Tag Archives: Batteries as a Service

Epiroc drilling, bolting, electrification innovations set for MINExpo 2021

Epiroc’s MINExpo 2021 line-up is set to include a variety of innovative and productive offerings including its latest Pit Viper blasthole drill rig, its recently launched Boomer underground drill, new rock bolters and a host of aftermarket products geared to mine electrification.

Making its MINExpo debut in Las Vegas, September 13-15, will be the Epiroc Pit Viper 291 (pictured above). This rig is designed to tackle larger diameter drilling in soft-to-medium ground conditions in both rotary and DTH drilling. The new addition to the Pit Viper range is capable of 171-311 mm diameter holes with a 16.76 m clean hole single pass with the drill bit above the table. It is also available with an 18 m option.

The Pit Viper 291 offers more than 100 different options to configure the rig to a client’s specifications. With Epiroc’s Rig Control System (RCS), the Pit Viper 291 can be configured with scalable automation features, including fully-autonomous drilling, the company said.

The new generation SmartROC D65 XLF will also be highlighted. This rig is packed with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling, and is equipped with an intelligent fuel-saving system that reduces fuel consumption by 20% compared with the FlexiROC D65 drill rig, according to the company. It is available in three feed beam sizes to carry 5-, 6- or 8-m pipes, and has the capacity to drill down to a depth of 56 m.

The smaller SmartROC T45 will also be discussed. This tophammer surface drill rig for quarrying boosts productivity, reduces fuel costs and offers smart options and features such as Hole Navigation System, AutoPos and ROC Manager.

Epiroc’s Boomer M20 with battery option, launched earlier this year, will also receive the MINExpo 2021 treatment.

With protected hydraulics, sensors and cables, the new Boomer M20 is the next generation in underground mining, the company says. The world’s first face drill rig with internal hydraulics, the Boomer M20 is designed to minimise unplanned stops and maximise uptime and performance even in the toughest conditions.

High precision and performance are ensured with on-board automation features, tele-remote capabilities and digital drill plans to provide higher reliability and quality of the full drill cycle. The Boomer M20 comes with a battery-electric driveline option where, with the on-board charger, charging automatically happens while connected to the grid for drilling.

The Boltec M10 and E10 bolting rigs also come with a battery driveline option.

This next-generation rock reinforcement rig is available in two versions – the Boltec M10 and E10 – with the Boltec E10 showcased at MINExpo 2021. Designed for increased productivity and quality bolt installation, the rigs feature a new operator control panel, reduced noise levels, better visibility and improved operator ergonomics, according to the company.

The Boltec M10 and E10 can handle different types of bolts, mesh and installation methods, as well as optional battery-electric driveline or diesel hydraulic, radial and face bolting capabilities and extension drilling capability. Optional tele-remote operation is available, as well as single bolt auto installation with self-drilling anchor bolts in combination with pumpable resin.

Epiroc will be exhibiting several products from its tools range including the COP 57P, a versatile DTH hammer range. It is based on a modular design platform unique in today’s market, according to the company. The customisable hammer is available in 19 variants specific to mining, quarrying, water well drilling and geotechnical drilling.

To highlight Epiroc’s commitment to continued customer support, it will showcase several aftermarket products at MINExpo 2021.

Electrification solutions from Epiroc support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles, with several products and services in the battery field:

  • The Epiroc battery system is designed with modularity and safety in mind, ensuring each individual part of the battery can be monitored and controlled separately;
  • Batteries as a Service eliminates the risks of owning batteries and the solution provides all the benefits of electrical power;
  • Battery conversion kits from Epiroc will speed up the switch from diesel-powered equipment to battery-electric vehicles;
  • The electrification offering from Epiroc also includes a wide range of charging products; and
  • With the recent acquisition of Meglab, Epiroc has strengthened its capacity to provide customers with the infrastructure required as mines transition to BEV.

Apart from the electrification offering, Epiroc will display service products, upgrades and programs, including the COP MD20 hydraulic rock drill and programs in the areas of “Remanufacturing and Live Work Elimination”.

During MINExpo 2021, Epiroc will showcase automation and information management solutions as part of its 6th Sense capabilities. 6th Sense is Epiroc’s answer to the mining and construction industries need for digitalisation as an enabler for safety and productivity gains.

Epiroc to supply Vale with BaaS agreement, battery-electric equipment

Epiroc says the world’s first Batteries as a Service (BaaS) agreement has been finalised in Canada, with Vale and the mining OEM partnering on this new approach for utilising battery technology in mining operations.

Along with the BaaS agreement, Epiroc will be providing Vale with 10 battery-electric vehicles for two Canadian mine sites. These machines will include four Scooptram ST14 loaders, two Boomer M2C drill rigs, two Boltec MC bolting rigs and two Minetruck MT42 trucks. The miner will also acquire three of Epiroc’s charging cabinets and seven charging posts for equipment support, the company said.

Vale has previously said it hopes to have upward of 20 battery-powered vehicles operating within its North Atlantic operations (Creighton, Coleman, Copper Cliff, Garson and Thompson mines) by the end of 2020.

As mining companies continue to strive for sustainable productivity and zero emissions, the fast evolution and development of different options within the field of battery technology can be extremely challenging, Epiroc says.

With BaaS, Epiroc works directly with the customer to define a battery plan that suits the needs of their operation. The lifespan is guaranteed and the battery status is carefully monitored to ensure predictive maintenance with reduced downtime, according to the company. If a customer wants to increase or decrease their capacity, they can adjust their plan and the service will be tailored to meet their requirements.

As part of an ongoing sustainability commitment, Epiroc will remove old batteries from site and replace them with new batteries. These older batteries are then used for secondary applications and will be recycled at the end of the process, the company says.

The delivery of the battery equipment to both sites will occur over the course of 2020 and into the March quarter of 2021, according to Epiroc.

“A key component to the success of this offering is the flexibility it allows our customers,” Shawn Samuels, Product Manager Rocvolt, Epiroc Canada, said. “We take ownership of the battery itself and automatically replace and update the units as needed, which means the mine site can breathe easier and continue to focus on heightened production.”

Jason Smith, General Manager Epiroc Canada, said: “We value and look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Vale as we move towards a zero emissions future in mining together. We both recognise the positive impact a successful battery service implementation can have on operations, so our mutual confidence in one another is well placed.”

Epiroc trusting its 6th Sense on mine automation, electrification, digitalisation developments

During an enlightening Capital Markets Day, in Stockholm, Sweden, Epiroc backed up its credentials as a leader in the mine automation, digitalisation and electrification spaces, outlining its progress to date and its medium- and long-term plans to capture more market share.

A few weeks after putting on the investor showcase – but before Helena Hedblom was announced as the incoming President and CEOIM spoke with President and CEO, Per Lindberg, and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Mattias Olsson, to get some detail behind the presentation slides.

IM: Automation featured very widely in the capital markets day (CMD) presentations earlier this month: In general, how would you characterise the mining industry appetite for this new technology? Where is the average customer on your automation scale?

PL: First of all, the appetite is very large; most customers are looking at automation in one way or another.

It is hard to do a mathematical average when it comes to where the industry currently is, but the average miner is probably down on the left-hand side of that scale (pictured below) – somewhere in between tele-remote and single machine automation.

IM: Over the next five years, where do you see most potential growth for autonomous solutions in terms of underground or open-pit mining? What market dynamics are accelerating this uptake?

PL: Most likely it will happen in both surface and underground. The potential for productivity and safety improvements is probably greater in underground, though.

This trend is clearly driven by productivity, cost efficiency and safety. Those would be the key drivers for automation. It is about taking people out of the line of fire, as well as having close to 24/7 production.

IM: Following the 34% stake acquisition of ASI Mining last year, would you say the project Epiroc and ASI are working on at Ferrexpo’s Yeristovo mine is representative of how you envisage doing business together in the future?

PL: That is the reason that we initially acquired the 34% stake in ASI Mining; we wanted to go in that direction. In that respect, I think the Ferrexpo example is representative of how we will cooperate with ASI.

Of course, ASI can also offer a standalone solution without Epiroc being present on the automation side, so we are also promoting their offering too.

IM: How does Epiroc, as an OEM, balance its machine building and maintenance service offering? Does the ability to keep machines working longer through sophisticated monitoring systems and better manufacturing somewhat inhibit your ability to sell new machinery?

PL: To a certain extent, we are probably cannibalising our new machine sales with increased service intensity and improved servicing products. That is most likely the consequence. On the other hand, we also feel that it is only right to offer this type of aftercare and servicing.

Yet, you cannot continue to prolong the life of a piece of equipment forever. It needs to be replaced at some point.

Overall, the servicing offering works well for us and, we think, it is good for our customers in terms of increasing the life of their equipment.

IM: Factoring this in, what percentage of revenue is your aftermarket business likely to represent in the next 10 years (from 65% today)?

PL: It’s difficult to say if it is going to be higher, or not, but it is likely that the volume of service will increase. That is based on what we are talking about – the intensified servicing we are offering, the products we have developed and the fact that we are increasing the market share within our own fleet.

Whether it continues to be 65% of the overall business depends on activity in the rest of the group.

IM: Along these lines, how long does the company anticipate its new battery-electric loading fleets lasting compared with, say, the diesel-powered fleets you were selling 10 years ago?

PL: The wear and tear of the actual machine will be the same – that is not going to change because of the drivetrain.

But, having an electric drivetrain is different from diesel; we have to see what the long-term maintenance needs are compared with diesel. The life of the drivetrain also depends very much on the utilisation of the machine.

IM: Of the recent innovations the company has launched (or is about to launch) – 6th Sense, a semi-automated explosives delivery system (with Orica), Scooptram Automation Total, Powerbit, etc – which has the strongest business case in mining?

PL: I think 6th Sense is really a packaging of all of our different offerings within automation. In that regard, it is has the highest potential. Which components of 6th Sense have the highest potential? We’ll have to wait and see.

The semi-automated explosives delivery system with Orica is a very specific innovation, but we very much believe in automating this mining process because of the safety and productivity benefits it brings. But we are only just starting this development compared with 6th Sense, which has already launched.

Powerbit is, again, very specific, but…allows us to deliver a complete offering both in terms of machine and consumables that will enable higher productivity and automation. That should have a high potential in the market.

IM: What does the Epiroc mining roadmap look like for the next 10-30 years? I imagine wider adoption of hard-rock cutting, automation, electrification and digitalisation are in there, but what other technology evolutions are being planned for?

PL: We have to continue to work with all of those three – automation, electrification and digitalisation – as they will deliver significant benefits for the industry. That is where we need to focus over that 10-year timeframe.

These three also have the potential to further integrate the value chain in mining within the future digitalisation space. We need to both continue to work with these technologies and our customers to ensure we have greater market penetration in all these areas.

IM: And, hard-rock cutting? Is this as important as these three?

PL: For specific applications, mechanical cutting and the Mobile Miners have their relevance and work well. But we believe for the foreseeable future, the majority of hard-rock excavation will be carried out by drilling and blasting in the mining and tunnelling sectors.

IM: During the CMD there was mention of “cost per measure” contracts under the digitalisation heading. Could you go into some detail about how the company is offering these and if they are tied in with financing agreements for your equipment?

PL: In terms of cost per measure, one example would be cost per metre contracts in consumables and rock drilling tools.

MO: We also provide finance for equipment and it could be that the equipment is financed and we have a cost per metre contract in place. Those two are not connected or tied, though.

It could be that there is more of this ‘pay-for-performance’ type of contract in the future – where you charge per tonne of ore excavated, for example – but, if it does come, I don’t think it will happen quickly.

IM: Similarly Epiroc talked about “new business models” in 2020 for underground equipment at the CMD. What might these new business models be? What is the need for them?

PL: It could be revenue streams into software, to information management, to advanced service agreements, to Batteries as a Service for battery vehicles.

The reasons for establishing these models is the continuous development of software, new updates for machines, etc that require different models.

When it comes to Batteries as a Service, it is a different model again looking to transfer the energy cost of the battery from capex to opex in order to facilitate the timely decisions for customers and reduce the cost of operation for our customers.

These new models are all based on development of technologies.