Tag Archives: Jim Andriotis

Cavotec ready to drive mine electrification forward

Cavotec’s rise in the mine electrification space was inevitable. Its origins as a designer and provider of connection and electrification solutions in ports and industrial applications provided an obvious analogue for a mining sector on the lookout for such technology.

On top of this, its electrification, power distribution and automation systems have previously been employed by the likes of BHP, Codelco, Pilbara Minerals, Rio Tinto and Vale, among others. It has also worked with OEMs such as Epiroc, Caterpillar, FAM, FLSmidth, Joy Global (Komatsu), TAKRAF, Sandvik, Aumund Group, Caterpillar, Normet and Metso, among others, on developing solutions.

Since securing an order in 2022 that signalled its entry into industrial battery charging for heavy-duty vehicles for a mining application in Australia, Cavotec has gone on to launch its ultra-fast Megawatt Charging System (MCS) to provide up to 3 MW of power from a single connector. This turnkey DC charging solution with grid-to-inlet functionality supports the decarbonisation of industry including mining, heavy vehicles and ships.

The MCS is also a modular solution, featuring either manual or automated connection to the vehicle inlet. It has three different power levels (350 kW, 1 MW, 3 MW) with an active connector and cable cooling system (included in 1 MW and 3 MW chargers) and a vehicle inlet included in the 3 MW charger.

A specified connector size and minimum weight is used depending on the power level while an advanced power management system incorporates user dashboards and controls the charging process.

We spoke with Cavotec’s Chief Technology Officer, Jim Andriotis, to find out more ahead of his appearance at The Electric Mine 2024, in Perth, Western Australia, taking place at the Crown Perth Complex, on May 21-23.

IM: Obviously Cavotec serves multiple industries looking to electrify their operations across the globe; how would you say the requirements from mining differ from the other verticals you regularly deal with?

JA: The key differences we see are the need for flexibility of installation and automation.

With the continually changing footprint of mines, it was critical that our equipment is easy to move in case the charging connection needs to be done in a different location. By containerising the power electronics and associated gear, the mine operator can move the equipment through fork-lift or with the shovel bucket when changing locations.

Cavotec’s origins are as a designer and provider of connection and electrification solutions in ports and industrial applications

Automation is key in the mining market, especially in the applications where high-powered charging is required. There is a strong trend in mining towards autonomous operation. It is critical that charging remains as part of this trend and enables mines to remove personnel from high-risk areas while maintaining operational efficiency.

IM: How have you confronted these requirements? Has the involvement of organisations like CharIN on global standards for charging batteries in applications like mining helped deal with these?

JA: Cavotec has now been a part of CharIN for four years and we are proud to have supported the move to standardisations such as MCS. The mining industry had been looking for a standard connector for charging already. The MCS solution and standards, with their accompanying power levels, were the right fit. The beauty of the MCS standard is that it creates a common interface and communication protocol while still allowing Cavotec to specify materials and construction to meet the robustness needed in the industrial environment we play in.

With a standard interface, Cavotec was able to focus on making sure the rest of the charging package met the needs of the mining industry knowing that the equipment that we develop can be used across multiple applications and manufacturers. That is the greatest advantage that MCS brings to the industry; the ability to develop an industry-driven solution but give the space to make it scalable.

IM: From your experience dealing with the mining sector to date, do you see many open-pit mining applications where static charging and the use of solutions such as your MCS could be suited? Conversely, where is dynamic charging of batteries needed in surface mining?

Cavotec Chief Technology Officer, Jim Andriotis

JA: Most open-pit applications will have equipment that has to move between pits, or pits to base. The large haul trucks are the prime example where they have a repetitive cycle and a waiting time where they can quickly take on energy. This is perfectly suited to the high-power charging system.

When we look at shovels, excavators and surface drill rigs, there may be a small percentage which will move to battery electric but the majority will remain tethered by cable reel as they are staying primarily in the pit and only moving larger distances during major layout changes.

In the end, electrification of these large haul trucks and pit equipment will need a variety of solutions. The dynamic charging systems in place work very well but are suited to larger, more mature mines where these throughways are fixed permanently (or almost permanently). In the end, both solutions have a place in mining, including together in some applications.

IM: The presentation you are due to give at The Electric Mine 2024 references a “collaborative journey” with the MCS. How have you found the mining sector when it comes to collaborating on solutions to overcome the challenges associated with electrifying mining fleets?

JA: Throughout this journey, we have worked closely with OEMs and end users to ensure that the needs of the mining industry are heard and addressed. From the beginning, inputs such as power requirements, robustness needs, automation needs and communication protocols have been discussed and shared with the larger CharIN group and the industry has been happy to provide this.

There are also groups under CharIN that have been created specifically to meet the needs of mining and this has been directly driven by the major industry players. So, the industry is in full support of this move to standardisation and accelerating the evolution of electrification.

IM: In addition to what you have already discussed, what can attendees look forward to hearing about?

JA: The industry needs to know that the technology and capabilities are there to drive future electrification forward. We have had fantastic support and collaboration from the industry in creating these new standards and initiatives. I would like to thank them for that. In combination with cable reels and dynamic charging, the addition of high-power charging is the last piece of the puzzle in bringing full electrification to a mine site.

Cavotec is a Gold Sponsor of The Electric Mine 2024, with the company having a major indoor display in the exhibition hall. Jim Andriotis will also be presenting, ‘Transforming mining fleets: The collaborative journey with the Megawatt Charging System’ during Day 2 of the event. Find out more about The Electric Mine 2024 by going to www.theelectricmine.com