Tag Archives: Cummins

Copper Mountain increases scope of trolley assist haulage project

Copper Mountain’s 2021 ESG Report has highlighted the progress the company has made on its “net-zero journey”, with its ongoing trolley assist project in British Columbia, Canada, one of the key drivers towards hitting its major 2035 goal.

The company operates its namesake mine in BC, which has recently increased throughput to 45,000 t/d as part of this net-zero journey.

Earlier this year, the company commissioned its trolley assist project with the help of Komatsu, SMS, ABB, BC Hydro and CleanBC. This project, the first of its kind in North America and a key plank of Copper Mountain’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035, was designed to support four full-sized, trolley-capable 830E-5 Komatsu trucks at a time with hauling ore up a 1-km section of ramp in the operation’s main pit to its primary crusher.

Since commissioning the project, the company has amended its plan to convert seven trucks to trolley assist operation, now saying a total of 11 trolley-capable Komatsu trucks will be available to use trolley assist in the pit.

Each truck is expected to reduce diesel use by approximately 400 litres per hour, the company says, which equates to approximately 1 t of CO2 emissions.

“The trolley assist system will reduce annual carbon emissions by 30% compared to 2019 levels,” Copper Mountain says. “This is based on calculated savings of 6,000 t CO2e/y for the initial seven trucks as calculated for the trial, which, when scaled to the full fleet of 28 trucks, would produce a savings of 24,000 t CO2e/y, or approximately 30% compared to 2019 levels.”

With additional trolley sections planned over the next five-to-seven years, Copper Mountain says it could see a reduction of carbon emissions of up to 50% compared with 2019 levels.

The fact the Copper Mountain Mine is connected to the BC electricity grid, which has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world due to being powered by clean and reliable hydroelectric power, makes the trolley assist project even more ‘sustainable’.

The company says it has been working with BC Hydro to upgrade the power supply infrastructure to the Copper Mountain Mine to provide more power for trolley assist and future power demands as it decarbonises and explores additional ways to electrify its operation.

Alongside the trolley assist project, Copper Mountain says it is working with partners to reduce emissions from diesel-powered haul trucks.

In 2021, it established a partnership with Cummins, Komatsu and SMS to test the use of a renewable diesel in haul trucks, and it continues to advance other partnerships to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Outside of trucks, Copper Mountain said it has targets to electrify its shovels in 2023 and drills in 2024.

Also in 2021, Copper Mountain collaborated with the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation and IBM to build a digital carbon emissions certification system called Mines Digital Trust. Using blockchain technology to attach ESG disclosures to metal production, this program enabled transparency along the supply chain and allowed third parties to track responsible producers through the Open Climate Network, led by the OpenEarth Foundation and the UN Global Innovation, the company said.

PAUS to showcase new scaler, concrete mixer and dump truck at Bauma

After already showcasing its battery-electric vehicle and corresponding electric driveline concept at Bauma 2019, PAUS is intending to bring even more new developments to the 2022 edition later this year.

The machines to be showcased at Bauma 2022, from October 24-30 in Munich, Germany, include the PAUS Scaler PScale 8-T (pictured), the PAUS concrete mixer UNI 50-5 BM-TM and the PAUS dump truck PMKM 8030.

In addition to the brand new designs and individual characteristics of the displayed machines, all of them will be featured with the latest technologies as part of PAUS’ general and forward-looking product developments.

Safety, performance, sensitivity and high durability are the design principles and values PAUS used for the development of its new PAUS Scaler PScale 8-T generation in order to provide what it says is a “unique scaling experience”.

“In underground operations rock falls could potentially lead to fatalities, injuries and damage to underground personnel and infrastructure,” the company said. “To prevent from and to ensure a higher safety working environment, any loose rock needs to be removed before the follow-up processes can be started.”

The highest performance possible is ensured thanks to the use of a high power output engine, 20° tiltable cabin, individual parameter adjustment of the hydraulic hammer, operation and diagnostic display, which provide higher reliability and quality of the scaling process.

The PScale series allows operators to adjust and check hammer parameters directly at the face instead of adjustments on the surface, while the operator’s cabin outperforms international ROPS/FOPS requirements. Other risks can be further alleviated by using additional configurations, such as plug-and-play for the remote control, 3P safety belts, a brake test button, hill start assistance and a pressurised cabin.

For working heights up to 10 m, Paus additionally offers the PScale 10-T.

The PAUS concrete mixer UNI 50 BM-TM offers a transport solution with a higher payload as well as safe and comfortable driving characteristics, even on rough terrain, PAUS says.

The larger UNI 50-5 carrier, which highlights the new chassis of the UNI series, comes with a payload of up to 17 t, increased ground clearance, a more powerful driveline and a spring-mounted fully suspended front axle, according to the company.

With an available volume of up to 7.5 cu.m, the PAUS transport mixer is a reliable partner for successful concrete works in underground mining, it says.

The UNI 50-5 carrier can also be provided with further superstructure such as the fuel tanks, lubricant service, water tanker, fire tanker, loading platform with crane and many more. Further to that, PAUS is offering a variety of customised configurations and options to meet the individual requirements of the different underground operations and conditions. The carrier can also be equipped with different types of changeable systems for carrying cassette mounted superstructures.

PAUS delivers the UNI 50-5 BM-TM with an engine power of up to 173 kW with Deutz or Mercedes Benz engines. The machine can also be fitted with optional Stage V compliant engines.

The PAUS dump truck PMKM 8030, meanwhile, is designed for narrow-vein operations, with a compact yet powerful configuration.

The combination of the improved design and characteristics with the latest electronics and a preliminary setup for smart equipment will provide a future-oriented solution in terms of operator comfort and safety, but also efficiency, productivity and operating cost for haulage in narrow-vein mines.

The well-established sister machine, PMKM 8010, is designed with less width at increased length and height, but the new PMKM 8030 comes with a broader, shorter and narrow design at a reduced loading height and with improved driving characteristics thanks to the lowered centre of gravity, larger tyres and new axles with integrated oscillation, PAUS says.

With a payload of 16,000 kg, the machine is fitted as standard with a 8 cu.m dump box and can be further customised for transport of bulk materials with higher or lower densities.

The machine is also available with smart systems like a bird’s eye view camera, tyre pressure control and load weighing, all of which can be wireless monitored and displayed via PAUS CONNECT.

The PMKM 8030 comes with a rotating driver’s seat for long distances of driving backward at high speeds (bidirectional) and a spacious and comfortable cab.

It also comes with a choice of different Cummins and Caterpillar diesel engines complying with varying regulations and power of up to 190 kW.

The machine also includes the PAUS standard safety package for underground mining machines eg SAHR brakes, a ROPS/FOPS cabin, enhanced LED lighting, etc.

PAUS concluded: “The multifaceted portfolio, the variety of options and the customised features available along with our machines will provide the basis for almost every task – it doesn’t matter how individual the solution needs to be.”

PAUS says it is already working on new solutions like a special mine rescue vehicle – currently being developed in cooperation with Dräger and a major European supplier for firefighting equipment. In addition to that the “Scale Sense” project of the Germany-based RWTH Aachen University – for the detection of loose rock to use with PAUS scalers – is close to reaching the next development stage for extended field testing.

Boart Longyear helps drillers recover more core with LF 160 drill rig updates

Boart Longyear is updating its LF™160 surface coring drill rig with, among other things, an inner tube that will allow drillers to retrieve a full 6-m inner tube out of the rod string using the wireline winch.

In addition, Boart is adding foldable walkways and Cummins Tier 3 engines to add efficiency and safety to its LF 160. When paired with the FL262 FREEDOM™ Loader, the LF 160 combination is, the company says, ideal for contractors who want to target sophisticated surface drilling exploration contracts that stipulate some of the highest safety standards, without compromising on productivity. The FL262 Freedom Loader is an innovative rod loading system that requires no intervention from the driller’s assistant to trip and align rods or connect to the top drive head.

The company introduced its LF 160 and FREEDOM™ Loader during MINExpo 2016.

The 6-m inner tube, coupled with the capability of handling full PQ inner tubes, means the LF 160 delivers more operating efficiency, reducing the frequency of retrieving the inner tube, which in turn decreases downtime, the company said.

Erik Gaugh, Product Manager – Capital Equipment, said: “Compared to a standard 3-m system, the 6-m inner tube system can deliver efficiencies of up to 50% for deeper holes. We anticipate the 6-m system to be a game changer for many of our customers.”

Foldable walkways are available on the LF 160T (truck) and are integrated on both sides of the rig with railings and kick plates, the company explained. The walkways provide safe access to the elevated rig platform on the truck chassis and eliminates the need for fall arrest protection. The walkways hydraulically fold in and out without the need for manual manipulation to further reduce the potential for hand injuries, Boart explained.

The company concluded: “Boart Longyear is committed to providing the safest, most productive, and most reliable rigs in the industry. The foldable platforms, 6-m inner tube system and Cummins Tier 3 engines are continued proof of that commitment.”

Cummins’ PrevenTech Mining keeps Komatsu trucks, wheel loaders going at Boliden mines

Cummins says its solutions are helping maximise machine uptime on trucks and wheel loaders running its engines at Boliden’s mines in Sweden and Finland.

In the vast open-pit copper mines here, the temperatures can drop as low as -40°C, testing the sturdiest of machinery working day and night extracting and hauling ore.

“It wouldn’t be so tough on the equipment if the thermometer stayed in roughly the same place for any decent length of time, but up there on the edge of the Arctic Circle it’s not unusual for a bitingly cold day to be followed by a more temperate one that feels positively tropical by comparison,” Cummins says.

The unpredictable swing in temperatures makes it difficult to keep equipment in full working order, with parts freezing and thawing, but it’s a challenge taken on by Cummins, which has signed service and maintenance agreements with the Swedish and Finnish distributors of Komatsu specialist mining equipment.

Cost-per-hour agreements – the first of their kind for Cummins in Europe – cover a total of 17 QSK60 Tier 4 Final engine-powered vehicles in Finland, while, in Sweden, a support contract covers a further nine examples of Komatsu’s 2,700 hp 930-E dump truck and a pair of the world’s largest wheel loaders, the L2350.

European DBU leader, Alok Joshi, and Sander Thorstensen, Cummins Leader for the Nordic region, arranged the contracts with the Komatsu distributors Hesselberg (Sweden) and SRO (Finland).

“We are relatively new to the mining sector in Europe,” Thorstensen says, “but all the feedback we have received so far has been incredibly positive, helped by our outstanding new PrevenTech® Mining telematics technology.”

PrevenTech Mining is a real-time digital monitoring and reporting system that provides an early warning of potential equipment operating issues. It helps plan maintenance and service, ensuring machinery is offline as little as possible, boosting productivity for, in this case, Boliden.

Janne Valmari is managing the Komatsu operations for Cummins Sweden. He has appointed two dedicated service technicians for Boliden’s Aitik copper mine just south of Gällivare in northern Sweden, and four technicians to cover Boliden’s Kevitsa mining operations across the border in Finland.

Valmari said the stream of data from PrevenTech allows the Cummins technicians to identify and diagnose performance issues faster and with greater accuracy, so they can see, for example, if an engine has been idling too long or revved too high, and can plan in the right fixes.

“It puts the mine owner in complete control, with no expensive surprises and benefitting from a higher return on their investment in product,” Valmari says.

Thorstensen added: “With their goal of keeping production running non-stop round-the-clock, I am certain Boliden sees the Komatsu-Cummins relationship as a core element of its strategy, and we will continue to strengthen our ties with Boliden and the Nordic mining industry in general.”

This is an edited version of an article that appeared in The Cummins Magazine

Cummins launches QSK95 engine for ultra-class mining trucks

Cummins has launched the high horsepower QSK95 95 litre engine for mining, heralding it as the most powerful engine ever to be developed for ultra-class trucks.

Already in use in the marine and rail sectors, the mining engine comes with 2,837-3,281 kW of power (two versions – the higher rated QSK95 4400 and the QSK95 3800), 15,245-17,653 Nm of torque and is available in US EPA Tier 2 and Tier 4 Final configurations.

“The QSK95 offers class-leading cost of production and performance, with the availability that comes with legendary Cummins reliability,” the company said. Cummins has sold more than 1,200 of these engines across 36 different countries, it added.

IM understands the engine is being trialled in trucks like the 363 t Komatsu 980Es working at high altitudes in Latin America, with potential to be deployed in ultra-class trucks working in similar environments from other OEMs.

Cummins says the QSK95 delivers an “optimum power-to-weight ratio for 400 t (363 tonne) haul trucks”, a 3,800 hp rating for increased fuel efficiency and, on average, a 15% better life to overhaul, leading to longer engine lifespan with fewer overhauls.

“Specially designed single-stage turbocharging system means the QSK95 reliably maintains big power, even at high altitudes”, Cummins said. It also comes with lower vibration and less noise, thanks to the simple compact V16 design and stiff engine block.

Komatsu commissions Australia’s first Tier 4 Final ultra-class haul truck

In an Australia first, Komatsu has commissioned the inaugural Tier 4 Final version of its 930E-5 ultra-class mining truck in Australia.

The commissioning is part of the company’s commitment to designing and manufacturing mining equipment that, it says, advances its corporate social responsibility aims while embracing UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This latest factory-designed emission control technology solution, which meets the most stringent North America and EU emissions regulations, has been adopted by Komatsu Australia to meet a client’s specific operational needs, the company said.

“Komatsu has a strong commitment to environmental best practice, with a continuous focus on reducing our environmental impacts and our carbon footprint,” Jason Arthur, Komatsu’s National Product Manager – Mining, said.

“Our ongoing research and development efforts include developing new products that significantly reduce fuel consumption as well as greenhouse gas emissions.”

Komatsu’s Tier 4 Final compliant, 290-t payload 930E-5 incorporates on-board after-treatment system that significantly reduces the Scope 1 emissions produced during the haulage process at mines, the company says.

These emissions are an unavoidable by-product of the high temperature combustion process in the diesel engines that power most mining equipment, Arthur explained.

“This emission reduction technology is an option that now can be incorporated into Komatsu’s class leading 930E-5 model,” he said. “To achieve this, Komatsu worked with our large horsepower engine partner Cummins to provide a simple, low maintenance solution to meet Tier 4 Final emissions requirements.”

The Cummins-sourced engine treats particulate matter in the engine cylinders through an advanced high-pressure fuel injection control system to reduce PM 2.5 by 80% (compared with Tier 2 engine levels). In turn, the nitrogen oxide greenhouse gas emissions are treated out of cylinder through a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) after-treatment process.

This modular SCR system consists of an airless diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) dosing system and features an integrated decomposition chamber with a maintenance strategy that aligns with the life of the engine. The SCR units are contained within the truck’s rear-exiting exhaust system.

Komatsu’s use of the flow-through exhaust aftertreatment system delivers ultra-low emissions while increasing fuel efficiency without increasing backpressure, according to the company.

Critical engine parameters are monitored by the integrated engine management system to ensure optimised DEF consumption, Arthur said.

Tier 4 emission technology is a small portion of Komatsu’s overall emission reduction strategy, with the company continuing to actively invest in research and development projects that focus on reducing customers’ Scope 1 emissions and using alternate energy sources, the company said.

In addition to meeting the technology challenges in developing a Tier 4 Final compliant version of the 930E-5, the customer also requested Komatsu provide a truck with significantly lower noise emission levels.

“Our US-based Komatsu Engineering team became intimately involved and created a factory-engineered sound suppression solution that would meet our customer’s requirements,” Arthur said. “These factory-designed sound treatments more than halved the standard truck’s emitted sound power levels, resulting in a target sound power level of less than 113 dBA.

“Successfully achieving these sound levels was a very challenging undertaking for a large mining truck powered by an engine with an output of 2,700 hp (2,014 kW).”

National Group ups the excavating ante at NSW gold mine with Liebherr R 9200

National Group, through National Plant & Equipment, has supplied a Liebherr R 9200 excavator to an open-pit gold mine in western New South Wales, Australia.

The Liebherr R 9200 offers the biggest payload in its class with the 12.5 cu.m bucket capacity enabling sustainable performance and peak fuel burn efficiency in the most challenging conditions, according to the OEM.

Equipped with a Cummins QSK38 engine, with a rating of 810 kW at 1,800 revolutions per minute, the R 9200 is available powered by both diesel and electric motors. It can also be fitted with backhoe and face shovel attachments.

National Group Managing Director, Mark Ackroyd, said the arrival of the Liebherr R 9200 had further diversified the company’s already impressive fleet of equipment.

“The feedback from site is that the Liebherr R 9200 has been very well received,” Ackroyd told Australian Mining. “Our customers have been impressed with the performance of the Liebherr R 9200; it’s a very good machine and is competitive with other machines of a similar size and type.”

National Group is known across Australia for its dry hire of heavy earthmoving equipment. Working alongside Liebherr, it selected the R 9200 excavator for site, applying the joint understanding of the mine, the work being completed there and previous success using Liebherr equipment.

Liebherr-Australia Major Account Manager, Ben Kerr, explained: “Liebherr’s relationship with National, and understanding of the gold mine site requirements, allowed us to put forward the appropriate sized excavator and tailored bucket size to suit both National’s and site’s requirements.

“The addition of this R 9200 to National’s fleet further expands their range of mining equipment, building on the strong relationship and ease of doing business between the two companies.”

Cummins power units set for take off

Cummins has launched new engine power take-off (PTO) capabilities for its B6.7 and L9 Performance Series Power Units that could help support underground mining equipment, as well as crushing and screening units.

Launched at Hillhead 2018, Cummins’ power units are available from 75-503 kW, and delivered as a complete and ready-made package. This comprises an engine, exhaust after-treatment system, radiator, and cooling system, plus auxiliaries such as mounting feet, hoses and an air cleaner.

More than 60% of the content is pre-approved, making the machine integration process simpler and quicker, according to the company.

Jeremy Harsin – Cummins Off-Highway Marketing Director – said: “Our Performance Series power units offer a flexible drop-in solution for manufacturers. The high-power density of our engines enables them to deliver high machine capability for hard-working applications such as crushing, screening and pumping.”

Examples of installations to date include the L9 Power Units powering Anaconda Equipment International’s new J12 and I12 mobile crushing machines.

“To increase the flexibility and capability of the power units, we are integrating new single and dual rear-engine power take-offs (REPTO),” Harsin said. “These complement their standard PTO capability used for items such as hydraulic pumps. We are also making these available on the base engines without the pack.”

As an example, fitted with the dual REPTO, the L9 will have a total drive capability of 560 Nm. This will make the engine capable of driving additional pumping capability through SAE B 2 and 4 bolt mounts, according to the company. Integrated into the flywheel housing, the dual REPTO is compact and has a minimal impact on engine packaging. Added weight is around 100 kg.

“For equipment manufacturers, they have the ability to efficiently drive more from the engine without the need for additional aftermarket systems,” Harsin explained. “This would support driving of hydraulic pumps for all sorts of machine functions from steering systems to fans, etc. It will reduce installation costs and complexity, for a more integrated solution.”

Sandvik ups the drilling ante with DT1132i jumbo

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has launched a new underground jumbo that, it says, is purpose-designed for fast and accurate drilling in tunnelling and cavern excavation.

The Sandvik DT1132i jumbo is the latest addition to Sandvik’s already extensive range of underground drill rigs. Together with the new high frequency rock drill Sandvik RD535 and rock tools designed for high speed drilling, it provides users with a heavy duty solution for their underground drilling needs, according to the company.

“All Sandvik DTi tunnelling jumbos have been developed with a special modular design that makes them highly flexible and versatile,” Sandvik says. “Suitable for fast face drilling or mechanised long-hole drilling and bolting, they are proving be highly productive, reliable and effective across the world.”

These rigs also use the latest developments in automated drilling solutions such as the iSURE® tunnel management software and SICA intelligent control system.

The new machine is a three-boom, electro-hydraulic jumbo. The computer-controlled rig can use both operator-controlled boom positioning and full-face automatic drilling functions, and also incorporates some of Sandvik’s latest developments in digital solutions. It comes equipped with Sandvik’s new high frequency RD535 rock drill, robust booms and advanced drill string guides, “making it a complete and new high-speed drilling solution”, Sandvik says.

New features

The RD535 rock drill automated drilling features and new rock tools mean that that the DT1132i delivers the results required, but with 40% less exhaust particles, up to 20% higher penetration rate and with 25% more side coverage (3 x SB160i 190m2 -19,400m x 12,200m), Sandvik says.

The premise behind the development of the new DT1132i is to provide users with increased drilling performance and accuracy, thanks to its fast and adaptive drilling control capabilities, able to account for changing rock conditions. The rig design also maximises operator safety and ergonomics, with improved fleet standardisation (high parts commonality) enabling extended rig usage across different work sites.

Among the new features on the new rig is a 3 m telescopic TB160i boom, optimised with a front wrist structure that provides 1 m additional side coverage as standard, and 4 m side coverage with telescopic adjustment. The new boom also uses a new fully proportional boom control for accurate and fast manual boom handling, with intelligent compensation models to give accuracy in all operating conditions, according to Sandvik.

The rig also comes with an ergonomic vibration-dampened cabin, providing the operator with excellent all-round visibility, low noise level inside the cab – thanks to its acoustic windows – a filtration system to minimise dust inside the cab (according to standard EU6/7) and an open and spacious operator environment.

To further boost the efficiency of the rig and the operator, diagnostics information is integrated into one display. These include drilling diagnostics for boom instrumentation, drilling control system and shank lubrication, together with carrier diagnostics for electric motors, pumps (hydraulics and water), transmission system, diesel engines, brake system, jacks and cable reels.

Power and efficiency

The new RD535 rock drill has maximised power transfer capabilities leading to a high drilling speed without compromising hole quality, Sandvik says. It has an efficient and powerful patented percussion mechanism, as well as a tool-saving, efficient and patented stabiliser structure for increased reliability. These features, together with improved flushing and efficient cooling, provide uninterrupted high-speed drilling.

The DT1132i possesses a powerful transmission system with a Cummins B6.7, 168 kW diesel engine (Stage V) which can be operated up to 5,000 m above sea level without any modifications. The new engine provides up to a 90% reduction in NOx emissions (compared with stage III engines), with more than 90% mass reduction for diesel particulate monitoring. The rig uses a new carrier that has more efficient hydraulic and water systems – including separate circuits for both drilling and tramming hydraulics, proportional flushing valves to adjust the flushing flow and inlet/outlet pressure monitoring.

The rig steers by hydraulic rear wheel steering and its electric current reducer unit provides electric reactive power element from an on-board capacitor, reducing electric current draw by up to 20%. The 3 x 90 kW IE3 electric motors require 2.5% less energy, with all working lights based on LED technology, automatically controlled based on tramming direction and with directional lights available where needed, Sandvik says.

A new feed – TF535i – also provides increased feed force for high power drilling, while a saving hose reel structure gives longer service life for the hoses which are of an increased size.

Automated drilling

The DT1132i is available with some of the latest developments in automation, including a SICA control system for intelligent torque control/feed percussion, with monitoring and fleet management for My Sandvik. To further improve the excavation process, remote access via WLAN can be chosen to allow web-based data transfer as well as online measurement while drilling.

As ‘Gold’ standard, the DT1132i comes with torque based semi-automated drilling, manual boom control and rod handling, all enabling drilling to a predefined depth with feed angle measurement and drill bit location measurement. Drill plan visualisation and rig navigation are also included. In addition to these standard features, the rig is also available as part of the ‘Platinum’ package with automatic long hole drilling and fully automatic face drilling.

New drilling tools

For face drilling, the DT1132i comes with the new Sandvik Alpha 360 drilling system for the RD535 rock drill. This has features such as an optimised rod diameter with increased flushing hole size, increased flushing and higher penetration rates, as well as a new Sandvik Alpha 360 connection. The latter possesses a new larger bit thread for increased drilling power and straighter holes which gives higher advance rate per blast. For grouting, the GT38 system provides 50% less deviation and increased service life.

Cummins powers up solutions drive in face of mining energy evolution

Craig Wilkins, Director of Prime Power & Global Sales Support at Cummins, sees the company’s new HSK78G natural gas generator as a mainstay in the mine power sector, able to offer companies fuel flexibility, reliable power generation and comparatively low emissions.

With the industry currently undergoing an evolution in power inputs – the focus having shifted towards renewable and clean options that can offer both a reduced carbon footprint and energy diversity – the HSK78G can be used alongside the likes of diesel, solar and wind energy to ensure mining companies have a reliable power solution in place.

Cummins debuted the 1.6-2 MW generator series at the 2019 Middle East Electricity show back in March and Wilkins told IM at the AIMEX 2019 show in Sydney, Australia, last week (Cummins stand pictured above) that the reception from the mining sector has been positive.

The HSK78G (pictured, left) has been running at Blackham Resources’ Matilda-Wiluna gold mine, in Western Australia, for a few years, in addition to units being deployed at mine sites in China. The company also has plans to test the generator’s efficiency at altitude with a mining customer trial lined up next year in Latin America.

Cummins says the HSK78G is a prime power solution for heavy industry installations in the most extreme environments. Its engineering is designed to push the boundaries of performance and challenge the perceived limitations of natural gas generators for mining operations, according to the company, with the generator designed to operate at the highest altitudes in the most remote locations, all far from the closest grid. This sees the unit offer full power capability without derating at 50°C (122°F) and 500 m (1,640 ft) above sea level (asl), and up to 4,000 m asl with some derating.

It also offers “barrier-breaking fuel flexibility” and the ability to burn pipeline natural gas, flare gas down to 40 methane number (MN), biogas and ultra-low fuels down to 273 BTU/scf without derating. At the same time, it can handle contaminant levels on very aggressive fuels, Cummins says.

This sees the generator deliver high electrical efficiency of up to 44.2% (50 Hz) and 43.5% (60 Hz) on a range of pipeline natural gas down to 70 MN, with as low as 250 mg/NM³ nitrous oxide emitted without aftertreatment – bringing it in compliance with the relevant EU and US standards.

The most obvious markets for the generator are those regions with plentiful natural gas supplies – Australia being one – according to Wilkins. Yet, as all operators are looking to cut their fuel and electricity consumption and diversify their energy mix, the 78 L generator set could end up reaching a far wider audience.

Battery backup is being discussed across the mine power sector currently, with installations such as the wind power solution at Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine in Nunavik, Canada, held up as an example of how effective renewable energy can be even when the wind is not blowing.

Despite this, not all renewable power solutions using batteries offer an economic business case for mines. In some applications, a battery’s weight and size can also inhibit operations.

This leaves a void for other energy inputs to fill. Wilkins is confident natural gas and the generators Cummins is now producing can fill that void in many markets looking for a cleaner power supply than the alternative diesel equivalent, and one that can be relied on regardless of weather.

Cummins has invested heavily in the HSK78G, which it is hoping will become a platform it can build a natural gas generator portfolio on.

“It can deal with all different gas types,” Wilkins told IM, explaining that the generator has been fitted with a variety of sensors that assess the energy input and react accordingly. This allows customers to use a variety of natural gas in the generator from different industrial sectors, while benefitting from the same performance.

Different sensors on the machine can constantly monitor the generator’s performance, providing the baseline predictive maintenance solution every mining customer operating in a remote region is currently after.

Realising this 12 cylinder generator is likely to be used as part of a wider power solution – not necessarily being in constant operation – the HSK78G is also fitted with a load variation system that is able to manage fluctuations in power supply.

As the ‘platform’ comment would indicate, the HSK78G is not the start and end of Cummins’ venture into the gas generator field.

Wilkins said the company is already working on the launch of a 500 kW gas generator that could be used in remote communities (such as those around mine sites). This is expected to be launched later this year.

He also said Cummins’ engineers envisaged both 16-cylinder and 20-cylinder generators being added to the range.

The company is not setting its sights solely on natural gas as far as mining energy diversity goes.

Wilkins said. “We have got to be across a number of different solutions.”

To this end, Cummins has made investments in natural gas, diesel and batteries. It is also awaiting approval for its acquisition of fuel cell manufacturer Hydrogenics.

This corporate activity is a clear indicator of the changing power characteristics of not only the mine power segment, but the wider industrial energy sector.

“Customers are demanding more of a ‘solution’ than a product now,” Wilkins said. “There are a lot of companies out there that can provide the individual components, but we want to provide these solutions.”