The 6020B is powered by a Caterpillar C32 12-cylinder diesel engine putting out just more than 1,000 hp.
(Colin Kund photo)
Over the past few years, the Anthracite Region in Northeastern Pennsylvania has seen a boom in new equipment entering service in the coal mines. Responding to increased demand, Blaschak Anthracite and other industry companies have capitalized on the growing domestic market. One of Blaschak's most important recent investments is a Caterpillar 6020B.
Blaschak Anthracite was founded in 1937 by brothers John, Anthony and Walter Blaschak as a coal distribution company. In 1945, the Blaschaks entered the underground mining business and 10 years later built a processing plant. Over the years, more opportunities arose and leases for land were signed, which led to Blaschak Anthracite entering into surface mining. The company purchased more new equipment including a new dragline in 1984, which was the first new dragline in Anthracite Country in more than 30 years. In 2006, Blaschak developed its Primrose mine where the company is still working today. In 2009, Blaschak Anthracite was sold to Milestone Partners.
In 2013, Blaschak's prepared coal sales exceeded 300,000 tons. In 2016, the Mount Carmel mining operation was started. Following the start of this operation, Blaschak set the record of 382,000 tons of prepared coal sales in 2018. In 2021, despite COVID-19, Blaschak took on new land leases, which further expanded its operations. And recently in 2023, Blaschak purchased its Caterpillar 6020B shovel.
Blaschak provides Anthracite coal to the Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) sector of the steel industry as well as steel dust reprocessors and ilmenite smelters. Anthracite mined and processed by Blaschak also is used in water filtration applications at the municipal level. The company also provides service to the sugar beet industry within the United States. On a domestic level, Blaschak is the leading supplier of anthracite to the commercial and residential heating markets and also is the exclusive supplier of coal for Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza restaurants.
Blaschak has a fleet of draglines, shovels, trucks, loaders and dozers, all of which play important roles in the mining process. These include two Marion 7450 electric draglines; two Manitowoc 4600 diesel draglines; a 285 Demag; three 185 Demags; a Cat 5130; Cat D9, D10 and D11 dozers; Cat and Volvo loaders; a fleet of Cat 777 haul trucks in the B, C and D series; and Cat 785's.
The 6020B is categorized as a hydraulic shovel by Caterpillar. Once put together in operating configuration, the shovel weighs 254 tons. Originally announced in 2013, the 6020B made its market debut at bauma in 2014. The shovel is powered by a Caterpillar C32 12-cylinder diesel engine putting out just more than 1,000 hp. The machine is equipped with a 15-yd. bucket, which loads the fleet of trucks in four to five passes. The 6020B is one of the smaller shovels made by Caterpillar, with the smallest being a 6015B. It is dwarfed by the Caterpillar 6030, 6040 and 6060 shovels (the Cat 6090 is no longer produced.) There are a few other 6020Bs in the Anthracite region, but Blaschak's wears the new Cat trade dress logos. Cleveland Brothers, the Cat dealer for the Anthracite region, provided the sale, delivery and assembly of the unit. Once all pieces were delivered, assembly commenced. As part of MSHA's (Mine Safety and Health Administration) requirements, the operators received task training prior to placing the shovel into service.
Before settling on the 6020B, Blaschak did research between it and other models. Boyd Kreglow, president and CEO of Blaschak, said the relationship with Cleveland Brothers and Blaschak Anthracite was one of the driving factors in the decision to go with the 6020B.
"The reputation of Cat, especially Cleveland Brothers, really sealed the deal for us," he said. "They are very reliable when it comes to responsiveness to us as far as service and questions as well as parts availability."
In addition to its relationship with Cleveland Brothers, Dale Lindenmuth, Blaschak's mining and maintenance superintendent, explained other reasons for going with the 6020B. These included the design of the hydraulic system (makes service and repair easier,) main control block mounting position, ease of access to the pump room, engine compartment, radiator and the hydraulic oil coolers. In addition to these, the more substantial structure design in the boom, base and stick, a better bucket design and a more operator-friendly cab. All of these couple together made the decision easy.
The machine was put into service this past September at the Mt. Carmel operation. The 6020B spends its time working down in the pit with a Demag 185, both of which are helping chase the Mammoth coal vein. A fleet of 777 and 785 trucks move overburden from the pit and dump it where the company is in the process of reclaiming another area of the mine. So far, the shovel has been a fantastic addition to Blaschak's fleet, according to the company. It works between eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week.
The Anthracite region is booming and the investment in new equipment is promising to the future of not only the region, but also the domestic and foreign coal markets. CEG
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