Tag Archives: Meglab

Epiroc drilling, bolting, electrification innovations set for MINExpo 2021

Epiroc’s MINExpo 2021 line-up is set to include a variety of innovative and productive offerings including its latest Pit Viper blasthole drill rig, its recently launched Boomer underground drill, new rock bolters and a host of aftermarket products geared to mine electrification.

Making its MINExpo debut in Las Vegas, September 13-15, will be the Epiroc Pit Viper 291 (pictured above). This rig is designed to tackle larger diameter drilling in soft-to-medium ground conditions in both rotary and DTH drilling. The new addition to the Pit Viper range is capable of 171-311 mm diameter holes with a 16.76 m clean hole single pass with the drill bit above the table. It is also available with an 18 m option.

The Pit Viper 291 offers more than 100 different options to configure the rig to a client’s specifications. With Epiroc’s Rig Control System (RCS), the Pit Viper 291 can be configured with scalable automation features, including fully-autonomous drilling, the company said.

The new generation SmartROC D65 XLF will also be highlighted. This rig is packed with smart features such as automated drilling and rod handling, and is equipped with an intelligent fuel-saving system that reduces fuel consumption by 20% compared with the FlexiROC D65 drill rig, according to the company. It is available in three feed beam sizes to carry 5-, 6- or 8-m pipes, and has the capacity to drill down to a depth of 56 m.

The smaller SmartROC T45 will also be discussed. This tophammer surface drill rig for quarrying boosts productivity, reduces fuel costs and offers smart options and features such as Hole Navigation System, AutoPos and ROC Manager.

Epiroc’s Boomer M20 with battery option, launched earlier this year, will also receive the MINExpo 2021 treatment.

With protected hydraulics, sensors and cables, the new Boomer M20 is the next generation in underground mining, the company says. The world’s first face drill rig with internal hydraulics, the Boomer M20 is designed to minimise unplanned stops and maximise uptime and performance even in the toughest conditions.

High precision and performance are ensured with on-board automation features, tele-remote capabilities and digital drill plans to provide higher reliability and quality of the full drill cycle. The Boomer M20 comes with a battery-electric driveline option where, with the on-board charger, charging automatically happens while connected to the grid for drilling.

The Boltec M10 and E10 bolting rigs also come with a battery driveline option.

This next-generation rock reinforcement rig is available in two versions – the Boltec M10 and E10 – with the Boltec E10 showcased at MINExpo 2021. Designed for increased productivity and quality bolt installation, the rigs feature a new operator control panel, reduced noise levels, better visibility and improved operator ergonomics, according to the company.

The Boltec M10 and E10 can handle different types of bolts, mesh and installation methods, as well as optional battery-electric driveline or diesel hydraulic, radial and face bolting capabilities and extension drilling capability. Optional tele-remote operation is available, as well as single bolt auto installation with self-drilling anchor bolts in combination with pumpable resin.

Epiroc will be exhibiting several products from its tools range including the COP 57P, a versatile DTH hammer range. It is based on a modular design platform unique in today’s market, according to the company. The customisable hammer is available in 19 variants specific to mining, quarrying, water well drilling and geotechnical drilling.

To highlight Epiroc’s commitment to continued customer support, it will showcase several aftermarket products at MINExpo 2021.

Electrification solutions from Epiroc support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles, with several products and services in the battery field:

  • The Epiroc battery system is designed with modularity and safety in mind, ensuring each individual part of the battery can be monitored and controlled separately;
  • Batteries as a Service eliminates the risks of owning batteries and the solution provides all the benefits of electrical power;
  • Battery conversion kits from Epiroc will speed up the switch from diesel-powered equipment to battery-electric vehicles;
  • The electrification offering from Epiroc also includes a wide range of charging products; and
  • With the recent acquisition of Meglab, Epiroc has strengthened its capacity to provide customers with the infrastructure required as mines transition to BEV.

Apart from the electrification offering, Epiroc will display service products, upgrades and programs, including the COP MD20 hydraulic rock drill and programs in the areas of “Remanufacturing and Live Work Elimination”.

During MINExpo 2021, Epiroc will showcase automation and information management solutions as part of its 6th Sense capabilities. 6th Sense is Epiroc’s answer to the mining and construction industries need for digitalisation as an enabler for safety and productivity gains.

Epiroc prepared for more order records after strong Q2

Record orders received, high revenue growth and improved profitability were all part of Epiroc’s June quarter financial results as the OEM also made significant headway on its diesel-to-battery-electric retrofit plan to help electrify the mining sector.

Orders received increased 37% to a record high of SEK11.07 billion ($1.27 billion). This corresponds to 45% organic growth compared with the June quarter of 2020, the company said, noting that the 2020 three-month period was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within this, equipment had the highest organic order growth of 76%, supported by a few large orders, such as an underground mining equipment order from Mexican contractor CoMinVi for use at several mines throughout the country.

The aftermarket also had a strong development, with organic growth of 26% for service and 42% for Tools & Attachments, Epiroc noted.

On the electrification front, Epiroc also highlighted that the June quarter had seen the company win several orders for battery-electric equipment, including one from Ivanplats for the Platreef project in South Africa, while receiving the first orders for its diesel-to-battery retrofit solution. The latter is starting with the conversion of diesel ST1030 loaders to battery-electric versions.

Revenues increased 15% to SEK9.733 billion in the June quarter, while operating profit and operating margin rose 54% and 22.4% to SEK2.182 billion and 22.4%, respectively.

The period was also characterised by several acquisitions, including the purchase of Australia-based Kinetic Logging Services, Canada-based 3D-P, and South Africa-based MineRP. Chile-based Mining TAG and Meglab, based in Canada, also came into the Epiroc fold in earlier July.

Speaking to IM just after the results came out, Helena Hedblom, Epiroc President and CEO, said the company had seen the automation, digitalisation and electrification trends observed across industry accelerate in these regions, among others, since the emergence of COVID-19.

“We see that different regions are ahead in terms of different capabilities,” she said. “We have seen a lot around digitalisation and automation in Australia, and, in Canada, when it comes to electrification, there are a lot of things happening. South Africa is strong when it comes to software and, on top of that, there are some regional players serving the sector like Mining TAG.

“We, as Epiroc, can come with our global footprint and help these regional players go abroad and roll out the technology on a global level.”

These acquisitions have seen the company’s staffing contingent swell in the last year. At the end of June, Epiroc said it had 14,569 employees across the globe, compared with 13,967 a year earlier, tied mainly to these acquisitions. Indeed, the three companies acquired during the June quarter came with 430 employees in total.

At the end of 2019, prior to the global onset of the pandemic, Epiroc had 14,268 employees on its books.

While Hedblom acknowledged much of the staffing increase was on the back of acquisitions, she did say the company was ramping-up additional workforce in “manufacturing, in supply chain and in service”.

And looking back to the rationalisation carried out across the company during the height of COVID-19 worries – which saw a notice of termination provided to 425 employees in Sweden and the consolidation of the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada – Hedblom said the company had since repositioned itself for the type of growth it was now experiencing.

“When we did the correction last year, we addressed a lot related to, mainly, admin and back office. With these acquisitions coming on board, of course, the majority of employees are technology-related people…software developers and service people to manage the technology out in the field.”

And, lastly, when it comes to the capacity to keeping up with record orders, Hedblom said: “We have a very flexible manufacturing setup where we do the final assembly, in house, and a lot of the pre-assembly is done by some external suppliers. That is how we are – and have always – managed swings in order volumes.

“We can also add more capacity if needed in our assembly lines. We are not regionally limited there; being able to use the different facilities we have in both the US and Sweden, in addition to China and India. We can balance that demand between the sites.”

Epiroc to acquire Meglab as part of battery-electric mining equipment push

Epiroc has agreed to acquire Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, as it looks to further support mining customers in their transition to battery-electric vehicles.

Meglab, based in Val-D’Or, Quebec, Canada, is a technology integrator that designs, manufactures, installs and supports practical and cost-effective electrification and telecommunications infrastructure solutions to customers in several countries. Its products and solutions include system design, substations, switchgears and automation system solutions, enabling the infrastructure needed for mine electrification and equipment charging solutions, as well as for digitalisation and automation of operations, Epiroc says. It has more than 240 employees and had revenues in 2020 of about C$49 million ($39 million).

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Epiroc is proud to be the leader in providing battery-electric vehicles for the mining industry, improving customers’ work environment and lowering their emissions while increasing their productivity. The acquisition of Meglab will strengthen our capacity to provide the infrastructure required as mines transition to battery-electric vehicles.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the June quarter, with the purchase price not material relative to Epiroc’s market capitalisation, the mining OEM said. The business will become part of Epiroc’s Parts & Services division and will continue to be based in Canada.

In a separate release, Meglab said the two comapanies collective goal is to develop the mine of the future, with the organisations pooling its respective assets and expertise in pursuit of this target.

“Together, we will position ourselves as the leaders of all-electric and intelligent mines,” it said. “This synergy will provide various growth opportunities worldwide, both for Meglab and for the team members that will collaborate with their co-workers in this new expanded team.”

Meglab goes remote with new flexible MicroGuide system

Quebec-based Meglab says it has launched a versatile remote operation system for mobile machines that can adapt to any type of vehicle.

The company’s research and development (R&D) team has, for many months, been working on the manufacturing of this remote operation system. The challenge – as the team saw it – was to build on one of its existing products, the MicroGuide™, which already supports short distance remote operation, and adapt it to allow remote operation over a longer distance or from the surface.

“Our workshop tests were conclusive and our real-world testing of the prototype in an underground mining operation at the Beaufor mine (owned by Monarch Mining Corp) confirmed that the product was ready for production,” Roger Ouellet, R&D Manager at Meglab, said.

What sets Meglab’s technology apart is the ability to customise the system according to each mine’s preferences, or according to the type of vehicle used, the company said.

Ouellet explained: “We tested the prototype on a Caterpillar-branded LHD owned by the mine. However, the MicroGuide Pro Surface Edition can be installed on any brand of vehicle. Also of interest is the wide range of joystick options available to control the machine.”

The pandemic is accelerating the adoption of remote operation by encouraging a reduction in the number of workers on mining sites, Meglab says. The MicroGuide Pro Surface Edition offers the ability to operate from anywhere, as long as broadband connectivity is available.

Kim Valade, General Manager at Meglab, said: “We have already started discussions with companies that want to expand their use of remote operations. This certainly increases the efficiency of operations, but the greatest area of impact we are seeing is on the safety of workers. Risks are reduced when workers can operate from the surface, or even simply from a greater distance underground.”

The MicroGuide Pro Surface Edition has several safety features, including a barrier system that shuts off the vehicle engine when a potential hazard is detected. The system works on existing telecommunication networks installed in the mines, provided they are powerful enough.

Valade added: “Our specialists can audit and analyse existing telecommunication networks. They can also make recommendations and/or install new infrastructures to ensure that customers can fully benefit from the MicroGuide Pro Surface Edition’s many features.”

The company concluded: “Today, mining companies are rapidly developing and adapting their processes to provide added value such as real-time decision making, increased travelling efficiency and greater worker safety. The implementation of remote operation with the MicroGuide Pro Surface Edition contributes to the successful achievement of these objectives.”

Meglab extends its mine network reach with Rajant partnership

Meglab says it has extended its mining telecommunications service offering through a new partnership agreement with Rajant Corp.

Underground telecommunication is one of the main areas of Meglab’s expertise. With the addition of the Rajant connectivity solution for open-pit mines, the mining industry telecommunications needs can now be fully met, Meglab says.

Rajant provides fully mobile, mission-critical data, video, and voice communications networking for open-pit mines as well as underground mining.

Meglab explains: “As the shape, depth, and configuration of mines are continually changing during the extraction of ore, the mining equipment and infrastructure must be moved, which means network coverage must adapt also.

“Rajant provides Kinetic Mesh®, a wireless network that autonomously adapts to operational and environmental changes. The unique nature of their networking architecture allows open-pit and underground operations to easily introduce, relocate, or remove network infrastructure – without causing any network downtime – to deliver highly adaptable coverage and continuous connectivity.”

Kim Valade, VP Sales for Meglab, said: “We are proud to work with Rajant. The reliability of their products meets the highest quality standards. As integrators, we are a one-stop-shop that offers installation and commissioning of a complete telecommunications solution, from underground to surface.”

Darrell Gillis, Rajant Sales Director – Canada, said: “Rajant welcomes Meglab as a channel partner servicing the mining industry. Open-pit and underground mines, like many industrial environments, depend on autonomous mobility for improved efficiency, safety, and profitability. Our BreadCrumb® nodes can be mobile, and create a mesh between stationary and moving equipment, working peer-to-peer to form a multi-radio Kinetic Mesh network.

“These nodes can be deployed on fixed infrastructure or moving assets, such as trucks and loaders, uniquely enabling vehicle-to-vehicle communications between mobile equipment.”