Tag Archives: Liebherr

WAE putting Fortescue in mine electrification pole position

Andrew Forrest’s statement on Fortescue Metals Group’s planned acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), an offshoot of the Williams F1 team founded by the revered, late Sir Frank Williams CBE, back in January was hardly understated.

He said: “This announcement is the key to unlocking the formula for removing fossil fuel powered machinery and replacing it with zero carbon emission technology, powered by FFI (Fortescue Future Industries) green electricity, green hydrogen and green ammonia.”

As time has progressed, the £164 million ($193 million) deal for the UK-based WAE closed (in March), and another significant announcement in the form of a tie-up between FMG, FFI, WAE and Liebherr has followed, the FMG Founder and Chairman’s words have looked increasingly prescient.

This became apparent to IM on a recent visit to WAE’s Grove headquarters in Oxfordshire, England.

What FMG now has on its books and what FFI is managing in the form of WAE is arguably one of the world’s leading decarbonisation technology companies.

WAE’s reach goes far beyond the pit lanes of a race track. Its impact is felt in the automotive, defence, aerospace, energy, life sciences and health care sectors – as an example, a Babypod 20, a Formula One-inspired environment for new-born babies in need of emergency transportation, was on display in the boardroom IM sat in during an interview at Grove.

One of its more recent market entries has been in mining, with WAE’s fingerprints on two of the industry’s major fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) haul truck movements.

Prior to the acquisition by Fortescue, WAE provided “electrical architecture and control hardware and software” for the battery system on a 100-day “sprint” FFI project focused on converting a legacy 221-t class Terex Unit Rig MT4400 AC electric drive, diesel-powered haul truck to run on a ‘green’ hydrogen 180 kW fuel cell system and a 300 kW/h battery.

For the nuGen FCEV truck that premiered at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa earlier this year, WAE supplied a 1.2 MWh battery pack that, along with multiple fuel cells amounting to 800 kW of power, propelled the converted 291-t-class Komatsu 930E around the mine site.

Input to these two projects put WAE on the mining map, but this represents a fraction of the impact the company is likely to have on mining’s decarbonisation journey going forward.

WAE is currently engaged on two major projects for FFI – one being the conversion of another legacy Terex MT4400 AC electric-drive truck to an all-battery powered setup and the other being an all-battery rail loco that FFI has named the INFINITY TRAIN™.

Both projects highlight the depth of battery system technology expertise that led FMG to acquiring the company in the first place – design expertise spawned from development across multiple sectors and operating environments, utilising the latest cell technology across all form factors.

There is a common thread that hangs between all this work, as Craig Wilson, WAE CEO, explained to IM.

“We develop our battery systems for the specific application, factoring in the duty cycle, the cost constraints, required performance and environment the solution will be working in,” he said. “In motorsport, for instance, you can imagine weight, aerodynamics and space are more critical than they are in mining.”

Being battery cell, chemistry and format agnostic, WAE has built up a reputation in the battery industry for specifying and developing a diverse pool of battery systems that continue to push performance to the limit.

Differentiated modelling

Sophisticated modelling and simulation tools – much of which has been developed in-house – are behind this, according to WAE’s Chief Programme Manager, Alec Patterson.

“We have detailed in-house simulation tools which allow us to develop and optimise a battery pack’s performance against any customer’s drive cycle criteria,” he said. “This includes thermal simulation where the team model the detailed internals of a cell, allowing them to understand exactly how each cell is likely to behave and, thereby, being able to optimise their cooling for increased performance. This comes from our motorsport heritage and the team’s ability to manipulate and analyse large amounts of data through supercomputer levels of processing power.”

Prototyping and field tests are designed to “validate” this modelling and simulation work, he added.

Battery design also calls for a strong focus on safety and this is where WAE’s extensive practical experience is fully utilised.

“We have detailed in-house simulation tools which allow us to develop and optimise a battery pack’s performance against any customer’s drive cycle criteria,” Alec Patterson says

Patterson summarised this offering: “There are a number of ways the battery is developed to ensure cell safety. These range from understanding in detail the performance of the cell through practical testing, the design of the modules themselves and the monitoring of the cells for voltage and temperature throughout usage. WAE has developed its own Cell Monitoring Unit hardware and Battery Management Unit hardware and, combined, they monitor the status of the pack and control the performance outputs many times a second. In the FFI battery sub pack, dielectric (non-conductive) coolant is used so if a leak was to occur it wouldn’t cause an internal issue; detection of which would be through WAE’s propriety on-board sensors.”

Overlay these preventative measures with an array of experience in various fields that would have seen battery systems take significant G-shock loads and operate in high temperature environments – whether that be a crash on a Formula E circuit or an Extreme E race in the Sahara – and it is easy to see why FMG initially believed WAE had knowledge and skills transferrable to mining.

Patterson concludes that advances in quality within the manufacturing process will also add to the reliability of the sub packs. At WAE those advances come in the form of laser welding, which ensures each cell is connected robustly for maximum performance.

Battery prototype progress

All this and more are being factored into the 221-t all-battery solution WAE is currently focused on as part of the FFI and FMG brief.

The battery will take the place of the diesel engine and alternator and will plug directly into the Terex MT4400 inverter to drive the motors and rear wheels. The battery system will have a capacity of >1 MWh (final specification to be revealed at a later date) and will be charged by a “fast-charge solution” sourcing power from a renewable grid FMG has already setup as part of its 60 MW Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project.

FMG has already set up a renewable grid as part of its 60 MW Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid Project

Once the battery system is delivered, integrated into the truck and commissioned at FFI’s Hazelmere facility, it will be transported to the Pilbara where it will start extensive testing outside FMG’s current mining operations.

WAE, FMG and FFI have overcome more than a few hurdles to get to the point where they can talk about such a plan.

While most of the battery houses in the UK can test each sub pack individually, WAE had to locate a specialist test house capable of testing out the full battery pack from both a motor-drive perspective and a battery re-generation standpoint.

This has seen the complete solution – a 12 t motor, inverter, cooling system, battery system and power distribution unit – begin testing a few months back.

Charging packs of this scale is one of the major industry challenges currently.

“Our charging strategy is centred around the individual cell chemistry and form factor which allows us to specify a higher rate of charge for the battery sub pack,” Patterson said. “To enable fast charging, a combination of a large charger and ability to cool the pack through the charging process is required, and our pack is designed for both.”

At the same time, WAE is aiming to further optimise the regeneration aspect of the electrification project, realising this is key to getting the trucks to complete as many haul cycles as possible without the downtime associated with a battery recharge – even if it is a ‘fast charge’.

“The real challenge is centred around how to manage the large accumulation of energy from the wheel motor during braking or retarding downhill fully laden,” Patterson said. “Do you send this to the battery or the resistor grid to burn off? Our job is to optimise the power electronics to make sure as much of that energy as possible goes back into the battery in order to make the whole system more efficient.”

The entire battery system will soon be shipped to Australia to go into the Terex truck at Hazelmere, at which point the charging system can be fully tested and the re-generation system trialled.

Leveraging gravity

This work will no doubt influence the other big project WAE is currently involved in for FFI and FMG – the electrification of FMG’s rail operations.

Fortescue’s current rail operations include 54 operating locomotives that haul 16 train sets, together with other on-track mobile equipment. Each train set is about 2.8 km in length and has the capacity to haul 34,404 t of iron ore in 244 ore cars.

A world first, zero emission INFINITY TRAIN concept has been put forward to replace this setup – which travels on some 620 km of track between the Cloudbreak mine and Herb Elliott Port at Port Hedland.

Fortescue’s rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 11% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions (©JoshFernandes2021)

The regenerating battery-electric iron ore train project will use gravitational energy to fully recharge its battery-electric systems without any additional charging requirements for the return trip to reload, according to FMG.

The challenges associated with this project include the size of the battery and motor combination required to store enough energy from the fully laden, downhill journey from Cloudbreak to Herb Elliott Port to make sure the unladen trains can travel back without a charge, and the residual power and torque generation that would typically be applied to get the locos started.

On the latter, Patterson said: “Your contact area in terms of the wheel to rail is very small in comparison to the load, so our control strategy will utilise learning from our in-house VDC (vehicle dynamic control) software to design a solution that controls slippage for maximum adhesion.”

If an appropriate solution comes to the fore, the sustainable value is significant for FMG.

Fortescue’s rail operations consumed 82 million litres of diesel in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 11% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions. This diesel consumption and associated emissions will be eliminated once the INFINITY TRAIN is fully implemented across Fortescue’s operations, significantly contributing to Fortescue’s target to achieve “real zero” terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across its iron ore operations by 2030.

Electrification for everyone

Just as WAE’s involvement in the conception of the first Formula E battery led to wider electrification in motorsport, WAE believes its work in mining will have far-reaching ramifications across the off-highway sector.

Just how far reaching it will be is dictated by the most significant project – in terms of scale and timeline – WAE has on its books.

In June, FMG announced a partnership with Liebherr for the development and supply of green mining haul trucks for integration with the “zero emissions power system” technologies being developed by FFI and WAE.

Under the partnership, Fortescue will purchase a fleet of haul trucks from Liebherr; a commitment that represents approximately 45% of the current haul truck fleet at Fortescue’s operations, with truck haulage diesel consumption representing approximately 200 million litres in the 2021 financial year, accounting for 26% of Fortescue’s Scope 1 emissions.

The zero emissions power system technologies are expected to be fitted on machines based off the 240-t T 264 model to be deployed at its Pilbara mining operations. They could include both battery-electric and FCEV configurations, hence the reason why the all-battery prototype project and the FCEV project are so significant.

With the first of the zero emission haul truck units expected to be fully operational within Fortescue mine sites by 2025, FMG, WAE and Liebherr look set to take the electrification lead over its mining company peers.

The zero emissions power system technologies are expected to be fitted on machines based off Liebherr’s 240-t T 264 model to be deployed at Fortescue’s Pilbara mining operations

Yet Wilson says this type of solution could turn into a commercial product that others select for their own decarbonisation program – hence the industry-wide electrification potential.

When asked the question whether the company may still supply battery systems to the likes of Anglo American (as it did for the NuGen truck) under the new Fortescue ownership, he replied: “We could do, but the decision is not just down to us.

“Through the relationship with Liebherr, the intention is to provide really competitive products that are available to other mining companies, whether it be Anglo, Vale or BHP, for example…The absolute intention is not to come up with a development or product that is just for Fortescue.”

In this respect, he likens FMG to Tesla in the way the electric car manufacturer has acted as the catalyst to fundamentally change the automotive sector’s electrification approach.

“Tesla, today, is nowhere near being considered a large automotive manufacturer by industry standards, but they have created a catalyst for everybody else to move from in terms of battery-powered cars,” Wilson said.

“They have almost coerced the rest of the manufacturers to move this way; you only need to look at VW Group now – one of the world’s largest car makers – that is committing the majority of its business towards electrification.

“The difference with Fortescue is it is both the operator of these vehicles as well as the owner of the technology (through WAE). It is developing these products to use them, putting its whole business on the line.”

This extends as far as looking at its own mining operations and how it can optimise the pit profile and infrastructure to benefit from all the advantages expected to come with battery-electric haulage.

“Both the Fortescue mine planning and decarbonisation teams are working hand-in-hand with us to develop a mine site for the future of electric mining,” Patterson said. “We are working together to answer the questions about what needs to change to operate these trucks to maximise uptime, where to put the charging points, how to optimise the charging, etc.

“That work is going to be really important for us in terms of developing a commercial solution that provides the sustainable gains over the long term and decarbonises the entire fleet.”

Even when factoring in a project that takes ‘stretch targets’ to a new level, that is reliant on sourcing components from an evolving electrification supply chain, and that is scheduled to see solutions arrive within three years of finding an OEM partner in the form of Liebherr, it’s hard to doubt WAE, FMG, FFI and (of course) Andrew Forrest from steering such a project through to the finish line.

After that, it’s a matter of the rest of the industry catching up.

Fortescue pledges $6.2bn of decarbonisation investment on way to producing carbon-free iron ore

Fortescue Metals Group’s decarbonisation plans have stepped up a gear, with the company announcing it intends to eliminate fossil fuel use and achieve “real zero” terrestrial emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across its iron ore operations by 2030 with a $6.2 billion capital investment.

The investment, the company says, will eliminate Fortescue’s fossil fuel risk profile and enable it to supply its customers with a “carbon-free” product.

“Real zero” refers to no fossil fuels and, wherever possible, no offsets, the company explained. Under the use of the term, offsets must only be used as a temporary solution while the technology or innovation required to completely decarbonise is developed.

Fortescue’s strategy will see the company lead the market in terms of its response to growing customer, community and investor expectations to reduce/eliminate carbon emissions, it said.

“Fortescue expects to generate attractive economic returns from its investment arising from the operating cost savings due to the elimination of diesel, natural gas, and carbon offset purchases from its supply chain,” it added. “Fortescue is well positioned to capitalise on first-mover advantage and the ability to commercialise decarbonisation technologies.”

Fortescue made the announcement at the invitation of US President Biden’s First Movers Coalition and the United Nations Global Compact, with the Secretary General of the United Nations at the CEO roundtable on “Business leadership to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Fortescue also announced that the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) will verify and audit its emissions reduction. This technical auditing initiative was instituted to ensure companies reach their Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Fortescue says its decarbonisation journey started on the commencement of the first major trip on August 25, 2020, during the advent of COVID-19 to secure technology, demand and resources for the green energy ecosystem. It consolidated further at the successful completion of the 100-day sprint to create the world’s first mining truck to run on hydrogen (a FCEV).

When fully implemented, Fortescue’s decarbonisation strategy and associated investment will provide significant environmental and economic returns by 2030, including:

  • Avoidance of 3 Mt of CO2-equivalent emissions per year;
  • Net operating cost savings of $818 million per year from 2030, at prevailing market prices of diesel, gas and Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs);
  • Cumulative operating cost savings of $3 billion by 2030 and payback of capital by 2034, at prevailing market prices;
  • Elimination of Fortescue’s exposure to fossil fuels and associated fossil fuel price volatility which, in turn, will de-risk the operating cost profile;
  • Removal of the company’s exposure to price risks associated with relying on carbon offsets as well as carbon tax regulatory risk;
  • Establish a significant new green growth opportunity by producing a carbon-free iron ore product and through the commercialisation of decarbonisation technologies;
  • Ensuring future access to green driven capital markets.

Fortescue’s capital estimate of $6.2 billion is expected to see the investment largely planned in the company’s 2024-2028 financial years. This investment includes the deployment of an additional 2-3 GW of renewable energy generation and battery storage and the estimated incremental costs associated with a green mining fleet and locomotives.

The capital expenditure to purchase the fleet will be aligned with the scheduled asset replacement life cycle and included in Fortescue’s sustaining capital expenditure. Studies are underway to optimise the localised wind and solar resources.

The investment is expected to generate a positive net present value through enabling the displacement of approximately 700 million litres of diesel and 15 million GJ of gas per year by 2030, as well as the associated reduction in CO 2 emissions.

Fortescue Executive Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, said: “There’s no doubt that the energy landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years and this change has accelerated since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“We are already seeing direct benefits of the transition away from fossil fuels – we avoided 78 million litres of diesel usage at our Chichester Hub in financial year 2022 – but we must accelerate our transition to the post fossil fuel era, driving global scale industrial change as climate change continues to worsen. It will also protect our cost base, enhance our margins and set an example that a post fossil fuel era is good commercial, common sense.

“Fortescue, FFI and FMG are moving at speed to transition into a global green metals, minerals, energy and technology company, capable of delivering not just green iron ore but also the minerals, knowledge and technology critical to the energy transition.

“Consistent with Fortescue’s disciplined approach to capital allocation, this investment in renewable energy and decarbonisation is expected to generate attractive economic returns for our shareholders through energy cost savings and a sharp reduction in carbon offset purchases, together with a lower risk cost profile and improvement in the integrity of our assets.”

Fortescue has already made significant effort in decarbonising its iron ore operations through its successful green fleet trials and innovation, acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and its partnership with Liebherr in June this year. Building on Fortescue’s announcement in March 2022 to develop with FFI and WAE the world’s first regenerating battery electric iron ore train, feasibility studies are progressing, with delivery of the first parabolic (gravity powered) drive trains to the Infinity locomotives scheduled to be operational by the end of 2026.

Liebherr-Australia prepares for zero emission tech developments with Perth facility expansion

Liebherr-Australia has expanded its Perth mining facility, adding 47,000 sq.m of workshop, office and build space to the complex, strengthening the company’s ability to deliver accelerated zero emission solutions to the wider market.

Perth is Liebherr-Australia’s second largest branch after the company’s head office in Adelaide, South Australia.

Liebherr says the company’s growing involvement in the development and implementation of zero emission technology with Australian customers illustrates the necessity for this investment in infrastructure, and signifies Liebherr’s commitment to these industry-leading projects.

The Redcliffe-based branch purchased the land and buildings adjacent to the current location, increasing the Liebherr complex from 34,000 sq.m to 81,000 sq.m. The new acquisition includes two workshops and a three-storey office building, adding to Liebherr’s existing 3,000 sq.m service workshop, 5,000 sq.m parts warehouse, along with an administration building and build area.

Liebherr-Australia Managing Director, Trent Wehr, said: “This is our largest investment in infrastructure here in Australia in many years, and this signifies how vital this facility is for our current and future business. Liebherr’s developments in zero emission technology, and the projects we are working on with industry partners and customers, are progressing every day and will deliver tangible solutions for the wider industry well before 2030.

“The team at Liebherr-Australia is making important contributions to the decarbonisation of the mining industry, and we’re committed to resourcing this momentous work for both our long-term success and the benefit of the whole industry.”

The newly acquired office and workshop buildings will form the central hub for Liebherr’s mining zero emission, autonomy and other technology development and implementation projects in Australia.

The workshop and additional hardstand areas will facilitate these development projects, as well as new equipment builds for the growing number of machine orders in Western Australia. The additional office space will house the growing teams working on these industry-leading projects.

One can expect some of the work associated with integrating the zero emission power system technologies being developed by Fortescue Future Industries and Williams Advanced Engineering into Liebherr’s 240-t-class T 264 haul truck as part of an agreement with Fortescue Metals Group to be carried out at these expanded facilities.

Liebherr-Australia’s Regional Manager WA, Paul Hyham, says the company’s decarbonisation and technology focus has ramped up quickly over the past year.

“We’re building a really critical team here in Perth to support new technology development, which will employ everyone from engineers to on-site technicians,” he said. “We’re excited to be bringing across some of our best international talent, as well as recruiting talent locally, and upskilling our own workforce over the next 12 months. We currently have around 200 permanent employees here in Perth and we forecast an increase steadily over the next few years.”

This expansion will have significant impact on the Liebherr Mining business both locally and globally.

Hyham continued: “It’s exciting to have the forefront of this technology development and deployment right here in our backyard. Across the business there’s a feeling of excitement that we’re making real progress. Announcements like this facility expansion really show our employees, customers and our wider network that we’re on the cusp of meaningful change.”

Alongside this expansion, the Perth complex will continue to be the main mining facility for all services in Western Australia, and support its satellite network of branches in the state’s regional mining hubs including Newman and the recently-established branch in Kalgoorlie.

Ritchie Bros to auction EMECO’s excess mining equipment

Ritchie Bros. has entered into an agreement to deliver excess mining equipment dispersal services to EMECO, collaborating with the mining services supplier to deliver what it says is competitive integrated sales and marketing solutions for the sale of heavy earthmoving equipment.

EMECO is one of Australia’s largest, independent mining equipment rental businesses, providing tailored earthmoving equipment solutions for mining companies – with operations in key mining regions of Australia.

With this joint agreement, EMECO has received a dedicated storefront on Ritchie Bros. IronPlanet, a custom branded seller page that includes EMECO listings for sale. Assets will either be sold via both Marketplace-E and IronPlanet auctions with the approach tailored to deliver the optimal result, Ritchie Bros. says.

Ritchie Bros. Sales Director, Finlay Massey, said: “We are pleased to be working in collaboration with EMECO to deliver innovative solutions to the dispersal of excess assets. With a shared focus on asset solutions, this agreement is the foundation for a strong partnership and complements our efforts to diversify our sales solutions.

“We are uniquely positioned to deliver EMECO with our substantial resources, industry expertise and extensive buyer database to maximise the return on sale of surplus EMECO assets.”

EMECO Steve Crofts, GM HME Disposals, said: “We have been in the mining business for 50 years providing heavy earthmoving equipment to mining companies and contractors across coal, gold, copper, bauxite and iron ore. We are pleased to start selling surplus assets through Ritchie Bros. to the global mining industry.

“Ritchie Bros.’ multichannel sales approach will allow us to sell equipment when, how, and where, we choose.”

EMECO carries out a comprehensive scope of work from its component and rebuilding company, Force Equipment, to its line boring company, Borex, and underground mining services company, Pit N Portal.

EMECO says its operations are supported by close to 1,300 employees equipped with proprietary asset management and fleet optimisation technology and more than 1,000 units of heavy equipment in various quality brands such as Caterpillar, Hitachi, Liebherr and Komatsu.

Immersive Technologies and Liebherr renew simulator and training tech pact

With 16 years of delivering advanced Liebherr equipment simulators for mining customers to its name, Immersive Technologies and Liebherr have chosen to renew their technical information agreement for a further five years (20 years in total), Immersive says.

Immersive Technologies has a long history of providing quantifiable return on investment to Liebherr fleet owners, it says.

The first Liebherr mining equipment simulator was developed by Immersive Technologies in 2006 for a large copper mine in Arizona and, now, dozens of mines around the globe benefit from improved production, safety, and cost-per-tonne achieved through operator skills optimisation, it says.

The solutions significantly evolved over the years to include a range of haul trucks, excavators, shovels and autonomous panel add-ons for loader operators to manage autonomous haulage trucks.  These long-standing customer relationships have shaped the requirements for high-performance simulation, it says. With the two companies focused on customer outcomes, the following results have been recently achieved by mines:

  • 11% spot time reduction (fleet management data);
  • 36% reduction in machine abuse events (fleet management data);
  • 8% instantaneous dig rate improvement (fleet management data); and
  • 100% engine fire pass rate (SimData).

We are proud that our partnership with Liebherr will continue for another five years, by providing high-quality training technology and working closely with mining customers we continue to significantly improve the safety and profitability of mines,” David Anderson, CEO of Immersive Technologies, said.

Liebherr to present new mid-size-class hydraulic mining excavator at Bauma

Among its booths at Bauma 2022, in Munich, Germany, from October 24-30, Liebherr is set to unveil a brand-new mid-size class hydraulic mining excavator.

This second Generation 8 machine will be joined by other mining products and solutions on the company’s stands at the world’s largest construction show.

A pre-series model of the new machine will be exhibited at the Liebherr booth. As the second machine within the Liebherr mining portfolio to receive the “Generation 8” label, after the R 9600 excavator, which was launched in 2021, this new model comes equipped with the latest Liebherr technology products, the company said.

The hydraulic excavator to be displayed at Bauma 2022 has already entered the testing phase, with the company planning the start of serial production in early 2024.

The T 274, a 305-t mining truck, will also be on display at the show, featuring what Liebherr says will be “an impressive demonstration of the Trolley Assist System”.

This new truck bridges the gap between the  T 284 (363 t) and the upgraded T 264 (240 t) and was launched last year with the Liebherr Trolley Assist System available as an option.

The Liebherr Trolley Assist System uses an overhead pantograph to connect the electric-drive system to a mine site’s electrical network, powered by the customer’s energy source of choice. The Trolley Assist System offers increased truck fleet productivity, and potential for reduction in fleet size while maintaining yearly production, when compared with standard trucks. The potential for significant reduction of diesel fuel consumption and carbon footprint by decreasing the truck fleet’s CO2 emissions, demonstrates the Trolley Assist System as an effective first step on the road to zero emission mine sites of the future, the company said.

Liebherr already delivers proven field experience with 56 Liebherr trucks fitted with the Trolley Assist System currently in operation across three mine sites, it said.

Liebherr Mining’s recently launched Technology Product portfolio will also be showcased at Bauma 2022.

Mining excavator technology products to be presented will include the Truck Loading Assistant, Performance Monitoring and Application Severity analytic products, Liebherr Power Efficiency, and the Bucket Filling Assistant, which offers the first step towards excavator automation.

Other innovations across the Liebherr Group set to be presented in Munich include Liebherr Components’ first hydrogen engine, the H964, with, the company says, high efficiency and very low NOx emissions with the same service life and maintenance intervals as diesel engines.

The various injection solutions for hydrogen for medium and heavy-duty engines, as well as large engines with 7-100 litre capacity, will also be presented.

Tharisa puts Liebherr T 236 trucks and PR 776 dozer to the test in the Bushveld

Tharisa, the platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome co-producer, says three Liebherr Generation 2 Litronic Drive machines – two trucks and one dozer – have been delivered to the Tharisa Mine and begun operational testing.

The partnership with Liebherr is part of Tharisa’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiative to reduce its carbon footprint.

The two 100-t T 236 mining trucks and one 72-t PR 776 dozer, both of which use the latest generation diesel engine technology with the T236s using Cummins QST 30 engines and the PR 776 utilising the Liebherr D9512 engine, are characterised by low-level fuel consumption, Tharisa said. They will be fully stress-tested under operational conditions for 18 months, operating as part of the production fleet under supervision of both Tharisa’s mining team and Liebherr Mining Africa.

“These state-of-the-art diesel-electric mining trucks’ drive train technology benefit from improved fuel economy due to their efficient engine and fuel system, advanced airflow system as well as low-end torque performance and emissions capability,” Tharisa said. “The trucks’ continuous drive system technology will be field tested to determine whether the machines can withstand the climatic and geomorphological makeup of the hard-rock mining of the Bushveld Complex.”

The aim of the long-term, real-life tests is to ensure the trucks reduce diesel consumption and costs while testing the machines’ ability to deliver a minimised environmental footprint, and still deliver on production metrics, as part of Tharisa’s drive for a more sustainable mining environment.

One of Tharisa’s core values is safety and the T236 has a variety of operational safety features such as payload warnings, anti-rollback features, engine shutdown switches in the cab and at ground level and an integrated four corner park brake system, the miner said. These safety systems are in line with the current specifications of the existing truck fleet operating at the Tharisa Mine.

The PR 776 dozer has a high-efficiency rating of the hydrostatic drive across the entire vehicle speed range, which further minimises fuel consumption and ensures reduced levels of carbon dioxide emissions, it added.

Tebogo Matsimela, Head of ESG at Tharisa, said: “Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by 30% by 2030 and becoming net carbon neutral by 2050 is in action and includes using efficient technology. When we announced our targets, we already had an action plan in place and the intention to meet, if not exceed, our 2030 target.

“Liebherr has been a partner to Tharisa, and like all our other partners, we constantly challenge them to come up with innovative, cost-saving and environmentally friendly solutions that ensure our materials, which themselves are necessary for a more sustainable world, are produced in a sustainable manner. Investing in the next generation of mining equipment will reduce our carbon footprint and costs, allowing us to deliver enhanced and sustainable returns to our shareholders.”

Tharisa Minerals is 74% owned by Tharisa and is uniquely positioned as the world’s only co-producer of both PGM and chrome concentrates, the company says. Tharisa Minerals’ core asset is the Tharisa Mine, which is situated on South Africa’s Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex – home to more than 70% of the world’s platinum and chrome resources.

Liebherr modernises its L 550, L 566 and L 580 wheel loaders

Liebherr is modernising the three largest wheel loaders in its series, the L 550, L 566 and L 580 models, with, among other things, increasing the tip load, bucket sizes and engine power.

The wheel loaders also feature a new electrohydraulic pilot control; a technology that forms the basis for various intelligent features to increase safety and productivity during daily use.

Liebherr has been offering a series of wheel loaders tailored to markets outside of Europe and North America since 2010. The L 550, L 566 and L 580 come with tip loads of 12.4 t, 15.9 t and 19 t, respectively, while the three boast 3.4 cu.m, 4.2 cu.m and 5.2 cu.m bucket capacities.

Liebherr has developed the three new models at the Bischofshofen plant, its long-standing Centre of Excellence for Wheel Loaders. Decades of experience in designing wheel loaders was one of the keys to success in the development process, according to Wolfgang Rottensteiner, Liebherr-Werk Bischofshofen GmbH Wheel Loader Series Head of Sales.

“We also analysed our international customers’ demanding wheel loader operations over a long period,” he said. “This included observing different mining operations around the world, some in Africa and South America, coal handling in India and timber work in Russia. Our customers’ experiences were crucial to the development of the new wheel loader series.”

The new L 550, L 566 and L 580 wheel loaders feature the hydrostatic Liebherr travel drive, which, the company says, is renowned for its great efficiency. Thanks to increases in engine power – approximately 17% for the L 550 – the travel drive is even more powerful while maintaining the same fuel consumption. This is advantageous when accelerating or penetrating material and lowers fleet fuel costs, according to the company. Liebherr has installed the diesel engine in the rear, where it also acts as a counterweight, thereby increasing the tip load for the wheel loaders.

Liebherr has three lift arm versions on offer for the new models. First, the z-bar kinematics, which come to the fore particularly in the lower lifting range and for the break-out force. Secondly, the industrial kinematics, which have been designed for working with heavy working tools such as high dump buckets and log grapplers. Finally, there are the High Lift arms – an extended version of the z-bar kinematics with, Liebherr says, the longest lift arms in this wheel loader segment. These ensure greater reach and more productive loading procedures at great heights.

The L 580 is the largest model in Liebherr’s wheel loader series for markets outside of Europe and North America

The working hydraulics of the wheel loaders have also been upgraded with larger components and new electrohydraulic pilot control. This latter technology also ensures responsive movements of the lift arms, independent of the size or weight of the working tool. Liebherr also offers a new, optional weighing device on the bases of the electrohydraulic pilot control, which automatically works as a check scale and provides real-time information about the loading procedure. This data helps machine operators precisely fill dumpers, lorries and railway wagons with the specified quantities, and to avoid overfilling.

The electrohydraulic pilot control enables operators to perform individual adjustments on the new wheel loaders. For example, they can set lift limitations and maximum tilt-out heights, thus reducing the risk of accidents in areas where space is restricted. The tilt-out speed can also be programmed to protect lift arm components and the installed equipment.

In addition to these optimisations for operating safety, Liebherr has also invested in the operational reliability of the new wheel loaders. Because they are faced with an abundance of challenges – remote operating areas, extreme climates, demanding loading materials and multi-shift operation over a long period – they demand a high degree of reliability. For this reason, Liebherr has installed larger axles than were fitted on predecessor models. Liebherr has also drawn on proven components from its other wheel loaders for the core components and steel construction.

The modern design of the new wheel loaders comes with particular functional advantages, in addition to a bold new look, the company says.

The clean lines on the rear as well as the large glass surfaces in the cab facilitate good all-round visibility. Furthermore, the new reversing camera, which is installed in a protected position in the engine bonnet, assists the machine operator to keep an eye on the area to the rear. Service work is also eased with, on the L 566 and L 580, an engine bonnet that opens to the rear to make the diesel engine freely and safely accessible.

A sturdy cab access leads to the redesigned and spacious operator’s cab. One of the special features of this cab is the height-adjustable 9-in (229 mm) touch display with intuitive menu navigation. The high-resolution display provides a clear overview of all the wheel loader’s operating information. The Liebherr control lever, meanwhile, enables the highly-sensitive control of work movements as part of the modern operating concept. Hydraulic working tools can also be precisely controlled with the optional mini joystick on the control lever.

Immersive Technologies continues to support Liebherr fleet owners with simulator solutions

Immersive Technologies says it is celebrating 15 years of providing “workforce optimisation solutions” to Liebherr fleet owners.

The company has a strong history of supporting mining customers in the development of safe and productive equipment operators, and, over the past 15 years, Immersive says it has brought the most effective and efficient Liebherr simulator training solutions to mines across the world.

In 2006, Immersive Technologies developed the first Liebherr T282 haul truck simulator for a large mine in the US. Rapidly thereafter the product range expanded to support a large range of hydraulic shovels, backhoes and additional haul trucks.

The largest end user of the Liebherr simulator range have been the Tier 1 Western Australia iron ore mines, while the Liebherr equipment simulators have also produced significant benefit to mines in 14 other countries, including multiple Global Business Improvement Award winners.

Some recent examples of customer value realised by training operators with the Immersive Technologies solution include an 11% spot time reduction, a 36% reduction in machine abuse events and an 8% instantaneous dig rate improvement.

David Anderson, CEO Immersive Technologies, said: “It is our continual focus on customer outcomes which has produced quantifiable return on investment for many Liebherr fleet owners across the mining industry. We are proud to support these mines, many of whom operate mixed fleets and benefit from our all makes all models approach.”

First Quantum to operate world’s largest ultra-class truck trolley fleet with Liebherr T 284

The day after announcing it will accelerate the implementation of its existing low carbon solutions and trigger future projects at MINExpo 2021, Liebherr has confirmed that it will supply a further 11 T 284 trucks to operate on trolley lines at First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML)’s Sentinel and Cobre Panama mines with the miner claiming, in the process, the title of the world’s largest ultra-class truck fleet on trolley.

In 2013, Liebherr received an initial request from FQML to develop a 360 t trolley-capable haul truck for mine sites in Panama and Zambia. The trucks were required to integrate with the trolley power line that FQML had designed and developed for the sites.

Agreeing to this partnership, Liebherr engineers began developing, testing and verifying the trolley solution. Two Liebherr T 284 trucks with the Trolley Assist System were commissioned at Sentinel copper mine in Zambia in 2016 and testing of the trolley solution began in February of 2017, with 12 months allotted for the customer to evaluate the trucks, the trolley and the customer service.

At the end of the trial period, FQML expressed it was pleased with the results of the Trolley Assist System and the performance of the T 284, leading to an order for six more trolley-capable T 284 trucks at Sentinel mine, along with 30-trolley-capable T 284 trucks for Cobre Panama copper mine in Panama, Liebherr says.

As a mark of success of the partnership between FQML and Liebherr, along with the performance of the T 284 with trolley solution, FQML recently confirmed an order for a further 11 T 284 trucks. These three trucks for Sentinel mine and eight trucks for Cobre Panama mine will join the existing fleets operating with the Trolley Assist System. This soon-to-be fleet of 38 T 284s in Panama will claim the title of the world’s largest ultra-class truck fleet on trolley, according to Liebherr.

“Trolley Assist truck systems have become integral to the development of First Quantum’s large scale open-pit truck haulage operations,” an FQML representative says. “Over the last decade, First Quantum has emerged as one of the industry leaders in implementation of Trolley Assist systems across mine planning and design, installation, operations, and maintenance. We consider our purpose designed Trolley Assist systems deliver a step change in measurable haulage performance through increased truck productivity, improved maintenance cost, and reduced carbon emissions.

“During the past five years, Liebherr has proven itself as a proactive partner in the development of Trolley Assist capable truck fleet systems. First Quantum has selected the Liebherr T 284 ultra-class truck for some of our Trolley Assist deployments at our large-scale mining operations in Zambia and, more recently, as the sole deployed truck at our Panama mining operations. With a high degree of co-operation between our organisations, we see this partnership continuing to grow in years to come.”

Oliver Hoelzer, Director of Mining Liebherr-Panamá, says: “Even before the arrival of the very first truck, Liebherr Panama’s relationship with FQML Panama has been more of a mutual partnership than a pure business relationship. Our highly committed team recognises that Liebherr’s own success is intrinsically linked to the success of FQML.”

Liebherr has also delivered six trolley-capable 100 t T 236 haul trucks to the Erzberg iron ore mine in Austria, bringing the total number of Liebherr trucks with the Trolley Assist System to 56 once FQML’s newest fleet has been commissioned.

Liebherr aims to offer fossil fuel free solutions for its entire digging, dozing, and hauling product range by 2030.