Tag Archives: Excavators

Berco bolsters Excavator Line with Cat 6020B undercarriage replacement range

Berco, a leader in the manufacturing and supply of undercarriages and components to OEMs and the aftermarket, has reached another milestone with the launch of its complete undercarriage replacement range for the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel.

Developed specifically for the high-quality demand mining segment of the aftermarket, this is the first “non-captive” range available to purchase, according to the company. This means that aside from Cat, Berco is the only company currently capable of providing a full and significantly more affordable variety of undercarriage replacement components for this particular machine, Berco said.

Launched in 2014, the Cat 6020B is a 230 ton (224 t) excavator at the high end of the mining range. Depending on the abrasiveness of the soil, undercarriage components need to be replaced every four-to-five years, according to Berco, meaning there are significant numbers of this particular model currently due undercarriage maintenance. This number, moreover, is forecast to grow in the coming years.

To meet this demand, Berco is supplying a full range of undercarriage components including the chain, the bottom rollers, the top rollers, the drive sprocket and idlers with supports. Everything is set to be available from September onwards.

“These machines must be capable of working in harsh environments for 20-24 hours a day without stopping, because when the main excavator on a site is out of service, it has a direct knock-on effect on all of the secondary machines,” Diego Buffoni, Head of Aftermarket Berco, said. “We are particularly proud of this new range launch, which will offer a great business opportunity for our partner distributors worldwide. On top of Berco’s acclaimed high quality, which it provides, it also signifies the path we are on, which is to supply comprehensive and affordable solutions to all aftermarket customers.”

For the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel range, Berco used a “reverse engineering” process to deconstruct the original equipment components. Three-dimensional material scanning was carried out to gain a complete understanding of the initial design criteria, while laboratory analysis determined the materials used as well as the heat treatments and microstructures.

“Having gained a full understanding of all of the components in question, company engineers then proceeded to develop their very own Berco-quality aftermarket undercarriage system, which is further boosted by the addition of another Berco innovation: BPR2™ (Berco Positive Pin Retention2™ system),” the company said. “This improves the working lifetime of the components by mechanically locking the link to the pin which results in the avoidance of ‘end-play generation’ and ‘pin walking’ in an undercarriage.”

For the track chain, a newly designed track link with a 350 mm pitch was produced using the “drop forged” process made from a mild carbon steel grade with boron. Unlike the original equipment product, however, the chemical composition of the Berco version is enriched with chromium to increase tensile resistance. In addition, the track bushing has a high resistance to wear. With 60 HRC hardness, it can contain pitch elongation, according to the company. The case depth has also been increased by 20-25% when compared with the original. The track pin, moreover, has deeper case depth and higher core hardiness, resulting in an improved bending load resistance, Berco said.

The track roller can, because of its lubrication and seal features, adopt an “all-weather” configuration, ranging from -40°C to 50°C. Additionally, three top rollers without a central flange support the heavy weight of the chain, and the oil filling hole has been moved to the outer collar to ensure full access to it.

With Berco’s Dozer Line already complete, the launch of its range for the Cat 6020B hydraulic mining shovel brings the company closer to finishing its Excavator Line too.

Accounting for a large portion of all aftermarket sales, Berco says the mining market segment is of particular importance to it. The company is now looking to further strengthen its position by extending its mining ranges and becoming the only high-quality alternative to OEM components.

Liebherr plans interoperability, scalability and zero emissions announcements at MINExpo 2021

Liebherr will showcase its latest innovative equipment, technology and services for the mining industry at MINExpo 2021, with a world premiere of its brand-new Mining Technology Product portfolio and announcements related to its ‘zero emissions’ program likely to provide the ‘headlines’.

Covering a total area of more than 2,600 sq.m, Liebherr’s booth will present advancements from its Mining, Mobile Cranes and Components product segments during the Las Vegas show on September 13-15.

Liebherr Mining will display the R 9150 Generation 7 (G7) 130 t excavator, the next generation of excavator cab from the recently announced R 9600 G8, the PR 776 70 t mining dozer with LiReCon teleoperation system, the newly introduced T 274 305 t haul truck along with a display from Liebherr Components, and the LRT 1090-2.1 90 t rough terrain crane from Liebherr Mobile Cranes.

New developments and exciting announcements will be presented from Liebherr Mining’s new technology portfolio, as well as the pathway forward into low and zero emission mining, it said.

Attendees will be able to interact with new technologies through a virtual reality (VR) booth and discover Liebherr’s technology at daily masterclasses held with Liebherr experts. Those who cannot attend in person will not miss out, with all exhibits, announcements and showcases from the expo also delivered on Liebherr’s website and social media channels.

Liebherr will introduce three new excavators at MINExpo: the R 9150 Generation 7 (machine showcased on the booth), the R 9200 Generation 7, and the brand-new R 9600 Generation 8 (cabin showcased on the booth).

These three machines establish the new naming strategy based on technology levels for Liebherr machines, with this approach designed to achieve a common and long-term logic within the earthmoving and mining product ranges in a clear manner, Liebherr said.

All three excavators are equipped with the latest innovations including Liebherr Power Efficiency, Assistance Systems and Bucket Filling Assistant.

LPE (Liebherr Power Efficiency) is a specific engine and hydraulic management system, which drastically reduces fuel consumption by up to 20%, the company says.

Assistance Systems are advanced on-board applications designed to support the operator to become more efficient through analytics and actionable insights. These will be presented physically in the R 9600’s cabin and on tablets displayed on the booth. Visitors can also discover the Assistance Systems through an immersive experience in the VR area.

BFA, meanwhile, is the first automation product of the Liebherr hydraulic excavator portfolio, which allows the operator to realise the bucket filling process automatically.

T 274 mining truck

Liebherr has recently extended its product offering with the T 274, a class-leading 305 t haul truck. This new truck bridges the gap between the T 284 and T 264.

Designed and adapted from years of experience in mining truck development, the T 274 is a “true 305 t machine” that provides fast cycle times, higher production rates, low fuel consumption and a low cost per tonne, Liebherr said. This new truck follows the same base design as the T 284, benefitting from its decades of field experience. A wide range of options are available including the Liebherr Trolley Assist System and Liebherr Autonomy Kit.

PR 776 dozer and LiReCon teleoperation system

Liebherr will also showcase its flagship mining dozer, the PR 776 Litronic, which, the company says, delivers best-in-class efficiency. The machine will be on display together with the new LiReCon (Liebherr Remote Control, pictured at the top) Liebherr teleoperation system. LiReCon provides additional comfort and safety for operators in tough mining applications, according to the company.

Liebherr components and D98 diesel engine series

Liebherr components for mining applications will also feature at MINExpo. Among the components is the D98 diesel engine series, which is available for both Liebherr and other mining equipment manufacturers, for new and repowered machines. The V-16 engine of the D98 family, the D9816, will not only be on display at the booth but is also at the heart of the exhibited T 274 haul truck. This marks the beginning of the integration of the D98 series into Liebherr machines, Liebherr says.

LRT 1090-2.1 rough terrain crane

The LRT 1090-2.1 90 t rough terrain crane is designed to deliver the highest safety level.

Fitted as standard with an outrigger monitor, which automatically detects the support status and includes the crane control system, it also comes equipped with the VarioBase® variable support base to enhance flexibility on site and increase the crane’s lifting capacity. The LRT 1090-2.1 features a 47 m telescopic boom, which consists of a two-stage hydraulic cylinder with a rope extension mechanism. This has been designed for high telescoping lifting capacities.

New innovations

Liebherr will present the world premiere of its brand-new Mining Technology Product portfolio at MINExpo. This will demonstrate the company’s interoperable and scalable approach to its equipment, technology and service product offerings, it said.

This portfolio, consisting of Liebherr’s Assistance Systems, Machine Automation and Digital Service products, will provide customers with “flexible scope of supply solutions to increase safety and asset operational effectiveness”, it said.

Together, these products will support operator’s performance, optimise diagnostic processes and automate machine functions, while integrating machine data and OEM expertise within the customer’s chosen technology landscapes, the company added.

Zero emissions

Liebherr says it strives for long-term sustainable solutions, investigating different options focused on safety, cost, reliability, maintainability and flexibility. Liebherr Mining already offers a range of solutions to help customers achieve low emissions, including a full range of electric excavators. It also plans to provide a full range of trolley-capable mining trucks.

“Further to this, Liebherr Mining has a clear vision and roadmap to expand its current offering to achieve low fossil fuel solutions in 2022, along with fossil fuel free solutions for the majority of applications by 2030,” it said. “At MINExpo, strategic partnerships with energy and infrastructure providers will be announced, alongside the roadmap for Liebherr to provide these solutions to our customers.”

NRW in line for A$702 million Karara Mining iron ore gig

NRW has received a letter of intent from Karara Mining Ltd to carry out mining services works at the Karara iron ore mine in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Subject to reaching agreement with Karara, the anticipated value of the contract is around A$702 million ($529 million) over a five-year duration with a project workforce averaging circa-250 personnel.

MACA, through its recently acquired Mining West business, currently holds the contract mining agreement at Karara.

The works to be performed include load and haul, drill and blast, and run of mine re-handling. The drill and blast component will be undertaken by NRW’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd. In addition, the work includes train loading and re-handling of the product stockpiles together with “miscellaneous day works” at the mine site, camp and access roads.

Karara is the largest mining operation and the first major magnetite mine in the Mid West region. It produces a premium, high-grade concentrate that it exports to steelmakers.

“With an expected mine life of 30-plus years, Karara’s operation includes a large open-pit mine, complex ore processing and beneficiation plant and significant infrastructure and logistics networks,” NRW said.

NRW estimates an equipment capital expenditure of around A$170 million to be progressively spent over the term, which will include the purchase of three 600 t face shovel excavators and a fleet of 220 t trucks.

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, said: “With a strong local presence in the area through our Geraldton-based DIAB Engineering business and our mining contract with Gascoyne Resources at the Dalgaranga mine site, we look forward to continuing to support the existing and highly experienced workforce on site through this transition, as well as creating employment opportunities for the Gascoyne region community.”

Karara CEO, Changjiang Zhu, said: “NRW is an established Western Australia-based mining and civil contractor with extensive open-cut mining experience gained through a number of successful mining operations in the state. Offering new prime equipment, NRW has the capability to undertake the entire Karara scope of work comprising a broad range of mining, construction and engineering services.

“We look forward to negotiation of an agreement with NRW and commencement of mining services early next year.”

Liebherr launches its R 9600 hydraulic mining excavator, part of a new generation

After years of development, the Mining Division of the Liebherr Group has launched today the new R 9600 hydraulic excavator. This 600 t excavator, it says, sets new standards in the open-pit mining market. The successor of the popular Liebherr R 996B has entered the market after gaining a year of field experience in Australia, the largest market for 600 t class excavators. This new development builds on years of customer-centric research and is based upon the successful R 9800 800 t excavator. A total of eight units will be operating in Australia by the end if 2021. The R 9600 will enter serial production at the end of this year.

Customer input has played an important and pivotal role in the development of this new machine. Engineering, sales and marketing teams have collected feedback and insights from mine site equipment operators, maintenance personnel and procurement groups as well as executive management to have a clear understanding of the challenges they meet every day.

The new R 9600 aims to reach the highest standard in terms of safety, sustainability, performance, lifetime, total cost of ownership (TCO), ease of maintenance and more. After testing the first prototypes at the factory proving grounds in Colmar, France, in early 2020, the first R 9600 pre-series excavators started operating in iron ore and coal applications in Australia. Liebherr, together with its two very important customers, BHP and Thiess, started the partnered validation of the first two units in the field. Backed by this succesful validation phase, the R 9600 is ready to enter the global market.

Diverse offering of powertrains including electric drive

The R 9600 is equipped with two QSK50 Cummins engines with advanced combustion technologies. Understanding that fuel costs form the major portion of the TCO for mining machines, Liebherr has developed and implemented LPE  (Liebherr Power Efficiency) solutions. These proprietary management systems for the engine and hydraulic system controls substantially reduce fuel consumption without compromising the overall productivity of the machine. These new features grant also an additional step toward the Liebherr emission reduction solutions. For emission-regulated regions, a US EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage V compliant version is available with the latest SCR after-treatment technology. Complying with stringent emission regulations, the SCR system reduces nitrogen oxides by injecting a liquid reductant into the exhaust stream. An electric drive version will be available soon, a productive choice for mine sites having the required electrical infrastructure.

Weight-optimised attachment

The R 9600 attachment makes use of smart component design such as the patented “EVO” backhoe bucket, hydraulic cylinders, shift levers, bucket links and attachment pins. The result is an increased overall production rate without compromising component lifetime. In standard backhoe configuration with a Heavy Duty wear package, the R 9600 comes with a 37.5 m³/49.1 yd³ bucket to deliver an ideal truck/shovel match with Liebherr mining trucks. It loads 190 t trucks in three passes, T 264 240 t trucks in four passes, T 274 300 t trucks in five passes and T 284 375 t trucks in six passes. The excavator is also available in face shovel configuration equipped with a 37 m³/48.4 yd³ shovel, as standard with a Heavy Duty wear package.

Long-lasting performance

Designed to be used in all applications globally, the R 9600 is built to last over 80,000 machine operational hours. Further improving machine reliability, the uppercarriage structure is a completely new development. The robust undercarriage, with a fatigue resistant steel structure, is enhanced with a new hydraulic track tensioning system. The standard sealed for life heavy-duty carrier and track rollers incorporate the patented roller path design and registered track pad design. As an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Liebherr has built a solid reputation in the development and production of high quality components for mining applications. The R 9600 benefits from this reputation through reliable components that are developed and manufactured by Liebherr. The R 9600 utilises the latest quality control systems to ensure the best reliability and highest performance.

The latest cabin generation

The R 9600 has a brand-new cabin designed by operators for operators – it is a first-class, state of the art 14 m³/150 ft³ working space. The cab design reduces vibrations and limits noise to 69 dB, providing a comfortable working environment for the operator. To allow for the best possible working conditions, Liebherr engineers have placed the cab of the R 996 successor back on the left side, standardising with other excavators in the range. The operator’s seat has been positioned as far left as possible in order to provide the best operator visibility of the attachment and working area. Ambient and low-level LED lights make working at night easier and safer. The operator station is user-friendly and equipped with modern touch screen displays. The air conditioning system for the cabin is a modular design concept which is easily exchanged as a rotable component, as single or dual air conditioning systems are available. To further enhance the operator comfort, vacuum cleaner, premium cooled seats, HEPA filtration system and many more features are available. The R 9600 offers a superior machine perimeter visibility system comprising of four cameras at strategic locations on the rotating uppercarriage. The dedicated monitor inside the cabin provides continuous 270° vision around the machine.

Assistance Systems and on-board controls

Setting new standards in the mining industry, the R 9600 is equipped with the Liebherr Assistance Systems. These advanced on-board applications are designed to support the operators in becoming more efficient through analytics and actionable insights from live data. The Truck Loading Assistant helps the operator attain optimal productivity and efficiency. With 99% measurement accuracy, the system measures the instantaneous bucket payload and provides real-time information to the operator. The Truck Loading Assistant strategises the number of passes required to achieve the target payload of the truck, and also provides a progressive update in achieving the strategy.

In addition, to provide operators and customers with productivity KPIs of the machine performance, the severity of the application and the operational conformance of the machine is realised in real-time on the machine. The first Liebherr hydraulic excavator (HEX) Automation Product introduced to the mining industry is the Bucket Filling Assistant, an adaptive or semi-autonomous digging product available as an option for the backhoe version of machines. It allows for easier and faster bucket filling with a consistent bucket fill factor, load after load, even in the toughest digging conditions. As a result, the overall productivity improves while the operator’s fatigue level is reduced.

Designed for safe 24/7 operation and maintenance

Liebherr product development is centred around protecting the customer’s most important assets. The R 9600 was designed with respect to global safety standards for operators and maintenance personnel, ensuring that safety remains a top priority at all times. The upper carriage of the R 9600 has been designed to allow for quick and easy maintenance activities, and is accessible via a hydraulically controlled ergonomic 45° stairway. Enlarged walkways with handrails and non-slip perforated steps allow for safe and convenient inspections and maintenance at all levels of the machine, including engine and powertrain components. All major parts have been designed and positioned to allow easy access and quicker maintenance. The central service flap provides fluid and lubricant access to all components and systems, which reduces potential downtimes. Component and system refill and drain points of the R 9600 are accessible from ground level with quick couplings and depressurising valves.

R 9600 continues to write the success story

The R 9600 builds on two strong models of the Liebherr mining excavator portfolio: the R 996B and the R 9800. The first R 996 was introduced in 1995, followed by the R 996B in 2000.

“This very popular machine has been the benchmark in the mining market for the past 25 years, especially in Australia, where over 70% of these excavators have or are operating today accumulating 5.5 million machine hours,” the company said. “The R 9600 is not only further building on the success of its predecessor but is also inspired by its big brother, the popular 800 t R 9800, sharing a long list of components that have been proven on the R 9800 over the past 10 years. As with all Liebherr mining equipment, the predecessor models R 996 and R 996B will continue to be supported with remanufacturing, repair and customer support services for the duration of the machine’s lifetime.”

Capital builds up mining fleet for Sukari gold mine work

Capital is well on the way to securing a suitable fleet to carry out the open-pit waste mining contract at Centamin’s Sukari gold mine, with additional trucks recently arriving in Egypt and payments “significantly progressed” for all major long lead equipment required to service the operation.

Equity proceeds from the recent $40 million share placing were received in late December 2020, facilitating these further payments, according to Capital.

The 120 Mt open-pit waste mining contract at Sukari will see Capital provide load and haul and ancillary services over a period of four years. At the same time, the existing drilling contract at Sukari has been extended to December 31, 2024, (from September 30, 2023) and expanded by nine additional blasthole rigs, bringing the rigs operating at Sukari to 24 in total.

Included in the long lead items are 17 Cat 785 dump trucks, seven blasthole drill rigs, three excavators, and all major ancillary support equipment including dozers, graders and water trucks. Capital said additional trucks had recently arrived in Egypt, supplementing the initial truck fleet that arrived during the December quarter of 2020.

Capital also said it has made substantial progress on several of the debt facilities contemplated in the capital raising prospectus related to the Sukari contract including:

  • Executing the $2.6 million vendor finance agreement with Epiroc with full draw down against the purchase of three new blasthole rigs;
  • Fully drawing down on the remaining tranches of the $10 million Macquarie facility following finalisation of the Sukari contracts and security registration in Egypt; and
  • The committed and available vendor finance facility with Sandvik for $8.5 million is expected to be used over the course of the March quarter against the purchase of four new blasthole rigs.

Jamie Boyton, Capital Executive Chairman, said it was pleasing to note that site activity was progressing well with the continued expansion of its extensive on-site facilities, “further asset arrivals and the recruitment of key personnel to prepare for the commencement of preliminary mining activity in late Q1 (March quarter) as planned”.

MACA increases open-pit scale by acquiring Downer EDI’s Mining West business

MACA has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Downer EDI Limited’s Mining West business in a deal that could involve a consideration of A$175 million ($132 million).

Just last week, MACA said it was considering the potential purchase of Downer EDI Limited’s Mining West division as part of a stated plan to explore and pursue growth opportunities that will deliver “value to shareholders on an ongoing basis”.

The Mining West business currently comprises four large contracts at the long-life assets of Karara (Ansteel), Eliwana (Fortescue Metals Group), Cape Preston (CITIC Pacific) and Gruyere (Gold Fields, Gold Road Resources).

MACA’s CEO and Managing Director, Mike Sutton, said the acquisition provided MACA with a very meaningful addition of a large-scale mining fleet currently engaged across these projects. This comprises 14 excavators and shovels, 65 dump trucks, 11 surface drills and 36 other ancillary machines.

The fleet being acquired is currently fully utilised, or in the process of being deployed to projects, with the equipment having mixed life (with machines being on average mid-life). MACA says its due diligence has confirmed the machines are in good working order, having been well maintained by Mining West’s internal plant department.

With the inclusion of Mining West, MACA now has total contracted work in hand of over A$3.4 billion, which provides a robust revenue base well past its 2025 financial year, Sutton added.

Macmahon banks coal mining work with Foxleigh joint venture

Macmahon Holdings confirms it has been selected as the preferred tenderer to provide equipment hire and maintenance services at the Foxleigh joint venture operation in Queensland, Australia, from March 1, 2021.

The Foxleigh mine is an open pit, truck and excavator operation in the Bowen Basin, which produces low volatile PCI coal for Asia steel mill customers.

The proposed scope of work for Macmahon involves the hire and maintenance of 21 large capacity dump trucks and other ancillary equipment over a five-year term, together with the maintenance of client-owned equipment.

Macmahon estimates this work will generate around A$250 million ($177 million) in revenue and require capital expenditure of circa-A$50 million. Most of this capital expenditure will be to acquire 220 t dump trucks, which are expected to have a useful life of 10 years, Macmahon says.

Michael Finnegan, CEO and Managing Director of Macmahon, said: “We are very pleased to be selected as the preferred equipment and maintenance provider for the Foxleigh project, and we are looking forward to delivering for a new client in Queensland. This selection highlights our expertise in sourcing and maintaining large scale mining equipment and our ability to offer a range of service models to our clients.”

Foxleigh is jointly owned by QMetco, POSCO Australia and Nippon Steel Australia.

MineWare takes Argus to new heights at Chile copper mine

MineWare says it has recently completed its first high-altitude installation of its Argus monitoring system at one of Chile’s largest copper mines.

While technology continues to digitise and automate many mining processes – with the company recently helping a major copper mine in Chile set up its Argus and Pegasys monitoring systems on five of its electric rope shovels without stepping foot on site – there are still some tasks that need to be managed on the ground, it says.

Reflecting on a recent installation of MineWare’s Argus monitoring system on a P&H 4100XPC shovel at this large copper mine in Chile, MineWare’s Vice President for South America, Ramiro Mesina, said his team specialise in adapting and responding to clients’ environmental conditions.

“We pride ourselves on understanding the unique challenges and opportunities at each of our clients’ sites,” he said. “Our technology has been developed to support this and our team are well-versed in solving complex problems.

“Our recent work in Chile saw our team manage an installation of our Argus monitoring system at an altitude of 4,800 m above sea level in -10°C temperatures with occasional earthquakes: definitely not your every-day situation.

“While this was our first high-altitude installation, the process and care our team puts into planning this type of operation is tried and tested. Efficient project management and coordination, led by our Regional Operations Manager, Hector Mendoza, was key to ensuring a successful installation as well as the safety of all involved.”

In addition to the location of the mining site, the MineWare team also needed to manage this process during a global pandemic. Mining sites in South America have continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 situation, however for many this has been at a reduced level or with a skeleton staff.

Mesina said the strict COVID-19 regulations put in place to protect worker’s health and safety meant there was also minimal on-site assistance to support MineWare’s installation process.

“This was another factor we needed to address in our planning,” he said. “We knew we needed to reconsider logistics as there would be challenges with making resources and vehicles available.

The Argus E in-cab operator display

“We determined that the most efficient process would be to add additional time to our preparation on-site and run the installation over four night shifts. This allowed our team to identify any other issues prior to the installation while taking into consideration the potential impact of the altitude on our team.”

Mesina said the team successfully completed the installation on schedule, with only a couple of small earthquakes halting the progress on-site.

Argus is an advanced monitoring system for electric shovels, hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders.

The interoperable solution captures and shares valuable operating data to on site and remote mining personnel in real time to optimise payload performance, mine compliance and machine health, according to the company.

SANY delivers first rigid mining truck to Indonesia coal sector

Five SANY excavators, including two SY750Hs, two SY500Hs, one SY215C, and one SRT95C rigid-body mining truck, have recently been delivered to two large coal mines in Indonesia, the China-based equipment manufacturer reports.

The latest delivery, the SY750H, the largest-tonnage SANY excavator in Indonesia at 76 t, added to the SY500Hs and SY215Cs already on site. The SY750H is equipped with a 5.4 cu.m bucket to achieve higher ripping in difficult ground conditions, SANY says. It comes with a fuel-efficient ISUZU engine.

“The SY750H crawler excavators are used specifically for overburden, as well as for loading dumper trucks in the mine,” SANY said. “They have proved their efficiency, cost-effectiveness and reliability in operation.”

The delivery of the SRT95C, meanwhile, represented the first rigid truck to head to a coal mining job site in Indonesia. It came equipped with a Cummins QST high-power engine with electronic fuel injection control and Allison transmission. “This means enhanced acceleration performance and reduced fuel consumption and emissions,” SANY said.

The truck’s frame is made of alloyed structural steel, which features resistance to low temperature, bending, twisting and impact. In addition, McPherson front strut suspension adopted on the front axle and steering mechanism smooth the ride, according to SANY.

“SANY’s equipment has a strong presence in Indonesia as clients across the islands have purchased a range of products, including excavators, cranes and mining trucks, since years ago,” it said. “These machines have proven their outstanding off-road properties as well as a good quality in service.”

The client from one of the coal mines said: “With large grab capacity, high fuel efficiency and rapid working cycles, SANY excavators fully meet our requirements. Also, the productivity and stability in operation and good aftersales service, especially the spare part support, make SANY rigid mining trucks impressive.”

The delivery of these excavators and trucks followed another order from a mining customer in Africa last month.

On July 23, Eritrea’s Bisha Mining Share Company, owned by Zijin Mining, took delivery of nine SRT95C dump trucks it ordered earlier this year from SANY. These trucks will help the copper-zinc mine increase ore production.

Hitachi to trial autonomous tech on ultra-large hydraulic excavators in Australia

Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) is looking at trialling autonomous ultra-large hydraulic excavators at an Australia mine site as part of a series of verification tests.

The tests, set to begin from the start of the 2021 financial year (from April 1, 2021), are geared towards improving future mining site safety and productivity, HCM said.

“The remote controlled ultra-large hydraulic excavator will be developed in order to improve the working environment and ensure the safety of operators,” the company stated. “This excavator will be equipped with operator support systems, such as a collision avoidance system with other mining equipment, to ensure the same level of operability as with the operator on board the machinery.”

Following the initial development, some part of the excavation and loading operation will be automated to allow a single remote operator to operate multiple ultra-large hydraulic excavators, the company said.

“The incremental development will eventually realise the ultra-large hydraulic excavators with autonomous operation features,” HCM said.

The remote control, driving support system for manned excavators and autonomous operation features are all retrofittable onto the EX-7 series of ultra-large hydraulic excavators to enable mining site customers to use the equipment they currently operate, while supporting autonomous operation at mining sites in the future, HCM said.

The company explains: “Mining resources including iron ore and copper sustain the activities of global industries, and the sites which mine these resources are required to operate in a stable manner 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“In contrast, the operators of ultra-large hydraulic excavators are required to repeatedly perform complex operations for a long period of time while paying attention to avoid collision with surrounding equipment and the stability of the vehicle, in order to excavate and load mining resources in an efficient manner.”

Because the safety and productivity of ultra-large hydraulic excavator operation largely depends on the operator’s skill and experience, building a production system that does not depend on these skills and reduces the operator’s workload are important issues at mining sites, it said.

Such developments have been coming from the group considering the company entered the mining machinery business in the late 1970s, and has made leaps in tele-remote operations of excavators within other sectors.

For example, the company used a remote-controlled unmanned excavator to advance the development of technologies in the reconstruction work at Mount Unzen Fugen-dake volcanic eruption in 1992. In 2013, it also led the industry by advancing the development of technologies for long-distance remote control by remotely operating a hydraulic excavator located in the Urahoro test site, Hokkaido, over an internet connection from approximately 800 km away in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

“Now, we have decided to begin verification tests at an actual mining site to advance the development of autonomous driving for ultra-large hydraulic excavators, reflecting the needs of customers,” it said.

The autonomous operation for ultra-large hydraulic excavators can be deployed as a standalone system, or as a part of fleet management system (FMS), such as the Fleet Control from Wenco International Mining Systems, a HCM subsidiary with a solid implementation track record at large-scale mines.

“Our goal is to balance a high degree of safety and productivity by having autonomous operation through sharing the information among the autonomous ultra-large hydraulic excavators, dump trucks and other equipment,” the company said.

Operation support system

Because it is difficult to assess the conditions around the vehicle and the inclination of the vehicle during remote control compared with a manned operation, the actual machinery will be equipped with a collision avoidance system and a vehicle stability monitoring system to reduce the burden on the operator performing the remote control during the verification tests, HCM said.

In addition, Wenco has been advancing the development of an excavator payload monitoring system, which measures the weight of the material inside the bucket, and plans to test this feature at the same time.

Reflecting the needs of actual customers through verification testing will further improve remote control and driving support technologies in ultra-large hydraulic excavators, HCM said.

“These operator support systems can be retrofitted onto the EX-7 series of ultra-large hydraulic excavators and are scheduled to be ready for the market during the 2022 financial year (April 1, 2022 onwards) as systems installed on actual machinery to increase operation safety,” the company said.

Integration with the autonomous haulage system (AHS)

HCM began researching AHS in 2009, with six EH5000 rigid dump trucks now starting 24-hour autonomous haulage at Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine in New South Wales, Australia.

Because a diverse and large quantity of manned and unmanned machineries mix together in a large-scale mining operation, the radio communication needed for the operating control must be managed in a stable manner, HCM explained.

“The AHS from Hitachi Construction Machinery runs on the Wenco FMS and utilises various technologies from the Hitachi Group to realise a significant advantage by extending its range of control up to a maximum of 100 vehicles,” the company said.

The goal of autonomous ultra-large hydraulic excavators is to balance a high level of safety and productivity, even in the autonomous mining sites of the future, by sharing information with dump trucks and other machinery.

The Hitachi Construction Machinery Group has thus far been engaged in realising “reliable solutions” to solve social issues as a close and reliable partner for our customers, it said.

“Going forward, we will continue to promote the development of long-distance remote control and autonomous driving, ultra-large hydraulic excavators using ICT and IoT for mining industry customers around the world to help provide the higher level of safety and mine management productivity improvements that our customers require,” the company concluded.