The units were purchased from Cat dealer Whayne Supply after the dealer’s takeover of the former Bucyrus distribution and product support business. It is the first full fleet of Cat-branded R&P equipment.
The group includes four Cat CM235 continuous miners, face haulers, roof bolters, scoops and feeder breakers.
The machines, which will be supported by the region’s Whayne Supply locations, began operating at Lewis Creek in late September.
“We’re all looking forward to being the first underground coal mine in the world with all Cat equipment,” Armstrong Coal vice president for operations Rick Craig said.
“We also look forward to continuing our relationship with Caterpillar and solidifying that commitment.”
Mine underground superintendent Rickie Phillips added that, with Cat’s underground presence, it was “a good thing to be a part of”
“We know that Caterpillar will back us all the way,” he said.
“They have a stake in this as much as we do.”
While the machines are Lewis Creek’s first underground additions, it is not the first time its crews have used Cat equipment at the site.
Armstrong has a history working with Whayne, and already has rigid-frame mining trucks and articulated trucks at its surface mines in the region including Lewis Creek’s surface mine.
The company has outsourced its Cat equipment maintenance to Whayne via a formal maintenance-and-repair contract.
Lewis Creek mines the 50-inch-thick West Kentucky No. 9 seam, and officials are anticipating an annual production budget of 800,000-900,000 clean tons.
To prepare for the addition of the full line of Cat underground products, Whayne and sister dealer Walker Machinery are forming sales and support division Whayne-Walker Underground.
The division officially started November 1 and will be staffed by Whayne employees as well as former Caterpillar and Bucyrus sales and support staff.
“Our objective is to provide the new underground mining customers the same, or even better, support and service that they have received in the past,” Whayne-Walker marketing manager said Breese Watson, adding that Whayne-Walker Underground will operate out of existing Whayne and Walker facilities throughout the dealers’ territory.
Lewis Creek’s equipment is being put into service as it arrives. Final delivery is expected to take place in early 2013.