Making its mark

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Continuing our review of Caterpillar’s mining machines, this month we look at their 994K Wheel Loader.

Released in Australia the first quarter of 2016, this machine rounds out Caterpillar’s range of purpose-built mining wheel loaders, that include the 992K and 993K. Superseding the 994H, this machine has been designed to load the 785, 789 and 793 haul trucks, making its mark with circa 20% increase payload capacity over its predecessor.

As the flagship of Cat’s mining wheel loaders, this machine weighs a whopping 239 tonnes and comes in standard and high-lift configurations, providing users an additional 857mm in maximum lifting height.

Sporting a much larger payload capacity, the 994K has been a major step change for Caterpillar, surpassing Komatsu’s WA1200-6 in size. This scale increase, has improved productivity, resulting in fewer passes to load large mining trucks, offering rated payloads of 40.8 tonnes as a standard lift machine and 38.1 tonnes in high-lift configuration.

When matched with the popular 793F, the high-lift configured 994K can load this dump truck in six passes, five passes when matched with the 789 series truck and four when loading the 785. Depending upon mine and material, a range of buckets are available to ensure maximise loading efficiency is achieved.

Like the 24 Grader discussed in the last issue, the 994K has been designed with servicing in mind, with engine oil change intervals kept at 500 hour minimums as well as modular design assisting component changeouts.

Powered by Caterpillar’s own 3516E engine, the loader produces net power of 1,739 hp (1297 kW), that when matched with the high ambient package available, can operate in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius (particularly important for our friends located in the West of our ‘sunburnt’ country).

The 994K is not the only option available to miners. Komatsu offer their own mechanically driven WA1200-6 as well as their electric drive, P&H branded wheel loaders.

Previously known as LeTourneau, until acquired by Joy Global in 2011, these impressive electric drive machines stand alone, with the mother of all loaders, the L-2350, weighing in at 266 tonnes, with a payload capacity of an impressive to 72.5 tonnes…

Of course, depending upon who you talk to, the feedback and opinion of each machine will always vary, more often than not, based upon brand and personal colour of ‘persuasion’.


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