At the Epiroc Engineering centre in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, a team led by Sathish Selvan recently helped a team in Sudbury complete the battery conversion of a 10 t class ST1030 Scooptram. The company stated: “Epiroc is surely marching towards sustainability with our team successfully developing conversion kits that enable customers to transform diesel-powered machines to battery-electric versions, thereby improving the work environment and lowering emissions while improving productivity. Customers today are environmentally aware and can use these conversion kits and be the crusaders of greener operations, walking the talk.”
Epiroc told IM Editor Dan Gleeson in February 2021 that it is taking a two-pronged approach to accelerating electrification in the mining sector. Having already amassed more than 130,000 operating hours from new generation battery-electric machines that include 7 t and 14 t LHDs; 20 t and 42 t trucks; and a range of battery-electric mid-sized drilling equipment including face drilling, production drilling and rock reinforcement rigs, it is now taking its first steps into offering miners a commercial electrification retrofit option initially for the ST1030 and ST14 Scooptrams.
Lina Jorheden, Operations Manager with Epiroc’s Rocvolt function, provided some further details on the initial underground LHD retrofit plans that are now coming to fruition.“The first two loader retrofits will be launched on the market during the year,” she said. “We are in the final prototype stages with both kits and the retrofitted machines should be up and running by mid-year in different countries.” Both kits are being developed in different ways, according to Jorheden, with one specialised conversion project orchestrated by an ‘agile global team’ and the other kit leveraging off the existing platform for the Scooptram Battery machine already available on the market.
The maintenance barriers to entry for these kits are relatively low, according to Jorheden. “The idea behind these kits is that we will utilise our global network, with highly skilled mid-life workshops, to be able to carry out the retrofit, she said. All this hints at both the type of customers thecompany is aiming this solution at, in addition to the market potential Epiroc feels electrification retrofits have. “There are a lot of customers that see this as agood complement to the electrification journey the industry is going on,” Jorheden said. “Some of these are very technology focused and might be candidates for new battery-electric machines, but want a 10 t battery-electric machine now; others are lower down the technology adoption scale and see this as a way to take advantage ofthe benefits of battery operation without taking too much financial risk.”
Franck Boudreault, Electrification Transformation Lead for Epiroc’s Underground division, added: “The 10-t segment for loaders is huge and this offering will help us reach out to a considerable number of customers and minesites.”