Motor graders maximize truck fleet performance
Caterpillar introduces new 18M3 model
While drills, draglines, loaders and haul trucks are responsible for producing ore, motor graders have a direct impact on how productively these machines can operate.
Motor graders have an essential role in haul road construction and maintenance, blasting cleanup, loading area cleanup, reclamation and snow removal.
On the haul road, these machines help create and maintain constant grade and proper drainage. When haul roads are kept in top condition, trucks run faster and more safely, cycle times improve and more ore is produced. Good road conditions also reduce truck maintenance, lower fuel costs and reduce tire damage. Haul road should be free of puddles, potholes, ruts and gullies, and spillage should be removed quickly to save tires and allow trucks to travel at their expected speeds.
In the load zone, graders help ensure the floor is smooth, debris is cleared away so trucks don’t drive over rocks and that trucks are able to leave under full, continuous acceleration. In the dump zone, they help ensure the floor is smooth and that trucks are able to enter at high speed and reverse to dump.
Introducing a new motor grader model
Caterpillar recently added a new motor grader model to its lineup to help mine sites in their haul road maintenance efforts. The new Cat® 18M3 Motor Grader, based on the popular 16M3 model, offers additional power and a wider moldboard to support small- and medium-size mining operations that run 172-tonne (190-ton) or smaller hauling trucks.
This model also allows the operator to use a more aggressive blade angle and still be able to deposit the windrow away from tires to protect them from damage. Using a more aggressive angle allows the machine to better maintain ground speed for cutting passes, and reduce loads for improved performance.
The new 18M3, which features an average of 5 percent greater power in each gear as compared to the 16M3, is equipped for mining operations. Key machine components are protected against heavy debris and rocks by front axle and transmission guards. The motor grader is also fire-suppression-ready, with all required provisions and brackets in place to install most major systems without compromising the machine’s components and structures.
Delivering optimum power with fuel efficiency
The 18M3 is powered by a Cat C13 ACERT™ engine, which uses the Caterpillar Optimized Variable Horsepower (VHP) system, designed to deliver optimum power in each gear for the operating situation. The engine is available in three configurations to satisfy global emissions standards:
- U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final / EU Stage IV / Japan 2014 (Tier 4 Final)
- Tier 3 / Stage IIIA / Japan 2006 (Tier 3) equivalent
- Tier 2 / Stage II / Japan 2001 (Tier 2) equivalent
To enhance fuel efficiency, ECO mode limits engine speed to 1,900 rpm in working gears during light to moderate load applications. This operator-selected feature maintains peak performance in lower gears and automatically disengages in gears 6F-8F and 4R-6R. (ECO Mode is not available for Tier 3/Stage IIIA/Japan 2006 (Tier 3) equivalent emission standards machines.)
The Cat direct drive, power shift transmission has eight forward and six reverse gears. The transmission uses the Cat Advanced Productivity Electronic Control Strategy (APECS) system for smooth shifting and extended component life. The heavy-duty modular trans-axle has a standard automatic differential lock that engages and disengages as required.
The hydraulic brakes use large discs and pistons to provide a high dynamic braking torque, and a new manual brake wear indicator simplifies disc wear measurement, eliminating the need to remove the brake pods to check wear.
Providing long life and precision
The front frame of the 18M3 is fabricated of continuous top and bottom plates, and the center-shift section is a heavy-duty steel casting that effectively distributes stress in this highly loaded area of the mainframe. The long rear frame uses two bumper castings and thick hitch plates for long-term durability. The front axle is designed for extended cylinder bearing life. Standard equipment for the 18M3 includes a ripper and front counterweight.
The 18M3 features the Cat load sensing hydraulic system with advanced Proportional Priority Pressure Compensating electrohydraulic valves. The system provides precise implement control and continuously matches hydraulic flow and pressure to power demands for added fuel savings and reduced heat generation.
Keeping operators productive
The cab in the 18M3 features a full color, touch-screen display that allows the operator to monitor machine performance, set operating parameters (such as blade-lift modulation) and access service information for initial troubleshooting. The display shows Cat Grade Control Cross Slope readings, DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) level and information pertinent to daily operation. The Advanced-Control joysticks allow easy control of the Cat Grade Control Cross Slope or AccuGrade™ systems, and a keypad with lighted, one-touch buttons simplifies operation.
Hardware for Product Link™ Elite, the Cat advanced telematics system, is standard and provides technologies for improved fleet management via the VisionLink® online interface. New capabilities include global 3G-cellular-network and lower-latency satellite connections.
Enhancing safety and serviceability
To improve operator visibility, a standard rearview camera system provides images on the new information display or on an optional LCD screen above the rearview mirror. Other standard safety features include the speed-sensitive steering and a seat belt indicator, which alerts the operator that the belt is not fastened and records the incident as a fault code.
The optional enhanced-access platform provides ladders, walkways and handrails for a second access path to the engine compartment and cab, and an alternate configuration provides enhanced access to the engine compartment. Grab handles and a non-slip step provide improved access to the tandem walkways when platforms are not ordered. French-door-type panels on the engine enclosure allow easy access to service points, and two large LED lights illuminate the engine compartment. Ground-level engine shut-off and electrical-disconnect switches are standard. The 18M3 also uses a new modular cooling package, which facilitates removal and installation of components in the cooling system.
To learn more about the 18M3 Motor Grader, visit: www.cat.com/18m3