TraxIQ has been launched, a new Anglo American Venture that has set out with the specific aim of disrupting the status quo in haulage in quarrying and mining. It is being led by Luke Smith, who is Principal, Technology Development at Anglo American, working with other key team members including Anglo American Venture Builder Aljoscha Gleser.
Smith says TraxIQ is making bold progress towards a smarter, safer, more sustainable future for mining and quarrying, as when your trucks aren’t operating, you’re losing money. He says its autonomous vehicles will reduce productivity issues and keep profits on track. And whether operations are open pit or underground, greenfield or brownfield, TraxIQ is developing solutions that are scalable. “We’re reimagining mining with modular components, lighter materials, and smart technologies. The result will be a green, low-energy solution that protects the environment — and your bottom line.”
Aiming high at twice the efficiency and twice the speed, TraxIQ adds: “Our vision is a future in which CAPEX, OPEX, and human error decrease; profit, performance, and reliability increase; and nothing stays the same.” It is also seeking input from the mining and quarrying industries. “The more we understand the specific challenges you face, the better our solutions will be.”
This new approach to haulage was hinted at earlier this year at the Bank of America 2023 Smart Mine 4.0 conference, when Donovan Waller, Anglo American Group Head of Technology Development reminded the audience that mining has been using trucks & shovels for the past one hundred years – probably the most successful combination of mining technology ever. But there is still a lot of room for further innovation: “I attribute their success predominantly down to flexibility, reliability & scalability. We stepped into this hallowed ground and allowed ourselves a blank sheet exercise to address the shortcoming of mining trucks, namely: cost, speed & energy consumption.”
By adjusting the base operational assumptions of loading, and working with vehicle designers and tyre producers Anglo American says it has re-imagined weight distribution, symmetry, modularity and designing using only off the shelf components. “We surprised ourselves and have created a unique alternative value proposition, using the vehicle as a sensor, almost halving the energy used, increasing speed & effectiveness, all at a reduced cost. Whilst still early days – we have the makings of a future mining system focused on precision.”
Anglo American already has significant experience in disrupting haulage from a powertrain perspective through working closely with First Mode, the specialist engineering technology company it partnered with to develop the nuGen™ Zero Emissions Haulage Solution, a retrofit Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle design which was deployed on a Komatsu 930E that is still running at the Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa. Anglo American went on to become majority shareholder in First Mode, which today is working on applying this technology (plus Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Battery Electric Vehicle retrofit solutions) both on Anglo American’s own fleets but also commercially to other interested groups.