines are in operation all over the world, with greater than 22 million hours of run time.

The Cat AC drive is a excessive voltage system (2,600 volts) that operates at decrease present than most opponents’ techniques. When mixed with full integration of the facility prepare, the result’s decrease warmth era, smaller and lighter elements, and longer element life, in keeping with Caterpillar.

The AC drive, engine and chassis techniques work seamlessly collectively and leverage Caterpillar’s management in electrical energy era together with the confirmed elements of EMD locomotives. Options of the powertrain embrace:

  • Drive Alternator: The brushless alternator delivers lengthy life and requires much less upkeep. A twin bearing design allows service with out eradicating the engine and eliminates time-consuming shimming procedures.

  • Inverter Cupboard: The proprietary AC drive management cupboard is pressurized and filtered to scale back upkeep. It homes the evaporative-cooled modular IGBTs and motor controls.

  • IGBTs: Caterpillar’s modular design IGBTs ship most AC drive system effectivity via excessive voltage and decrease present.

  • Retarding Grid: The radial fashion grid options an AC electrical motor that requires no common motor upkeep. It’s quieter, lighter, and provides higher visibility than bigger box-type grids.

  • Traction Motors: Separate from the ultimate drives for elevated serviceability, the modular design permits technicians to give attention to the element in want, not elements which might be nonetheless performing.

  • Last Drives: Greater sturdiness and decrease rebuild prices are delivered by Caterpillar’s ring gear output design with double discount. This confirmed design has tens of millions of hours of mining expertise.

  • Drivetrain Cooling: The variable velocity blower matches air circulation to element want, not engine rpm. Optimized cooling delivers elevated element life and better velocity on grade.

The 798 AC can also be factory-ready for MineStar Command for hauling, an autonomous hauling resolution.

The primary vans are anticipated to reach on the mine within the second half of 2023, with supply of the remaining vans to increase over the following 10 years because the three corporations work to interchange one of many largest fleets within the business worldwide, at the moment comprising greater than 160 haul vans.

Upkeep and help companies supplied underneath the settlement advance BHP’s native employment and gender steadiness methods. Finning´s Built-in Information Heart, positioned in Antofagasta, will present technical help for the fleet.

The settlement additionally permits Escondida | BHP to speed up the implementation of its autonomy plans by transitioning the fleet to incorporate expertise that allows autonomous operation. As well as, the agreements set forth a technological path that helps Escondida | BHP meet its decarbonization objectives, via the progressive implementation of zero-emission vans.


BHP operates and owns 57.5% of the Escondida mine, a three way partnership with Rio Tinto (30%) and Japan-based JECO Corp (12.5%). Escondida’s two pits feed three concentrator crops, in addition to two leaching operations (oxide and sulfide). The mine is a crucial a part of the Chilean economic system, accounting for a number of proportion factors of GDP.


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