Tag Archives: drivetrains

ABB and MEDATech team up to tackle mine decarbonisation

ABB says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MEDATech to jointly explore solutions to decarbonise mining operations through charging solutions and optimised electric drive systems in battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for heavy-duty applications.

The two companies will share expertise and collaborate in bringing solutions to market that will reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with heavy machinery in mining, they say.

Technology provider ABB and MEDATech bring complementary expertise to designing and building electric heavy mobile equipment. The collaboration could involve exploring further development and possible technologies for high power and automated charging and connector systems to facilitate the adoption of BEVs in industries with heavy machinery.

“We are very excited to be working with ABB in this new and dynamic field of electric vehicles and will bring our advanced drive train technology to the forefront alongside ABB’s advanced charging technology,” Rob Rennie, Founder and President of MEDATech, said. “Collaborating to accelerate the adoption to emission-free transport systems enabling cleaner operations is truly at the heart of our company.”

The collaboration with MEDATech, which largely works across the mining, construction and energy sectors, is the latest in a series that ABB is developing with OEMs and technology innovators to accelerate the transition to all-electric mines.

Mehrzad Ashnagaran, ABB’s Global Product Line Manager Electrification & Composite Plant, said: “Within the ABB Ability™ eMine framework, ABB is increasingly working with OEMs and technology innovators to fast-track the development of new emissions-reducing systems through the electrification and automation of the whole mining operation. Strategic collaborations, such as with MEDATech, provide solutions that support responsible mining operations. The aim of our combined solutions is to enhance the efficiency and flexibility of customer businesses, contribute to the reduction of CO₂ and the realisation of a sustainable society.”

Nic Beutler, ABB’s Global Product Manager Power System & Charging Solutions, added: “The mining sector has set clear and ambitious targets to decarbonise operations for a more sustainable future. To meet or even exceed productivity targets while not compromising on safety, new thinking and technological solutions are required. ABB and MEDATech are an ideal match for exploring the steps needed to reach net zero emissions for heavy-duty industrial machinery.”

ABB recently launched ABB Ability eMine, an approach, method and integrated portfolio of electrification and digital systems designed to accelerate the decarbonisation of the mining sector. Included within this was the eMine FastCharge solution (prototype pictured) and eMine Trolley System.

MEDATech, meanwhile, recently launched what it says is the “Deswik of underground fleet electric vehicle electrification” with its Electric Vehicle Fleet Optimization Software (EV-FOS).

The agreement with MEDATech will complement ABB’s engineering and technology expertise on-board and off-board mining vehicles and allow for much needed and lasting solutions for the industry, it said.

MEDATech provides its ALTDRIVE drivetrain technology to OEMs and end users while consulting and developing optimisation tools to realise the efficient and cost-effective implementation of electric fleets, according to ABB.

Based in Ontario, Canada, it has built extensive know-how and expertise in designing, building and testing of prototype systems and vehicles since 2003. It launched the 100% electric mining haul truck, the Western Star 4900XD (pictured below), which has ultra-fast charging capability, accepting a charge power of 600 kW.

With ABB’s charging capability matching charging cycles to the production, charging times of less than 15 minutes can be achieved, according to the company.

Cat finds the right digitalisation and physical simulation balance

In the age of big data, it is refreshing to see OEMs still using in-the-flesh simulations of equipment and components to verify new and improved products.

That is exactly what Caterpillar is doing at its Technical Centre R&D facility in Peoria, Illinois.

IM toured the facility on Monday and discovered a dedication to testing anything from single components to entire drivetrain systems in the harshest of mine site conditions one can imagine.

Cat is making the most of digitalisation and big data throughout the group – its renowned MineStar system is leading the way in fleet management, machine guidance, equipment and personnel tracking, and equipment health – but it is also cognisant of the need to provide the conservative mining industry with in-the-flesh simulations.

At the R&D facility in Peoria, the company is not testing out concepts – of which the company has many (some 15,000 patents and counting).

The company spends some 4% of annual sales and revenue on R&D and, by the time tests are carried out in this facility, analytical models have already identified potential new products or improvements to existing products.

This is where the integration of digitalisation and in-the-flesh simulation align nicely; the latter taking its lead off the former.

The role of the Peoria facility is to verify equipment/components can perform as expected, thereby laying the groundwork for further in-the-field testing at one of the company’s three proving grounds.

One of the simulations IM witnessed on Monday was the testing of an entire drivetrain from the 363 t 797F mining truck.

Here, the company can replicate a 24-hour cycle by modifying certain inputs to give the drivetrain the impression it is, for example, operating on a 30° incline.

The drivetrain can be plugged into more than 100 feedback channels to gain an accurate picture of what impact this operating scenario has on the machine.

This 797F test has been in place for more than 15 years, but the company and its customers are still after still want such feedback before buying one of these expensive machines.

There are also a series of other tests available at the facility where systems and components can be put through their paces at temperatures as low as 40°C and altitudes as high as 12,000 feet (3,658 m).

While there are digital models within the company built to do exactly this, the reality is the results do not yet match up.