Normet goes battery electric with full SmartDrive range of mining equipment starting with Spraymec

Normet, the fast-growing and highly innovative technology company from Finland is internationally renowned for its exceptional underground operation concepts. With the very first launch of the brand-new SmartDrive battery electric vehicle architecture at Bauma in Munich, Normet says it is “holding very steadily its position as a pioneer in tunnelling and mining equipment as well as underground expertise.” Topping that, Normet also presented the extraordinary SmartScan 3D laser scanning technology and SmartSpray, the next step towards automated concrete spraying technology.

The new SmartDrive fully electric battery operated machine is the sustainable, green and cost-saving technology developed by Normet since 2015 and presented at Bauma 2019. The design is not only based on an exchange from diesel to electric operation. It is a sophisticated and fully engineered battery electric architecture operating underground totally emission-free and saving costs at the same time. The first machine released is the SPRAYMEC 8100 SD  which was on display at Bauma. Other machines will follow. Much of the testing of the machines was achieved at FQM’s Pyhäsalmi base metals mine in Finland.

Normet SmartDrive is a fully new and modern technology using the latest long-life industrial grade lithium-ion battery technology with fast charging capability and electric motors specifically designed for harsh environments, which is available for all key machines of the mining and tunnelling portfolio. The batteries have a very long lifetime and a fast charging capability. With the onboard charging system, it needs only 2.5 hours to load the batteries from 0 to 80%, the tunnelling machine needs only one hour. The machine can also be charged any time  from any typical underground AC-socket or in the matter of minutes  by fast chargers. There is no time consuming and expensive battery swapping necessary. The battery is split into modules: in the case of malfunction of a module, it will be isolated and the rest will continue operating, without forcing the machine down somewhere in the mine or tunnel. Also, a very special feature of the electric vehicle are the two electric motors, which are redundant as well.

The fully emission-free, electric motors provide instant torque and safe operation in all underground situations like downhill, level or uphill tramming. No hot gases are exhausted and that is influencing the general design for ventilation of the mine or the tunnel, resulting in much lower operating costs for the ventilation. The whole driveline is optimised and all low-efficiency parts like gearbox, dropbox and shafts of the machine are eliminated. The hydraulic circuit with all rotating parts is reduced to a minimum. Altogether a lot of components which require maintenance are eliminated. The optimised tuning of the electric machine´s control system reduces the need to use service braking because the braking force is provided by the electric motors. Most of the time, there is a recuperation of power: during downhill driving the braking energy will be stored back into the batteries. The machine is equipped with four-wheel drive, a feature to hold the brakes automatically when stopping in the hill, the possibility to use only one pedal for driving, and three selectable speed ranges. With all these optimised features, the new generation of Normet mining and tunnelling equipment is more sustainable, less maintenance and service is needed and much more economical than other engine versions.

Spraying concrete now becomes more efficient and safer with the innovative 3D laser scanning technology SmartScan by combining the latest sensor technology with the successful shotcrete equipment and applications from Normet. SmartScan is designed for the dusty and harsh underground construction environment. Placed inside a robust stainless box mounted in front of the concrete spraying machine, the enclosure needs only to be opened for starting the scan via the touchscreen. The IP65 rated laser scans the face in 50 m maximum range, 0 to 180 degree horizontal and -60 to +140 degree vertical angle before spraying. With a second scan after spraying concrete, the software automatically compares both measurements and presents in real time the thickness of the applied shotcrete. This information is shown in easy to understand colours which directly gives an overview of the targeted thickness and the under- or overspray areas. Fast deployment and scan time help to operate without breaks and the results can be automatically generated for a concrete thickness report.

Talented operators at the concrete spraying machine becoming more and more rare with the result of huge differences in the quality of the sprayed concrete. Due to this fact, Normet developed the process automation SmartSpray to minimize the operator effect and increase the productivity of spraying. SmartSpray is available in the three versions Lite, Pro and ProPlus. SmartSpray Lite allows the operator to control only one spraying nozzle by using only one joystick to perform basic spraying movements instead of handling two or four joysticks. The nozzle position is maintained to align the concrete spray towards the surface. With this automation support of SmartSpray Lite, the operator achieves consistent and high-quality spraying results.

With SmartSpray Pro automatic movements are possible for regular spraying. The spraying nozzle moves from point-to-point and the spraying is automatic. The operator only needs to adjust the distance to the surface and to move to the next spraying segment. Large and smooth surfaces in tunnels are the result of the SmartSpray Pro.

SmartSpray ProPlus is designed to spray automatically a before defined area. The system automatically keeps the distance between the spraying nozzle and the wall profile, maintains the speed and achieves the demanded layer thickness. SmartSpray ProPlus automatically calculates the path for the nozzle movement and sprays the concrete, turning the sprayer operator from beginner to seasoned master.