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Caterpillar Uses Ultracapacitors in Mining Shovel

Linda Hardesty

Caterpillar logoMaxwell Technologies is supplying ultracapacitors to Caterpillar for a high-efficiency energy management system that supports Caterpillar’s fuel-saving hydra-electric technology in its large hydraulic mining shovel, the new Cat 6120B H FS.

The 1,400-ton shovel’s energy management system incorporates 98 of Maxwell’s 125-volt ultracapacitor modules to absorb energy during brief shovel movements and deliver stored electrical energy on demand to supplement the main power system.

Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, Maxwell’s ultracapacitor products store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 to +65C), operate up to one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration, says Maxwell. The company offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from one to 3,000 farads and multi-cell modules ranging from 16 to 125 volts.

Maxwell supplies ultracapacitors for a variety of industries, including Shanghai ship-to-shore cranes for loading and unloading container ships at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port  and for a braking energy recuperation system on light rail vehicles operated by the Portland, Ore., area’s TriMet transit authority.



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