Tag Archives: mining excavators

Berco on the latest innovations in mining undercarriage solutions

Berco, part of the thyssenkrupp Forged Technologies Business Unit, is continuing to innovate within the undercarriage component market segment, with Francesco Grenzi, Executive Director of R&D, talking up some of the company’s most recent solutions for demanding applications like mining.

With over 100 years of experience and expertise in the industry, Berco says it manufactures and supplies undercarriage components to the world’s leading heavy machinery OEMs and to the aftermarket.

“Universally renowned for the very high quality of its products, Berco’s reputation is further bolstered by its dedication to providing tailor-made and innovative solutions for applications that operate in both unique and extreme conditions,” Grenzi says.

A recent challenge for Berco has been that of extending the number of hours of its mining excavator application.

“Because of the work efficiency of the most advanced mining excavators, as well as the extremely different working modes used in the open-pit mines, the goal of achieving 20,000 maintenance-free hours was indeed a difficult one,” Grenzi said.

The traveling rate of an undercarriage is also something that can significantly vary between applications. When blasting is being carried out, for example, the heavy machinery will naturally be evacuated from the area before detonation. In situations such as this, the use of carburised bushings is recommended to reduce the speed of wear.

For applications that do not travel frequently, however, undercarriage parts are still often subjected to wear. Continuous hammering of the front shovel, for example, may not lead to quick wear of the bushings, but can cause other side effects such as cracks on bushings.

Berco’s solution in this case was to use both quenched and tempered, and induction hardening and tempering bushings, as well as a quenched and tempered steel with boron to increase hardenability. These specially produced bushings deliver even more added value when fitted on reinforced chains, Grenzi said.

This solution, which is designed for heavy application such as for track chains used on 200-400 t machines, provides high resistance to wear as well as outstanding resistance to impact, according to Grenzi. Being capable of achieving up to 20,000 hours of use in the field, it ultimately reduces ownership and undercarriage costs. Since November 2020, they have been fitted as original equipment on two of the machines the manufacturer has built to perform in Russia’s most extreme environments.

While heavy machinery manufacturers look to Berco for tailor-made solutions, the company goes one step further by placing a large emphasis on R&D to anticipate solutions that are ever-more innovative, Grenzi says. An example of this is the use of ‘rotoforged’ steel in the production of rollers for very demanding mining applications.

This pioneering process will bring significant benefits to machines that have a huge load transfer in their working times, such as mining excavators that weigh above 200 t. For applications of this size and even heavier (350-400 t), the rollers are under pressure as they take all of the inertia of the vehicle. This means that the rollers need to be made of “perfect steel”, which is why the ‘rotoforging’ process is ideal, according to Grenzi.

Steel that has undergone this heat treatment process acquires a high microstructure and compactness, to such an extent it is able to achieve toughness values double those of conventional steel, he said. Continuous casting steel is usually rolled. Rolled steel that undergoes the new ‘rotoforging’ process has its microstructure transformed down to the core, resulting in a much stronger and tougher structure.

“For this reason, rollers made from ‘rotoforged’ steel are suitable for machines which must operate in the most demanding environments around the globe,” Grenzi said. “They offer a very high level of reliability of between 15,000-20,000 hours. This innovation is now ready to enter production.”

National Group ups the excavating ante at NSW gold mine with Liebherr R 9200

National Group, through National Plant & Equipment, has supplied a Liebherr R 9200 excavator to an open-pit gold mine in western New South Wales, Australia.

The Liebherr R 9200 offers the biggest payload in its class with the 12.5 cu.m bucket capacity enabling sustainable performance and peak fuel burn efficiency in the most challenging conditions, according to the OEM.

Equipped with a Cummins QSK38 engine, with a rating of 810 kW at 1,800 revolutions per minute, the R 9200 is available powered by both diesel and electric motors. It can also be fitted with backhoe and face shovel attachments.

National Group Managing Director, Mark Ackroyd, said the arrival of the Liebherr R 9200 had further diversified the company’s already impressive fleet of equipment.

“The feedback from site is that the Liebherr R 9200 has been very well received,” Ackroyd told Australian Mining. “Our customers have been impressed with the performance of the Liebherr R 9200; it’s a very good machine and is competitive with other machines of a similar size and type.”

National Group is known across Australia for its dry hire of heavy earthmoving equipment. Working alongside Liebherr, it selected the R 9200 excavator for site, applying the joint understanding of the mine, the work being completed there and previous success using Liebherr equipment.

Liebherr-Australia Major Account Manager, Ben Kerr, explained: “Liebherr’s relationship with National, and understanding of the gold mine site requirements, allowed us to put forward the appropriate sized excavator and tailored bucket size to suit both National’s and site’s requirements.

“The addition of this R 9200 to National’s fleet further expands their range of mining equipment, building on the strong relationship and ease of doing business between the two companies.”

Customised Uralmashplant electric excavator goes to work at East Mining’s Solntsevsky coal mine

An excavator manufactured by Uralmashplant (Ekaterinburg) and customised by East Mining Co has been put into operation at the Solntsevsky coal mine in Sakhalin, Russia, the miner says.

The EKG-20 excavator is designed to excavate overburden in the mine, according to East Mining, and is paired with 220-ton capacity Belaz dump trucks.

“The special feature of this excavator, as compared with the similar models, is a modified bucket capacity,” the company said, adding that the capacity was increased from standard 20 cu.m to 22 cu.m.

This is the 21st excavator to go into operation at Solntsevsky, but it is the first homemade electric excavator, East Mining said.

The company previously purchased and used electrohydraulic excavators from manufacturers in Japan and Germany, but the serial manufacturing of the EKG-20 started nearly three years ago.

“Not only it is similar in performance with foreign alternatives, but also provides a more cost-effective excavation,” the company said. “The machinery is 95% made of Russian components, equipped with a modern AC drive, information management system, detection system for assemblies and mechanisms, workflow parameters checkout system.”

Igor Kovach, the Director of Solntsevsky coal mine, said: “The excavator is wholly-electric. The use of AC drive considerably decreases machine operation expenses. Moreover, the life cycle of EKG-20 is 20 years, while the lifecycle of electrohydraulic excavators is seven years. All this has a positive impact on the corporate economics: according to our estimates, this excavator, as compared with electrohydraulic machines, allows us to reduce excavation of 1 cu.m of overburden two-to-three times.”

The excavator is 18 m tall, over 30 m wide and weighs around 750 tons (680 t). Today, is it the biggest open-mine machine in Sakhalin.

The assembly of excavation equipment was made at the coal mine by the manufacturing company representatives and local specialists.


Komatsu PC3000-6 excavator finds its way to Banks Mining’s Bradley coal mine

Banks Mining says it has made a six-figure (£) equipment investment at its Bradley open-pit coal mine in County Durham, UK.

The firm has acquired a Komatsu PC3000-6 excavator for use at the Bradley site, following the good service of a similar machine at its Shotton open-pit coal mine in Northumberland, also in the UK.

The 254-t excavator had previously been operating at the Hinkley Point nuclear power station development site in Somerset, UK, before being moved to Banks Mining’s depot at Thrislington in County Durham, and then taken the 23 miles (37 km) to the Bradley site to be rebuilt by a pair of 200-t cranes.

“In line with The Banks Group’s ‘development with care’ approach, the excavator uses a single V12 engine, which is a similar power output to that of rival twin-engine machines while using less fuel,” the company said.

Komatsu has recruited a locally-based service engineer to be based permanently on site and has also placed a stock of consumable parts at Bradley to ensure the excavator is kept working for the maximum time possible, according to Banks Mining.

“Forty-one jobs are being directly supported at the Bradley site, alongside others in the local supply chain, and the coal that has so far been produced has been supplied to a number of Banks Mining’s industrial customers around the UK,” the company said.

The family-owned firm recently announced plans to extract around 100,000 t of high-quality coal for supply to UK industrial customers from land to the west of the Bradley site, which it is aiming to complete within the same timescale to which the existing site is operating.

Robbie Bentham (pictured), Plant Director at Banks Mining, said: “Giving our highly-skilled teams, the equipment they need to work our sites in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally responsible way possible is an essential part of our overall operational strategy.

“The Komatsu excavator based at Shotton has surpassed our expectations in terms of mechanical availability and we are seeing similarly impressive results at Bradley.”

The Bradley coal operation was initially expected to recover around 500,000 t of coal over its lifetime, with completion expected in 2021.

Pon brings 26 t battery-electric excavator to Norway construction site

Pon Equipment, together with Caterpillar, has developed the world’s first battery-electric 26 t excavator, according to Norway-based construction company Veidekke.

After extensive testing with a prototype, eight machines are now in production, with the very first in use by Veidekke.

While not in the same class as mining excavators, this battery-electric machine is another example of OEMs manufacturing diesel alternatives with increasingly larger payloads and batteries.

Veidekke’s Knut Egge said in a press release (translated from Norwegian) that the company wanted to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, increase its competitiveness, adding that the new excavator would save some 52 t/y of CO2 emissions compared with the diesel alternative.

The rechargeable battery-powered excavator is a remodeled Caterpillar 323F Z-line used for the loading of trucks, Veidekke said.

The excavator is enabled by Danfoss’ EDITRON drivetrain, according to Tomi Ristimäki, OEM Sales Director at Danfoss EDITRON.

The machine is able to operate for up to seven hours on a single battery charge under nominal load, according to Danfoss. “The electric excavator is zero emission, and significantly quieter than the former diesel machine, which makes it ideal for use in urban areas with noise restrictions,” the company added.

EDITRON powertrain systems are rugged and compact, with smart software controls suitable for hybrid and electric applications within the power range of 30-2,000 kW, according to Danfoss.

Pon Equipment CEO, Erik Sollerud, said the company’s mechanics have been rebuilding, adapting and testing the battery-electric machines for over a year together with specialists from Caterpillar. Among other things, the engine, diesel tank, and some equipment have been replaced with electric motors, motor controllers and heavy-duty lithium batteries, he added.

Construction machinery in Norway, according to Statistics Norway, accounts for a total of 650,000 t/y of CO2 emissions.

Komatsu Australia launches updated PC4000-6 mining excavator

Komatsu Australia has released the latest version of its 370-t-class mining excavator, the PC4000-6 Series 3, delivering higher productivity, reduced maintenance costs, increased reliability and upgraded safety features, the mining OEM said.

The new excavator is based on the PC4000-11 released at MINExpo in 2016 – but incorporates a Tier 2 emissions standard engine, rather than the Tier 4 Final engine fitted to the PC4000-11.

It achieves its productivity increases through having the highest digging forces – both in backhoe and face shovel configurations – in its class, a large-capacity 23 cu m backhoe bucket (22 cu m in shovel mode) and faster cycle times through variable-speed slew motors, according to the company.

Komatsu-designed-and-manufactured hydraulic pumps contribute to lower maintenance costs through long life and easy-to-maintain design, the company added, while a simplified Komatsu control system ensures a high level of reliability.

Safety standards for both operators and maintenance crews have been improved through several upgrades, including 45° stairway access stairs and factory-fitted exit ladders.

The PC4000-6 Series 3 has an operating weight of 388-405 t (depending on configuration) and is powered by a Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 engine rated at 1,400 kW.

According to Michael Hall, Komatsu Australia’s National Product Manager, Mining, the PC4000-6 Series 3 has been specially developed to suit Australian conditions.

“Apart from the engine, the PC4000-6 Series 3 is the same as the PC4000-11 released in Las Vegas – including all the safety and technological developments it incorporated. Komatsu can now supply the latest design and technology with a Tier 2 option to Australian mines not requiring the Tier 4 PC4000-11 model,” he said.

“For that reason, we are offering this model with the well-known and proven Tier 2 compliant Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 engine for Australia. And it comes direct from the factory aligned with Australian mining requirements, so minimal modifications are required.”

Hall said Komatsu Australia brought the first PC4000-6 Series 3 to the country in the June quarter of 2018 in backhoe configuration.

“This size and configuration of excavator is a flexible loading tool option for many Australian mining operations and, with the local industry showing improved growth and activity, bringing in a stock machine is a sign of our confidence in the industry’s future,” he said.

“We see excellent potential for this model and are keen to see the advantages and improvements it delivers used in mining operations in Australia.”

Upgraded safety features are key improvements on the PC4000-6 Series 3.

The 45° access stairs allow operators and maintenance personnel much easier and safer access to the machine, including easier access to the machinery house level and to the operator’s cabin.

“Another safety advance is a new emergency egress system, incorporating emergency exits on two sides of the machine, ensuring high safety standards for all personnel on the machine,” Hall said.

A flipdown two-piece ladder, with anti-slip surfaces helps ensure quiet and safe exit from the machine in case of emergency, while the front window of the cabin is 19 mm thick impact-resistant glass, giving additional operator protection.

A new lighting system, consisting of 14 high-performance working lights using the latest LED technology, ensures significantly better visibility at night and other times of low visibility.

The excavator’s control system has been simplified and upgraded, using Komatsu controllers to reduce nodes and provide additional redundancy for improved efficiency.

“The PC4000-6 Series 3 is fitted with Komatsu’s latest KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring system, providing remote monitoring information about the machine’s performance and operating status,” Hall said.

“It also incorporates extended oil change intervals combined with easier and safer machine access, significantly reducing regular maintenance requirements.

“As well, the machine is Modular Mining’s ProVision ready, allowing it to incorporate a machine guidance system that integrates with mine planning software.

“It is also ready for MineWare’s Argus Payload System, allowing accurate, reliable payload measurements, so operators can optimise loading to required truck payloads,” he said.

In backhoe configuration, the machine has:

  • Operating weight of 394- 405 t;
  • Bucket capacity of 23 cu m;
  • Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 rated engine at 1,400 kW;
  • Arm breakout of 107,068 kg-f;
  • Bucket breakout of 117,775 kg-f;
  • Maximum dig depth of 8,000 mm.

In face shovel configuration, the machine has:

  • Operating weight of 388-400 t;
  • Bucket capacity of 22 cu m;
  • Komatsu SDA16V160E-2 rated engine at 1,400 kW;
  • Arm crowd force of 127,462 kg-f;
  • Bucket breakout force of 135,620 kg-f;
  • Maximum dump height of 12,000 mm.

Mechel testing out polymer-coated cable ropes on Russia mining excavators

Mechel’s Beloretsk Metallurgical Plant (BMP) is conducting field tests of its new polymer-coated cable ropes at Southern Kuzbass Coal’s (SKC) coal pits and Korshunov Mining Plant’s (KMP) iron ore operations, both in Russia, the company has said.

The cable ropes have already demonstrated a good enough performance for BMP to confirm it will start producing these cables on an industrial scale early in 2019.

The ropes will replace imported counterparts in the mining and oil industries, as well as engineering, bridge- and shipbuilding, Mechel said.

When field-tested on SKC’s EGK-20 excavator, a 57 mm polymer-coated cable rope worked for over six months. It has been used since February through August in temperatures ranging from -45°C to +35°C. During this time, the excavator loaded 1.04 million cubic metres of ore, with the rope’s running time more than doubling.

SKC, a subsidiary of Mechel, is still testing a 52 mm cable rope, which was installed at an EKG-12 coal-loading excavator in early July. The rope has already worked for 55 days, with an average service life of 60 days typical for uncoated ropes on this type of excavator.

“The polymer coating is still in good shape and the rope is still being used,” Mechel said.

Meanwhile, 45.5 mm cable ropes are being tested at KMP’s iron ore mines. These were installed on an EKG-8I excavator’s hoisting, thrust and recoil gear in February.

“The ropes have already worked for 183 days, running an accumulated 477,000 cu.m. This is 67% more than the running time for uncoated hoisting cables, 95% more than uncoated recoil cables and more than double…uncoated thrust cables,” Mechel said.

BMP CEO Viktor Kamelin said: “The results we received lay the groundwork for our presentation we show to both Russian mining facilities and those in the neighbouring countries. Our new products have excited interest and we already have preliminary agreements on delivery of test batches.”

The plant has been implementing a project to replace imported multi-strand cable ropes since 2015 with the support of Russia’s Industrial Development Fund and the Republic of Bashkortostan’s government.

BMP plans to produce six to 12-strand cable ropes up to 90 mm in diameter, including those with a polymer coating.