Cat to pursue equipment solutions through unique event

By |  September 7, 2016
A Cat 793F mining truck at work. Photo courtesy of Caterpillar.

A Cat 793F mining truck at work. Photo courtesy of Caterpillar.

Software developers, data scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs will convene Sept. 23-25 in San Francisco for a 54-hour “hackathon” sponsored by Caterpillar and Unearthed, an Australia-based open innovation organization for the global resources sector.

According to Cat, the hackathon will unite creative problem solvers and industry experts who can work in teams to propose prototype solutions to industry challenges.

“Caterpillar is pleased to sponsor Unearthed San Francisco,” says Tony Johnson, marketing manager for the Caterpillar Global Mining, Surface Mining & Technology Division.

Among the innovations emerging from Unearthed events are novel sensors and analytics to prevent oversize material from blocking the crushers on iron ore sites; predictive algorithms that dramatically reduce the need for lab sampling; and wearable devices that improve workplace safety.

“The global resources sector faces unprecedented pressure to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations, and at the same time it will see nearly $1 trillion of impact from new technologies in the decade ahead,” says Justin Strharsky, director of Unearthed. “We are helping industry adapt by creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

In San Francisco, Cat will challenge hackathon participants to propose innovative ways to use telematics data and real-time coaching to improve surface mining truck operator performance.

“Operator technique has a profound effect on productivity, fuel efficiency, component life and operating costs,” Johnson says. “Our customers spend a lot of time and resources on traditional training activities, but we believe we can augment their work with data, analytics and real-time feedback.”

Using several large datasets from Cat, hackathon participants will spend the weekend exploring how information could be used to improve operator performance, predict potential problems, reward desired behavior and reduce machine misuse. Cat subject matter experts will be on hand to provide industry perspective.

At the end of the session, teams will have five minutes to present their ideas and five minutes to respond to questions from a panel of judges, Cat says. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top prototypes. The first-place team will be featured in a video shown at MINExpo 2016.

“The hackathon is just one more way we’re putting the latest tools, processes and ideas to work for Caterpillar customers, helping them improve safety, increase production efficiency and reduce costs,” Johnson says.

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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