Tag Archives: Komatsu

Komatsu launches Joy MATS6 shearer for Chinese longwall mining market

To help Chinese longwall mines realise higher production and less downtime, Komatsu has introduced the Joy MATS6 shearer.

The Joy MATS6 Tier II comes with the reliability attributes of Joy machines, with all components manufactured under rigorous Joy quality processes. Because the machines are assembled in China with many Chinese-made components, a MATS6 shearer can be built and delivered relatively quickly, according to Komatsu.

Advanced control systems protect the machine from mechanical and thermal overload, while advanced diagnostics enable faster troubleshooting.

In addition, by incorporating the tie-rod chassis connection, the MATS6 can be assembled faster, both in the workshop and underground, and its modular design allows more material to pass under the machine body. Comprised of three high-tensile fabrications with a slim main section, the MATS6 has no under-frame. This design allows quicker adaptation to different mining scenarios, more efficient rebuilds and easier maintenance, Komatsu says.

Coming with longer lasting components, the MATS6 is able to mine larger panels reliably between rebuilds or even mining multiple panels without a rebuild. Additionally, the machine’s longer machine chassis life can provide a higher return on initial investment.

The machine weighs 115 t, has a cutting height of 2.5-6 m, a maximum total power of 2,495 kW, cutting power of 2 x 900 kW and 1,200 kN of haulage pull.

Any discussion of increasing longwall productivity and moving toward zero harm must include automation. Joy’s latest shearer pitch steering technology offers access to fully automated cutting sequences, including gate end turnarounds and optimal drum positioning for highly efficient cycle times and consistency. This is available as an option for the MATS6.

Advanced automation tools, including Radio Motion Monitoring, Landmark, and REST Api, meanwhile, enable remote operation to help keep workers out of harm’s way.

Komatsu boosts longwall performance with Joy Compak Next Gen hydraulic control system

Komatsu is looking to reinforce its longwall system powered roof supports (PRS) with the multifunctional Joy Compak Next Gen hydraulic control system, helping, it says, improve the performance of customers’ PRS and facilitate the shearer cutting rate with exceptional cycle time performance.

Engineered to be durable and reliable in rugged environments, the Joy Compak system features corrosion-resistant materials on valve block assemblies, components and the main body. With a reduced number of components to lessen wear and tear, the spool valve in the system is engineered to handle higher flow rates, to help reduce the risk of part failure and promote extended life, Komatsu said. Providing flexibility to suit the individual needs of your operation, the Joy Compak Next Gen hydraulic system can be conveniently upgraded or retrofit to any PRS system (regardless of manufacturer).

The high-performance valve technology of the Compak hydraulic control system helps improve cycle times by up to 12%, compared with the previous model. Designed with operators in mind, this hydraulic system’s overall size is reduced by up to 27% and weight by up to 30%, the company says, making it easier to position, while improving accessibility. Hosing position has also been conveniently located for better access, it added.

The reliable hydraulic valve system helps control modern automated longwall powered roof supports from the Faceboss electronic control system using solenoid control or through manual control with the solenoid push button override function. Ergonomically positioned for ease of access, operators can control the main override function easily and effectively through an integrated push button within the solenoid, Komatsu says.

Seals play a crucial role in the functionality of the hydraulic spools that operate roof support functions, and Komatsu’s seal technology helps prevent leakage in your hydraulic spools, it says. A simplified, standardised hydraulic circuit design helps provide a reduction in the number of spool valves without impacting performance of the Compak hydraulic system. This design minimises fitting and connecting hoses, to help reduce potential leak points.

Komatsu says the system can easily expand (over 16 functions) to increase functional requirements to suit the operation’s needs. For example, a standard 10-spool valve can be expanded through separate two- and four-spool expansion modules.

To help reduce lead times for replacement parts and streamline maintenance, the hydraulic control system features a modular design incorporating a series of standard components. Easy to change cartridge-style construction makes replacement straightforward and manageable, with manifolds, valve assemblies, cartridge valves and fittings all standard as part of the system’s modular design. The modular approach also makes upgrades easy, the company added.

Komatsu releases updated Joy 02ESV battery-power scoop for soft-rock mines

Komatsu has redesigned its Joy 02ESV soft-rock scoops with 240 V of battery power and OptiDrive technology to improve operator comfort and offer a longer operating time between charges.

Coming in three different models – 02ESV36, 02ESV56 and 02ESV60 – the scoops offer bucket capacities of 3-5 cu.m and maximum payloads of 18.2-28.7 t. The smallest scoop, the 02ESV36, is suited to seam heights of 91-160 cm, while the largest scoop, the 02ESV60, has a recommended seam height of 142-211 cm.

The OptiDrive technology can improve reliability, boost operator productivity, improve motor performance and help reduce maintenance costs, according to Komatsu. It is also easier to maintain and troubleshoot because it has fewer cable runs.

Designed to help minimise downtime, these scoops have new electronics that eliminate switches, and the colour display provides real-time operational and fault information to keep operators informed. Additional drive input modules allow the OptiDrive control system to interface with third-party proximity detection systems.

With less heat and noise compared with diesel power, the 240 V battery power contributes to improved working conditions. These Joy scoops also have improved motor efficiency for increased motor life and enhanced tramming, while improved ergonomics help keep operators more comfortable, Komatsu said.

To provide increased power and reduced downtime in the most demanding applications, the scoops are equipped with Dana drive axles configured specifically for the application. For durability and longevity, the centre section has been redesigned and includes heavy-duty pivot bearings and pins. The frame is rigorously engineered for reliability and transporting heavy payloads, according to the company.

Komatsu brings hybrid drive, narrow vein LHDs to Australian hard-rock market

Komatsu Australia says it has, for the first time, entered the hard-rock underground mining market with a concerted solution made up of two larger hybrid LHDs and two diesel-powered narrow-vein loaders.

Two high-tech hybrid drive underground loaders, equipped with durable independent electric motors in each wheel, headline this substantial investment by Komatsu to provide a complete service solution to miners and contractors, it said.

“Providing hard-rock miners with reliable underground loaders is part of a broader understanding of the need to assist their overall productivity in the face of global competition,” Joshua Foale, Product Manager Mining, Komatsu Australia, said.

The hybrid Komatsu WX22H and WX18H LHDs each claim to be the lowest total operating costs in their class.

Meanwhile, Komatsu’s analysis shows the conventionally powered Komatsu WX07 7 t loader (pictured) is 14% more productive than any other machine in its category. The WX04 4 t LHD offers 20% more breakout force in its class, based on published information.

Komatsu hybrid loaders

Komatsu’s WX22H and smaller WX18H achieve up to 20% increase in tonnes moved, compared with conventionally powered loaders, the OEM said. They also have an up to 20% decrease in fuel costs, based on operating trials.

An independent life cycle analysis identified a 30% reduction in operating costs, compared with their conventionally powered counterparts.

Improved work cycle performance is achieved by use of high efficiency electric traction motors in each wheel, making conventional mechanical power drive redundant, resulting in substantial reductions in operating costs, Komatsu said.

The Komatsu WX18H produces 280 kW

The Kinetic Energy Storage System (KESS) is at the heart of the switched reluctance hybrid drive, which captures and reuses braking energy from each of the four wheels. Heat-energy generated when the machine stops abruptly at the dig face is captured by the bi-directional KESS loop instead of being lost to the atmosphere.

KESS stores and releases 3 MJ of energy, supplementing power from the conventional diesel engine for greater acceleration to maximise cycle performance, according to the company.

A smart traction system provides smoother acceleration and results in less tyre wear and component degradation. It generates less inertia at each stop, significantly reducing potential damage to the drive train.

Fewer underground emissions, lower heat rejection and greater operator comfort are all intended benefits of the hybrid system.

Komatsu’s 22 tonne WX22H produces 320 kW, with the smaller WX18H producing 280 kW.

Both engines are rated to the strictest EU Stage V requirements for emission control, and both use the same KESS, capable of delivering 410 kW, effectively doubling power delivery on demand.

A Joy 22HD hybrid LHD using SR drive and KESS has previously been tested at OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill copper-gold mine in South Australia, in addition to Codelco’s El Teniente underground mine in Chile.

Narrow-vein focus

Komatsu has designed the WX04 and WX07 for maximum productivity, with the WX07 a forerunner of a new breed of LHDs using improved chassis, power train and operator cabin environment.

Large capacity fuel tanks – 243 litres in the case of the WX07 – allows longer operational cycles between refuelling, while the cabin access, visibility and ergonomics have been optimised. Critical service points have been placed at ground level to minimise the need for technicians to climb or use ladders to reach key areas, the company said.

A new more efficient bucket design enables greater penetration into a load pile for fast bucket filling.

The Komatsu WX04 delivers 97 kW and the WX07 delivers 160 kW.

Komatsu says it range of hard-rock mining machines establishes new standards of strength and durability.

“In developing our machines, we have been specific in providing protection for critical structural components, linkages and joints,” Foale said. “Reliability has been a paramount consideration in the design of long-life moving parts.

“In the case of our hybrid drive machines, there are no commutators, brushes or rotor windings to replace, and our wiring systems are double insulated.”

Master Builders Solutions reinforces decline work at Hillgrove’s Kanmantoo

Master Builders Solutions has helped the team at the Kanmantoo copper mine in South Australia speed up the excavation of its new decline portal by supplying fast-reacting, instantly thickening anchoring resin.

Kanmantoo, owned by Hillgrove Resources, is currently going through the initial stages of developing an underground operation at the former operating open-pit mine. It has employed a Komatsu MC51 to excavate a circa-500 m decline, with the continuous cutting trial focused on demonstrating the commercial viability of the machine and trial new materials handling and ground support processes.

One of these new processes includes the use of Master Building Solutions’ MasterRoc RBA 380 anchoring resin, which, according to the company, reacts in just three minutes.

This resin has been injected into 10, 9 m self-drilling anchors (SDAs) at the decline portal of Kanmantoo since mechanised cutting operations recently started up.

Master Builders Solutions explained: “Traditionally, cementitious grouts are used to encapsulate the SDAs, which can pose hazards such as dust inhalation and burns to contractors. In waiting for these grouts to cure, mining teams also lose critical heading for approximately 12 hours.”

In choosing the MasterRoc RBA 380, Hillgrove Resources was able to continue the safe excavation with the Komatsu MC51 after just five minutes, according to Master Builders Solutions.

Also involved in this project are Strata Consolidation and PYBAR Mining Services (now part of Metarock Group Limited).

Master Builders Solutions recently announced a planned transaction with Sika that would see the Switzerland-based shotcrete major acquire the company, formerly referred to as BASF Construction Chemicals.

Altaley Mining engages MGA Contratista Minera SA as Tahuehueto mine contractor

Altaley Mining Corp has engaged MGA Contratista Minera SA de CV as the underground mining contractor for the soon-to-be-operating Tahuehueto gold mine, in north-western Durango state, Mexico.

MGA is, Altaley says, a prominent mining contractor located in Durango city with over 20 years of underground mining  and civil engineering experience. Its clients have included Newmont (Goldcorp), Pan American Silver, Endeavour Silver, Grupo Mexico, Fresnillo, First Majestic Silver, Omega and others.

MGA is now mobilising its mining equipment (including a Caterpillar R1300G LHD and a Komatsu Joy DR-1SB hydrualic jumbo drill) to Tahuehueto to continue underground drift and stope development to advance the mine into production. Previous underground development during 2018 and 2019 completed between 70-80% of required development for the initial one to two years of mine production.

MGA will complete the development work required to initiate mine production and continue as the project’s primary underground mining contractor in the initial years of Tahuehueto’s production.

First production through the mill, which is at an advanced stage of construction, is anticipated near the end of 2021 when the first ball mill is to be commissioned. In the March quarter of 2022, the second ball mill will be installed and brought online to, thereafter, ramp up production to the mine’s anticipated 1,000 t/d capacity.

Altaley said construction at the Tahuehueto mine site is on time and budget, and management is not expecting any cost overruns at this point in time.

Ralph Shearing, CEO and President, stated: “MGA is a highly qualified professional underground mining contractor which ensures that mill feed tonnages will be available to sustain continuous milling operations on an ongoing basis. Altaley is pleased to have secured MGA as Tahuehueto’s underground mining contractor and is counting down the weeks remaining to reach production near the end of this year.”

Komatsu MC51 gets cutting at Hillgrove’s Kanmantoo copper project

The world’s first portal cut using “transformational continuous mining technology” is now underway with the help of Hillgrove Resources’ team at the Kanmantoo copper mine in South Australia and Komatsu’s MC51 machine, powered by DynaCut tech.

The underground decline at Kanmantoo commenced last Friday, just over a month after Hillgrove announced that the South Australian Government had awarded it a A$2 million ($1.5 million) grant to trial the new underground mining technology.

The continuous mining technology, which is also being tested at Vale’s Garson mine in Ontario, Canada, and has previously been trialled at Newcrest’s Cadia mine, removes the need for blasting, providing the potential to transform the traditional underground development process and result in improved safety and operational performance, Hillgrove said.

On top of this, the Komatsu MC51 technology is 100% electrically powered, providing a mine development option for companies pursuing zero-emission mining.

The Komatsu MC51 will be used to develop a portal and a circa-500 m underground decline at Kanmantoo, a former-operating open-pit mine that is transitioning to underground operations. This transition is permitted and benefits from having all existing infrastructure in place, including an operational 3.6 Mt/y processing facility and tailings storage facility, Hillgrove said.

The continuous cutting trial will focus on demonstrating the commercial viability of the machine and trial new materials handling and ground support processes. Ground support assistance is to be provided by PYBAR Mining Services.

“The underground decline has multiple benefits to Hillgrove, including the development of underground drilling platforms which reduce drilling cost as Hillgrove continues to expand and infill drill the existing Kanmantoo Underground resource,” the company has previously said.

It could also help bring forward potential first copper production and reduce future development costs, Hillgrove added.

Hillgrove CEO and Managing Director, Lachlan Wallace, said the development of the underground decline and establishment of underground drilling platforms was a key milestone in the Kanmantoo Underground development program.

“We are also excited to advance the mine development in a way that leads the industry towards zero-emission mining, which is without question the way of the future,” he said.

On top of the A$2 million grant from the South Australian Government, Hillgrove says it has secured favourable payment terms from Komatsu, which sees no payments until funding for the mine development is secured. The deferred and contingent nature of the agreement and grant funding results in minimal cash outflow to Hillgrove while the company focuses on the drilling program.

Komatsu to help PIMS Group with Millennium and Mavis Downs underground transition

A new agreement between Komatsu and PIMS Group, a north Queensland-based mining services operator, could help set a benchmark for extending the life of multiple Queensland coal mines, the pair say.

PIMS Group was recently awarded a five-year contract to convert the idled open-pit Millennium and Mavis Downs coal mines, west of Mackay, Queensland, to underground operations, which could ultimately result in an estimated 1.2 Mt/y of incremental coal extraction. Komatsu will sell PIMS Group new mining equipment for the project, and will provide a comprehensive maintenance, parts, rebuild and engineering support service to ensure the companies’ joint objectives are effectively supported, it said.

Komatsu will provide a full-time preventative maintenance team at the mine sites to help maximise the operation of the eight pieces of equipment now on order, including two 12CM27 continuous miners, four 10SC32 shuttle cars, one feeder breaker and one multibolter. Delivery of the Komatsu machines is due in mid-2022 to coincide with PIMS Group’s conversion of the Mavis Downs site to underground operation, which will be followed soon after by conversion of the Millennium site.

Millennium and Mavis Downs are owned by MetRes, a 50:50 joint venture between Stanmore Resources and M Resources. M Mining, a subsidiary of M Resources, is the joint venture manager and operator.

Rob Rogers, Vice President of Underground Soft Rock for Komatsu in Australasia, said the success of the three-way venture with PIMS Group and MetRes depended on total confidence of each partner to reliably deliver in its area of expertise. Rogers said the arrangement aligns well with Komatsu’s focus on ‘creating value together’, an initiative intended to secure long-term customer solutions, particularly to the benefit of society and communities.

The MetRes rejuvenation alone has the potential to create up to 100 mine construction jobs and result in more than 125 direct full-time mining jobs, according to the companies.

MetRes Chairperson, Matt Latimore, says a partnership and risk-sharing approach, together with the potential for substantial local employment opportunities, had been paramount in PIMS Group winning its bid to operate the infrastructure of both mines.

MetRes has initially worked to reopen the mines using auger and open-pit methods, with production of first coal already achieved in September 2021. According to MetRes, underground expansion will be economically achieved through the mines’ existing highwalls, yielding low-ash, high-quality metallurgical coal used in the production of steel globally.

Rehabilitation of the open-pit sites will coincide with the switch to underground operations. With underground activity, Millennium and Mavis Downs share a current predicted additional mine life of 12 years, producing 13.9 Mt of metallurgical coal.

PIMS’ contract with the mines’ owners is the largest undertaken by the north Queensland group.

Boliden to become EU automation FrontRunner with help of Komatsu AHS

Boliden has decided to introduce Komatu’s FrontRunner Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) on 11 haul trucks at its Aitik copper mine in northern Sweden, in the process becoming the first company to introduce AHS in the European Union.

The investment, which will see 11 930E-5 ultra-class trucks automated, is for a total of SEK218 million ($25 million) and will be fully implemented during 2024.

While the production rate at Boliden Aitik remains constant, the required transport work is increasing with the size and depth of the mine, Boliden explained. Automation of the haul truck fleet will increase productivity and asset utilisation in order to meet increased transportation demands in the mine while retaining world leading cost competitiveness, according to the company.

Stefan Romedahl, President Business Area Mines, Boliden, said: “Haul truck automation in Aitik is securing that the mine will stay in the position as the world’s most productive copper mine, while continuing to deliver copper with industry leading climate performance.”

Apart from the technical aspects, the project will include in-depth training of mine staff, both for current and new roles. The expectation is that the work environment will become safer and more attractive with the introduction of automation, Boliden added.

In September, Komatsu announced that mining companies had hauled more than four billion metric tonnes of materials leveraging its FrontRunner AHS, with the milestone achieved just in advance of MINExpo 2021.

First deployed in 2008 at Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral (Gaby) copper mine in Chile, AHS brings together Komatsu ultra-class dump trucks with Modular Mining’s DISPATCH Fleet Management System. Since start-up, zero system-related injuries have been reported, according to Komatsu.

Alongside automation, Boliden is also investing in trolley assist operations at Aitik where it has plans to deploy more than 10 trucks on around 3.5 km of electric trolley line.

GMG tackles mine automation safety in latest whitepaper

The Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG) has published the System Safety for Autonomous Mining white paper as it looks to provide a comprehensive view of the need for a “system safety approach” for mining companies deploying and using autonomous systems.

It also aims to increase awareness of the system safety and its benefits by providing education and context on safety management and the system safety lifecycle, the purpose and typical contents of a safety case, the significance of human-systems integration, and factors that influence software safety management, GMG says.

The white paper intends to addresses the use of autonomous systems within the mining industry, both surface and underground. It applies to all autonomous machines and to the integration of autonomous and semi-autonomous machines with manually-operated machines, as well as to complex integrated systems of systems across the mining industry. While it was developed with a focus on autonomous systems, most of the information is general and is also relevant to manual operations, GMG says.

Explaining the paper, GMG said: “System safety is a view of safety that extends beyond the machines to consider the complete system (ie machines, human factors, and environment, and the interfaces between these). The goal of system safety is to reduce risks associated with hazards to safety. It is a planned, disciplined and systematic approach to identifying, analysing, eliminating, and controlling hazards by analysis, design and management procedures throughout a system’s lifecycle. System safety activities start in the earliest concept development stages of a project and continue through design, development, testing, operational use and disposal.”

Chirag Sathe, Project Co-Leader and Principal Mining Systems at BHP, says: “With an ever-increasing use of technology in mining, particularly in surface mining equipment, it is important to understand the overall impact of systems implementation on safety. I hope the white paper helps to increase the awareness of this important emerging topic in mine safety, not only within mining companies but also for OEMs, technology developers and implementors.”

On the role of industry collaboration both in the development and intended use of this white paper, Project Co-Leader, Gareth Topham, says: “The white paper demonstrates that the mining community continues to see the benefit in collaborating to ensure the introduction and the ongoing operation of autonomous mobile equipment is done in a safe environment. It will enable discussions between all parties to pursue opportunities to improve the level of risk to safety by addressing the topics that are contained in the paper and improving on the communication that delivers a more holistic understanding of these systems. “

On the importance of this topic from an OEM perspective, Michael Lewis, Technical Director at Komatsu, says: “The adoption of autonomous systems in mining has been growing rapidly since the first Komatsu autonomous trucks entered into production in 2008 and it’s been exciting to support our customers as they expand use of autonomous systems. Safety has always been the top priority for our industry, and as the use of autonomy grows to cover more of the mining value chain it’s important that we look at the whole system it impacts.

“I applaud the truly collaborative work between mine operators, OEMs and other GMG members in the creation of this white paper,” Lewis adds.

As only an introduction to the topic, there will likely be future work to provide more complete guidance on applying system safety to autonomous systems in mining.

Andrew Scott, GMG Vice-Chair Working Groups and National Cluster Development Manager at METS Ignited, says: “GMG, as an industry-led organisation, is proud to have had the opportunity to facilitate this work with the global mining community. I look forward to the discussion this white paper will spark as well as further collaboration on the topic.

“I would like to thank all who provided their input and support.”