Caterpillar and PLM’s Advanced Technology in the Pipeline Industry

A day at the track
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A closer look at the D7E electric drive tractor.

Safety was also the topic for Sara Swanson, who introduced the tools available at safety.cat.com, Caterpillar’s worksite safety hub. The website provides free safety talks, guidelines, videos and checklists broken down by industry, and also offers online training courses for a fee.

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Over lunch, Jim Yardley, president of El Paso’s Pipeline Group, presented the case for natural gas as a rising energy source in the United States: as a domestically available, abundant and geographically diversely located fuel, it offers relative cleanliness and security and it is available immediately, without any ramp-up period required.

Technology in Motion
Anticipation as the crowd waits for the show to start.
With the indoor portion of the day completed, the attendees made their way outdoors to the proving ground where Caterpillar’s newer introductions to the fleet waited, ready to perform. The demonstration was plotted to show “a day in the life of a pipeliner,” and it began dutifully with a discussion on best safety practices.

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Safety observed, the D7E made a dramatic entrance over a steep mound of earth and began to clear the area in front of the stands, demonstrating its quiet engine and surprising agility, including pivot turns.

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Next, two 336 LGP excavators matched up head to head, as one equipped with AccuGrade dug swiftly into the area designated for the “pipeline,” while the second, manually positioned excavator idled waiting for markers to be placed.

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While the excavators dueled, the small pipelayer PL61 and the Shack Tractor and Combo Unit ran through their paces. All are available specially prepared for Arctic weather, including cold-weather seals, winter-weight lubricants and a heating system for the cab.

587T and 583T

With the trench dug (little thanks to the lazy excavator without AccuGrade), the larger pipelayers 587T and 583T took the stage to deliver a segment of pipe and lower it into the trench. The D7E reappeared and demonstrated its backfilling capabilities, and in no time dirt covered the end of the pipe and it was time for the credits to roll. As the machines filed by for a curtain call, the crowd applauded and followed the stars to the parking lots for a meet-and-greet session.