Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions is launching Sandvik Alpha™ 340 asymmetric drilling tools, a new thread concept within its top hammer drilling offering for mining and tunnelling that replaces the Sandvik Alpha 330 thread system.
The new concept delivers up to 30% longer service life and increased productivity, according to the company. Drill Rig Spare Parts
The new Sandvik Alpha 340 thread is designed for use in face drilling and bolting in mine development and tunnelling, with hole sizes ranging from 43-51 mm. It features an entirely new asymmetric thread profile and has a larger diameter on the bit end thread of the drifter rod, reducing stress levels in critical areas, according to the company. Uncoupling is also easier than in previous designs, saving both time and effort.
Perhaps the biggest potential lies in the increased service life of the drill rod: with Sandvik Alpha 340, customers can achieve up to 30% longer service life – significantly increasing productivity and reducing cost per metre advanced, Sandvik says.
Robert Grandin, Product Manager Top Hammer Underground Rock Tools at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “The Sandvik Alpha 330 concept has served our customers extremely well over the past 20 years, ensuring highly reliable and productive drilling. With the launch of its successor, we create a revolutionising new way of working with top hammer rock tools, thanks to its asymmetric design. This new concept will deliver both immediate and long term value for our customers.”
The new thread concept also comes with improved drill bits. Sandvik’s PowerCarbide™ grades will be more widely available in the standard assortment, and many bits get design upgrades with more gauge angles or larger buttons for increased robustness.
“The new system is the driller’s choice,” Grandin said. “It is very user friendly and provides easy uncoupling – which saves a lot of frustration for the driller – but also increases productivity, leading to better drilling results.”
The new Sandvik Alpha 340 thread concept will replace its predecessor Sandvik Alpha 330 in a phase-out process over the coming quarters.
Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire Polymathian Industrial Mathematics, an Australia-based provider of advanced mine optimisation software and services.
Polymathian will be reported in Digital Mining Technologies, a division within business area Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions (SMR), Sandvik says.
Polymathian’s solutions for automated decision making and process optimisation complements the offering of Deswik, a leading mine planning software company which Sandvik acquired in April, the company added. Its product offering includes mining operations optimisation and simulation software for areas such as extraction process, material flow, energy and fuel consumption, and maintenance efficiency. It counts several of the world’s largest mining companies as customers.
Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said: “With the acquisition of Polymathian we continue to broaden our offering to enhance productivity in our mining customers’ value chain. Polymathian’s automated decision making and process optimisation, together with Deswik’s software tools for planning and managing production, represent a unique combination in the market.”
Polymathian will be a part of Business Unit Deswik and remain OEM agnostic, according to Sandvik.
The acquisition will enable Sandvik to further accelerate the development of its end-to-end optimisation, battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and AutoMine® offerings, by leveraging Polymathian’s unique skillset and platform, it added.
Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “Polymathian is a great addition to Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, and enables SMR to now have a unique digital portfolio that will help our customers to optimise their data-driven operations across the value chain and ensure their mine design is fully compatible with technologies like AutoMine and BEVs. I am very pleased to welcome Polymathian to the Group.”
Polymathian was founded in 2013, has 50 employees and is headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. The company’s annual revenues per June 2022 were around SEK100 million ($9.6 million). The transaction is expected to close during the March quarter of 2023.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions is growing its footprint in Québec, Canada, with the opening of its newly expanded Val-d’Or facility on October 20, 2022.
Spanning more than 5,100 sq.m, the strategic investment effectively doubles the building’s size and includes significantly increased parts warehouse space, an expanded workshop, facilities for automation support, customer service and rock tools shop, the company said.
Securing a larger parts warehouse and service centre was a priority to support a rapidly growing mining market in Québec and to expand local support capacity for customers, Sandvik says.
“We’re very pleased to announce the official opening of this newly expanded facility in Val-d’Or, Québec,” Peter Corcoran (centre), Vice President of Sales Area Canada at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “This is not only an opportunity to bring more jobs to the area, but it also allows us to further expand our aftermarket capabilities and meet the rapidly changing demands of the Québec market.”
Sandvik celebrated the grand opening of the facility with an open house earlier this month.
Val-d’Or Mayoress, Celine Brindamour (left), who participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the occasion, said: “This is the perfect opportunity to discover an innovative and flourishing company that has chosen Val-d’Or to pursue its growth. Through its investments, Sandvik contributes to the fact that Val-d’Or is an essential service hub for the mining industry.”
The Val-d’Or facility expansion project is one step in a more comprehensive evaluation of Sandvik’s network across Canada, it said.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions and FLANDERS have agreed to develop a Digital Interface between FLANDERS’ ARDVARC® Autonomous Drill System (ADS) and Sandvik iSeries rotary blasthole drills.
The development of this digital interface is a direct response to growing customer demand for agnostic automation systems in surface mining, the pair say.
The digital interface will enable the operation of Sandvik rotary drills via the ARDVARC ADS system with no modification to the drill rig, effectively a plug-and-play solution that allows for easy deployment of Sandvik drills to mine sites, FLANDERS explained. This open-architecture approach simplifies the installation and commissioning process while ensuring the customer retains OEM warranty and aftermarket support.
This agnostic approach to delivering digital solutions allows customers to select the value-added solutions that best meet their needs, whether that be the drill or the operating system powering the drill, FLANDERS added.
ARDVARC improves drill productivity by up to 30% and provides a significantly safer working environment for workers operating in complex or hazardous conditions, according to FLANDERS.
With its autonomous operating technology, FLANDERS helps its customers pro-actively optimise drilling and increase plant availability. The introduction of autonomous technology at the mine adds significant environmental gains for diesel machines, reducing fuel consumption and CO2 by up to 7.3% compared with a manned operation.
With its autonomous operating technology, FLANDERS helps its customers proactively optimise drilling, improve fragmentation, improve loading and hauling productivity and increase plant throughput.
The first deployment of the FLANDERS/Sandvik Digital Interface is scheduled for the December quarter of 2022 with further deployments being scheduled soon after that.
Sandvik in its statement says it “will continue to develop and support AutoMine® Surface Drilling solutions for remote and autonomous operation of the full range of Sandvik iSeries drills”.
FLANDERS added that it has signed a deal with Anglo American to incorporate ARDVARC on all new and existing drills at Anglo’s Mogalakwena mine in South Africa, including the recently purchased Sandvik DR410i blasthole drills.
The third (of four) brand new Sandvik 410i drill is currently being converted to an ARDVARC Autonomous system at the state-of-the-art facility in Middelburg, South Africa.
FLANDERS has already deployed ARDVARC Autonomous drills to Mogalakwena, converting Epiroc Pit Viper 271 XC drills.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has received a large order in Chile for surface mining equipment and its AutoMine® Surface Drilling solution from Movitec, a contractor on Codelco’s Rajo Inca open-pit project.
The order includes two Leopard™ DI650i down-the-hole (DTH) drill rigs and two Sandvik DR412i rotary blasthole drill rigs, including AutoMine® Surface Drilling systems for fully autonomous operations.
AutoMine Surface Drilling is an autonomous solution for a wide range of Sandvik iSeries surface drill rigs, designed to improve safety, reduce costs and increase productivity. It enables an operator to control multiple rigs remotely from a comfortable location in line-of-sight or a distant control room – improving working conditions and safety, Sandvik says.
Sandvik iSeries drill rigs are equipped with iDrill technology, a scalable automation platform that provides automation options and digital services designed to speed up the production process and support mining operations. Performance and navigation iDrill technologies work together to produce accurately placed, consistently clean and precision-drilled holes – delivering improved fragmentation, downstream throughput and asset utilisation.
“We are pleased to work with Movitec and Codelco on this project,” Emilio Vega, Business Line Manager for Automation, Sales Area Andean and South Cone at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “The AutoMine Surface Drilling solution will enable the customer to use the drill rigs to their full potential and boost productivity with capabilities for fully autonomous operations.”
The new order also includes one Sandvik D75KX rotary blasthole drill rig with added intelligence and improved operator ergonomics. Delivery will take place in two phases before year-end 2022, with fully autonomous operations ramping up in 2023.
“We thank Movitec for their well-placed confidence in the Sandvik brand and technology,” Patricio Apablaza, Vice President Sales Area Andean and South Cone at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said. “We look forward to supporting them in increasing the safety, productivity, profitability and quality of their operations.”
In addition, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions will also provide contractor Movitec with remote operation training and six months’ on-site service to ramp up support as they transition to autonomous operations.
David Hallett, Vice President Automation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Digital Mining Technologies Division, said: “We are excited to partner together with Movitec on their journey to adopt AutoMine Surface Drilling at Codelco’s Rajo Inca open-pit project. This project will play a significant role in establishing Sandvik’s position as a leading technology partner for autonomous surface mining within the Chilean and South American market.”
Codelco officially began the works of Rajo Inca last year, moving from underground mining to open-pit mining .
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has introduced the AutoMine® Mapping Solution, an innovative new product designed to, it says, maximise productivity and improve safety of autonomous vehicle navigation in underground mining operations through the use of mapped data.
The AutoMine Mapping Solution is Sandvik’s next generation product that enables a vehicle to safely record an underground 3D environment with a mine mapping tool, and convert 3D maps to 2D. Faster configuration, and the possibility to continue to operate other equipment within the area while it is being mapped, increases productivity and efficiency, it says.
Innovative technology within the solution reduces the time and cost involved in manual mapping and enables a safer, more efficient autonomous underground operating environment. It can be used on all types of underground equipment (LHDs, trucks and drills), eliminating the need for dedicated equipment and resource to map the area.
“With AutoMine Mapping Solution, we are progressing to the next generation of innovative automation solutions, bringing new technologies to the underground mining industry which are designed to maximise our customers’ productivity and safety,” Ty Osborne, Product Line Manager Underground Automation Sales at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says.
“AutoMine Mapping Solution is easy to use and turns real-time data from the mine into 3D models, providing a clear customer advantage in the planning and prioritising of their automated operations and increasing production control.” says Osborne.
The solution will be available to order later in 2022.
Foran Mining has selected Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to supply a fleet of 20 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including trucks, loaders and drills, for its McIlvenna Bay project in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Set to be one of the world’s first carbon-neutral copper development projects, McIlvenna Bay will be powered by clean hydroelectric power and designed to take advantage of Sandvik’s latest technological advances in sustainable mining, the OEM says.
Sandvik’s biggest BEV fleet to date will include seven Sandvik 18-t-payload LH518B loaders (pictured dumping into a TH550B), six Sandvik 50-t-payload TH550B trucks, four Sandvik DD422iE jumbo drill rigs, two Sandvik DL422iE longhole drills and one Sandvik DS412iE mechanical bolter. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled to begin next year and continue into 2025, Sandvik says.
Sandvik will also provide on-site service support and Battery as a Service by Sandvik at the underground copper-zinc mining project located in east-central Saskatchewan.
Jakob Rutqvist, VP Strategy and Commercial for Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Battery and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (BHEV) Business Unit, said: “This record contract is the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort between Foran Mining and Sandvik and demonstrates a shared vision that electrification will drive the future of sustainable mining. BEVs have enormous potential to reduce a mining operation’s carbon footprint, and Canada continues to be the epicentre for mining electrification and a blueprint for what to expect in other major mining regions very soon.”
Copper and zinc are critical metals for the transition to a low-carbon future as essential elements of electrical grids, solar panels, wind turbines and batteries. The McIlvenna Bay project intends to supply those minerals in a way that will not only be carbon neutral but ultimately have a net positive impact on the climate, according to Sandvik.
Dave Bernier, Chief Operating Officer of Foran Mining, said: “This is a very exciting period for Foran as we continue to execute on our initiatives to permit, construct and operate McIlvenna Bay. Sandvik is a global leader in industrial battery technology and we look forward to working together on our project. Utilising battery-electric equipment with semi- and fully-autonomous capabilities can help us achieve carbon neutral targets and provide a safer working environment, which is part of our Net Positive Business strategy as we look to deliver critical metals essential for global decarbonisation in a responsible and socially-empowering way.”
Foran Mining conducted a thorough analysis during its 2020 prefeasibility study to determine the investment case for BEVs compared with diesel. The company determined that BEVs would deliver better financial results at McIlvenna Bay when considering the savings generated through lower ventilation capital and operating costs.
That report, authored by AGP Mining Consultants Inc, envisaged the potential use of 7 Sandvik LH517i LHDs and 11 Artisan Vehicles (Sandvik) Z50 battery electric trucks for a 3,600 t/d of polymetallic ore operation.
Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said: “I am very pleased that Foran Mining has chosen Sandvik to deliver our leading battery-electric solutions for the pioneering McIlvenna Bay project. We see very strong momentum for our mining electrification offering, which offers great potential in driving more sustainable mining, helping customers to boost productivity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve workers’ health.”
A dedicated on-site project team will be jointly working with the mine’s operations team to ensure the products and services in the delivery scope support the alliance on Foran’s journey towards more productive, efficient and sustainable mining, Sandvik said.
“Battery as a Service by Sandvik will enable McIlvenna Bay to get the most out of its battery-electric equipment by relying on unrivaled expertise to manage the capacity and health of batteries and chargers throughout their long lives,” it added.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it is bringing a ground-breaking electric concept drill rig for surface drilling to the Vei og Anlegg 2022 exhibition, with the potential for this solution to impact larger, mining-related drilling operations in the future.
Taking place on May 11–14, 2022, Vei og Anlegg is one of Scandinavia’s largest construction trade shows.
The new concept rig demonstrates some of the advanced technologies that will be introduced on future series drill rigs to support more sustainable and energy-efficient surface drilling, particularly in urban construction applications, it said.
The concept drill rig is essentially a versatile R&D platform for demonstrating the most advanced, but nevertheless proven and validated, sustainability technologies that are already in use or coming soon on underground drill rigs and loaders. The innovation lies in transferring these technological advantages into the surface drilling world for the first time to meet the latest demands from the industry, Sandvik says. The concept drill rig brings the new solutions together on an actual machine that you can get up close to – a “hands on” starting point for discussions on the customer’s real-life needs and the technological possibilities for addressing them with tomorrow’s products.
Builders and contractors are increasingly faced with specific, often quantified, sustainability targets: for example, electrification of power supply, energy efficiency targets and exhaust/noise restrictions. Sandvik says it wants to lead the way with the concept drill rig, demonstrating effective sustainability solutions that are designed to meet these challenges. The technologies demonstrated on the rig include electrified power supply and a range of emission reduction technologies, with the overall aim of energy efficiency and emission control (noise, particulates and CO2).
The compact Commando™ DC300Ri top hammer drill rig was selected as the platform for the concept drill rig, thanks to its popularity in urban surface drilling applications (for example, road/railroad construction and foundation drilling). It is however possible that product development projects based on the concept rig may lead to different, possibly larger, drill rigs. The concept rig also has the possibility of operating on direct electric power or battery power, as well as hybrid power supply using a small diesel generator. All of these energy sources are available and can be trialed on the concept drill rig, depending on the customer’s actual needs. The rock drill is also equipped with an effective noise guard.
“We could make the selections ourselves, for example the choice between a direct electric power supply and a battery-driven system, but we want to do it together with our customers,” Lauri Laihanen, Vice President, R&D and Product Management, Surface Drilling Division at Sandvik, said. “We want to have a dialogue, to ensure we really understand the customer’s actual needs and are tackling the right problems together. It’s about customer orientation, rather than technology orientation. Technology for us is only a tool to meet the customer’s needs. With this concept drill rig, the primary role of technology is to support a zero emissions approach at the customer’s operations, which of course aligns perfectly with Sandvik’s own sustainability goals.”
Alongside the market-oriented goals, the concept drill rig will also help Sandvik to achieve its own ambitious sustainability goals, including its aim to halve the carbon footprint of the group’s operations by 2030.
The conversation on the future of sustainable surface drilling is now underway and the next chance to see the concept drill rig, following Vei og Anlegg, will be in Tampere, Finland, at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Customer Days 2022 in September.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has partnered with Boliden on a small-scale trial of 3D manufactured parts that, the companies say, will help both companies assess the potential of 3D printing.
Additive manufacturing – or 3D printing as it is more commonly known – is maturing fast, and has progressed from printing plastic components to now being able to print ceramics and metals.
To discover the potential of the technology, Boliden has teamed up with Sandvik to run a trial that will see machine parts printed digitally and installed on underground drill rigs.
The trial with Sandvik involves a set of specially redesigned components printed digitally at a Sandvik-managed facility in Italy, with their performance being monitored on machines in Boliden’s underground mines – first in Sweden, then in Ireland.
In theory, the 3D metal parts could perform as well – or even better – than traditionally manufactured items, the OEM said, adding that the first components have been put into operation at the Garpenberg mine in Sweden, with performance still to be evaluated.
“Additive manufacturing shows a lot of potential, both in reducing carbon footprint within the supply chain, through reduced or eliminated need for transport and storage of parts and also shorter delivery times,” Ronne Hamerslag, Head of Supply Management at Boliden, said. “This trial will give us a deeper understanding on how we can move forward and develop our business in a competitive way.”
3D printing is an exciting prospect for OEMs too, as Sandvik’s Erik Lundén, President, Parts & Services at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, explains: “Mining equipment can last up to 25 years – and needs to be supported throughout that time – even in the most remote of locations. We have many different SKUs (stock keeping units) and, from an inventory point of view, we can’t tie up the capital that keeping all these parts in stock would entail. 3D printing of parts locally offers us the prospect of not only getting parts to the customer much faster, but doing so far more sustainably.”
Although in theory any part could in future be 3D printed, it is likely to be maintenance and repair operating items that are the first to get the additive manufacturing treatment, such as the bushes, brackets, drill parts, etc. that customers need to change every 3,000-4,000 hours.
But printing of the parts is only one part of the puzzle that the trial with Boliden is trying to solve.
Another is working out the future business model for 3D printed parts. Who does the printing – the OEM, the miner, or a third-party printing company? What will the costs be? What about intellectual property rights, warranties and liabilities? All these elements – and more – need to be resolved in the development of a 3D printed future.
Hamerslag concluded: “If you ask me, it’s the most exciting thing that’s happening in the supply chain. Its efficiency, speed and climate friendliness mean that we have to investigate additive manufacturing closely. We are only at the proof-of-concept stage with Sandvik right now, but it’s already clear that it could become a game-changer for the spare parts business in mining – for both miners and equipment manufacturers.”
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions President, Henrik Ager, got The Electric Mine 2022 Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, off to a bang earlier this month, with a major product reveal that will set a new benchmark in the battery-electric underground mining space.
After reflecting on a journey that saw him escape a broken lift on his way to the Radisson Waterfront that morning, Ager announced the company would soon release the largest-capacity battery-electric truck for underground mining to the market, the TH665B.
With a 65-t-payload capacity, this machine will be measured against the largest underground diesel-powered underground trucks for productivity, speed and cost. Interest is expected from major contractors and miners alike, with one of the bigger markets being the Australian underground hard-rock segment.
The prototype TH665B is currently completing factory testing, but it turned heads in Stockholm, with conference attendees witnessing a video of the machine in action on the company’s test track in California, USA.
Blending proven Sandvik design and advanced technology built around electric drivelines and battery systems, the TH665B will get its first mine site runout at AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam gold mine in Western Australia. This trial is expected to prove its viability in a long ramp haulage application before commercial truck production commences in late 2023.
While displaying said video, Ager said the vehicle could haul a 65-t load up a 14.3% grade at 11.5 km/h. This, he said, was 30% faster than Sandvik’s 63-t diesel truck, the Toro TH663i, with which the TH665B shares a state-of-the-art cabin. An electric drivetrain that delivers 640 kW of continuous power, which equates to 858 horsepower, and significant torque, is behind such numbers.
Following the introduction of the Sandvik TH550B 50-tonne battery-electric vehicle at MINExpo INTERNATIONAL® 2021, last September, this latest vehicle launch shows, once again, how the company is betting big on its battery- and hybrid-electric loaders tackling the challenge of operating underground mines today and tomorrow.
Ager at the event outlined the three main drivers for the electrification move, namely: worker health, mine economics and sustainability. Sandvik’s battery-electric solutions, he said, hit all three criteria, providing safer, more productive and sustainable ways of moving the tonnes the industry needs to keep up with global commodity demand.
The primary driver for electrification came from ventilation and refrigeration constraints, followed closely by environmental, health and safety concerns over diesel exhaust emissions. At the same time, Ager said there was significant room for operating costs to fall with the adoption of battery-electric equipment given 40% of total mine operating costs were related to energy and ventilation, and electricity use was often cheaper than transporting and using diesel fuel underground.
Around the same time as MINExpo, Ager outlined that electric mining equipment could account for more than half of the company’s equipment sales in underground mining by 2030. In Stockholm, he added some colour to that statement.
The company’s generation three battery-electric vehicles have clocked up more than 500,000 operational hours with its Artisan™ battery packs and electric drivelines, with 22 active BEV units. This experience makes Sandvik an industry frontrunner, Ager said.
The machines out in the field include the 4-t-payload and 10-t-payload Artisan A4 and A10 LHDs, the Z40/Z50 (40 t/50 t payloads) haul trucks, the Toro™ LH514BE – an AutoMine®-compatible cable-electric loader, boosted with battery technology – plus the 18-t-payload battery-electric Sandvik LH518B LHD and 50-t-payload battery-electric TH550B truck. This year will see the company officially release the LH514BE, which will be followed in 2023 by the TH665B and – judging from the preliminary nomenclature – a 15 t battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible LHD.
Three other battery-electric and AutoMine-compatible units are in the preliminary stages of development, scheduled for release in 2024-2025.
This comes on top of plans to electrify its full i-Series drilling line by 2030, drill rigs which tram on battery and plug into the grid while drilling/bolting.
Launches for the DD422iE-DC (development drill) and DS422iE (rock bolter) are expected in 2022, with the DL432iE (longhole drill) and the DT923iE (jumbo drill) coming to market between 2023 and 2026.
Since the rollout of the first battery-electric drill in 2016 – the DD422iE – 2.8 million metres had been drilled and 12,500 km had been trammed with these electric machines, Ager acknowledged.
It is not just product releases that are on the Sandvik roadmap, with Ager stating plans to develop different drivelines (battery-electric, hybrids, cable, battery-cable), quantify the value and beat the economics of conventional drivelines, expand into other applications such as narrow vein and narrow reef mines, and continue to develop 100% electrified, energy efficient mechanical cutting for soft- and hard-rock applications.
He also said the company would look to address the capital expenditure gap with diesel machines, aiming for cost parity from a total cost of operations perspective.
The company, at the same time, is planning to further its global capabilities to serve the electrified fleet throughout its entire life cycle, while building out battery optimisation expertise and developing global application knowledge to support customers in designing, planning and executing electric transition strategies.
This might look like a long ‘to-do’ list, but Ager’s colleague, Brian Huff, VP of Technology and Product Line for the BHEV business unit with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, was able to outline several real-world wins from machine deployments later at the conference that showed how far the company has already come in addressing industry pain points.
Huff, a co-founder of Artisan Vehicle Systems, relayed some observations from field trials of the company’s LH518B and Z50 battery-electric vehicles, summing them up in series of snappy statements such as: “everything will be serviced, whether it was intended to be or not”; “battery cells are consumable, but the driveline is not”; “damage is expected, resilience and serviceability are required”; “isolation fault monitoring is more than shock hazard prevention”; “availability improves with each ‘opportunity’”; and – one of the more important ones – “operators prefer BEVs”.
Delving into specifics, Huff said real-world trials had proven the opinion that electric drivelines came with dramatically longer life and less maintenance. He also acknowledged batteries had become the new ‘consumable’ in this equation.
“Maintenance requires parts, but comes with very low labour,” he said, explaining that battery modules can be replaced underground and then rebuilt at the factory with new cells, making rebuilds both quick and painless. At the same time, refreshing the battery brought opportunities to use improved cells as they are developed – a reflection on the accelerated winds of change in the battery market.
Battling early market perceptions, Huff said these machines were far from “experimental”, having been used and proven to work at many hard-rock mines. “They take a beating and keep on working and, despite what people may think, these batteries are not fragile,” he said.
One of the new solutions to have come out from these real-world trials is the introduction of a new battery cage design that aids serviceability, Huff said. Coming with removable side covers, an improved locking system and structural design, this battery cage incorporates the company’s AutoConnect function, which, when combined with AutoSwap, facilitates quick battery swapping without the operator having to leave the cabin. The new cage would be available on the TH665B as well as other models, Huff said.
He then put some names and numbers behind earlier statements, highlighting a trial of a Z50 truck at Pretivm’s Brucejack gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, that saw more than 90% machine availability, exhibited speeds of 9.5 km/h on a 15% grade with a 42-t load, and observed battery swap times of less than 10 minutes. This added up to a 42% increase in tonnes hauled compared with a diesel-equivalent machine and a 22% boost in speed.
The trial at New Gold’s New Afton gold mine, also in British Columbia, saw a 56% mucking cycle time beat over a diesel-powered-equivalent, a plus-70% ramp speed improvement (on a 17% ramp), and decreases of 80% and 90% in energy use and heat generated, respectively.
Referring to another LH518B trial where the machine only clocked in a 74.9% availability, Huff was quick to highlight that all the problems/failures that caused the reduction in availability were correctible.
And, channelling his engineering DNA and the leading role Sandvik is willing to take in the industry’s pursuit of the zero emission, electrified mine, he reflected on all these real-world trials with: “a failure isn’t a failure, it is an opportunity to improve.”
International Mining Team Publishing Ltd 2 Claridge Court, Lower Kings Road Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire England HP4 2AF, UK
Dml Spare Parts Spare Parts Tel: +44 (0) 1442 870 829 Fax: +44 (0) 1442 870 617 Email: [email protected] or [email protected]