Tag Archives: Murray Engineering

Siemens Australia and Murray Engineering collaborate on electric vehicle charging units

Siemens Australia and Murray Engineering have partnered to, the companies say, provide “holistic” underground electric charging stations for mines.

The two have developed a ground-breaking high-powered electric vehicle charging station for use at mines both below and above ground.

The vehicle-agnostic charging stations will first be used to power a new light electric vehicle (eLV) being designed and manufactured by underground mining specialist, Murray Engineering, providing a fully-enclosed solution specifically designed to handle the toughest underground mining conditions in Australia.

The first of Murray Engineering’s eLVs will be ready for testing by the end of the year, with potential application at mine sites by mid-2021, according to the companies. Murray Engineering has the scale and access to test the solution through its parent company and underground mining contractor, the Byrnecut Group, which also owns one of the largest fleets of light vehicles used in mines.

Siemens will provide its Sicharge UC high power DC chargers, which provide a flexible output range from 125-600 kW with five frontends on each station as well as pantograph charging. Siemens Sicharge UC200 can deliver 200 kW and is already on-site at Murray Engineering headquarters in Pinjarra, Western Australia. The flexible high-power range of Siemens Sicharge UC portfolio enables the charging stations to scale for light, medium and heavy vehicles, it said.

Murray Engineering, which owns and operates a large fleet of light vehicles in its own right and integrates mine specification to over 100 vehicles annually, will design and fabricate a heavy-duty enclosure to protect the unit from the harsh underground conditions and enable ease of manoeuvrability. The enclosures will be air conditioned to protect the chargers and will have human machine interface panels on the outside to control the unit, Murray said. These high-powered units will allow vehicles to be fully charged in minutes (rather than hours), according to the companies.

Siemens Australia Pacific CEO, Jeff Connolly, welcomed the partnership, saying: “Since 1872, Siemens has been implementing globally renowned technologies to help Australian industry progress. This partnership will continue our trajectory of bringing the best in the world to the region and helping provide safer, quicker, more cost effective and sustainable solutions.”

Dr Max Ong, Innovation & Technology Manager at Murray Engineering, said: “Existing battery and charging solutions have fallen short of miners’ expectations where it matters most. Their commitment to cleaner, healthier and sustainable energy requires that the technology delivers equal benefits to productivity, safety and efficiency.

“Through Murray’s experience and technology capabilities, our fast-charging vehicles and infrastructure will deliver those benefits, whilst enhancing asset value and through-life cost. Being part of the largest underground mining contracting company in Australia, we understand the vehicle requirements very well and are well placed to develop a solution that not only matches, but also pre-empts, the needs of our customers and the industry.”

Dr Ong added: “Many existing electric vehicles designed for mining are matched to their own specific charging station, making the solution inefficient and expensive in the long run. The solution we are working on will be vehicle agnostic and has the potential to be scaled up as required. The importance of local manufacturing on Australian soil has never been so important.”

Full speed ahead for Wiluna Mining sulphide gold project

Wiluna Mining’s board has approved the staged development of its sulphide project at the Wiluna gold operation in Western Australia, enlisting GR Engineering Services to build the 750,000 t/y concentrator required to process the ore.

The development will see the company transition from its current production profile of producing 62,000 oz/y from mining free milling ore through the current 2.1 Mt/y carbon-in-leach processing facility, initially producing 100,000-120,000 oz/y of gold and gold in concentrate.

This will be implemented using the current, recently refurbished crushing circuit, the previously expanded mill circuit and a new 750,000 t/y concentrator by October 2021, the company said. This forms Stage 1 of the project. Wiluna then intends to increase production of gold and gold in concentrate by, at a minimum, doubling the mining rate and the concentrator to produce circa-250,000 oz/y by the end of 2023/early 2024. This is Stage 2.

Of the A$81 million ($58 million) capital cost estimate of the sulphide project, of which around A$20 million has already been committed, the concentrator is expected to cost A$26 million, pre-production underground mine activities/infrastructure development is estimated at A$37 million, drilling comes in at A$9 million and the feasibility study had a A$2 million price tag. A 10% contingency of A$7 million was also calculated.

Wiluna said Murray Engineering has been contracted to supply and maintain mine fleet for current production associated development and stoping, while Byrnecut Contractors have been engaged to provide equipment and personnel for existing development rehabilitation and new development for resource-reserve drill out programs and production from new mine areas.

To complement the current equipment and development work, the first development crew from Byrnecut is expected to be mobilised in the December quarter with further development crews to be mobilised during June 2021 to maintain the required work program, the company said.

GR Engineering has been appointed as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor by Wiluna for Stage 1 works relating to the concentrator development, the engineering firm said, adding that it expects to commence work in early December with commissioning scheduled for October 2021.

Hard-Line goes global with Murray Engineering partnership

A technology partnership between Murray Engineering, part of the Byrnecut mining services group, and Canada-based heavy-machine control and automation specialist Hard-Line, has been formally launched, with Murray now providing support for Hard-Line products in Australasia, Africa and the Middle East.

Established by former underground mine heavy equipment mechanic Walter Siggelkow in 1996, Hard-Line has worked with some of the world’s top mining companies to deliver safe, reliable equipment control solutions.

Today the company has more than 130 employees working mainly across the Americas to support Siggelkow’s ‘boots on the ground’ approach to developing and supplying advanced control technology.

Siggelkow said: “That is partly why we have partnered with Murray Engineering. We prefer to have that direct, local presence and Murray certainly provides that for us now in territories where we have not had it before.”

Murray Engineering has a nationwide presence in Australia and recently established an offshore base in Mongolia (Murray Mining Services Mongolia). Through its connection with Byrnecut, it has provided services in Africa and Europe.

As a leading underground mining contractor in the large Australian hard-rock market, and also in sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world, Byrnecut has been applying modern remote control and teleremote control systems as it continues to set new standards in mine safety and productivity.

Murray Engineering managing director Craig Lindsay-Rae said the development and application of technology is a laudable milestone achieved by many companies, but few sustain their leadership through good support.

Lindsay-Rae said: “With automation being applied to our systems across many continents and the successful operations of the mines being dependent on this technology, the support from the technology developer is paramount. Our technology partner clearly differentiates in this area, providing at-the-face engineering.”

He added that it was “refreshing” to work with a partner that recognises the application of technology is not “homogeneous and has adapted programmes according to different geographical locations”.

Hard-Line has sustained a strong focus on hardware and software R&D to build its technology business. It has completed automation, tele-operation and radio remote control projects involving drills, trucks, rock breakers, LHDs, dozers, trains and a range of utility and specialised machines. Siggelkow said: “Hard-Line’s flexibility has always been a differentiator. We are the manufacturer of the technology; we do all the design, software development and R&D. It gives us the ability to customise the technology to suit our customer’s specific needs, and production goals.

“We train their people to optimise the use of the technology, to increase throughput, safely and efficiently, and increase asset utilisation.”

He said the company had also looked to work as a technology partner with other businesses, to provide them with a reliable product but also participate in the transfer of maintenance, troubleshooting, etc knowledge to their personnel.

“Continuous improvement of the technology has come from face-to-face meetings with end-users to ensure we are able to achieve their results and goals.”

Murray Engineering automation and control manager George Priest said Hard-Line’s products are robust, easy to use, and original-equipment agnostic.

The Canada-based company’s latest Teleop Auto system delivers 2D and 3D views, with ‘real-time’ operator control achievable when the system is coupled to fibre or standard Wi-Fi communication networks.

Priest says with such networks in place, the Hard-Line system provides autonomous, semi-autonomous and remote operating capabilities.

“It is a non-brand specific, non-machine specific system that delivers maximum operating transparency, and no programmatic restrictions for us as the product support group,” he said.

“Many systems are programmable and restricted; components cannot be different brands. Hard-Line provides a distinct advantage there.”

A 3D viewing station and optics deliver high resolution data and mapping images, with “3D localisation under all operating conditions”, he said. This is optimised with the aid of Hard-Line’s 3D scanning technology.

Siggelkow said low latency continues to be a problem in underground mine machine control, particularly where the video element is added for tele-operation, and/or semi-autonomous or autonomous operation is in play.

“Imagine driving a car and turning the wheel, but the car doesn’t move until one or two seconds after the action was taken,” he said.“It’s noticeable. With our system having almost no operating latency, your eyes don’t even notice the delay. With close-to-real-time video feeds and feedback, operations and users can implement short-interval control measures to address issues during the shift, rather than at the end of shift.”

Murray Engineering’s Lindsay-Rae said the company’s partner selection process involved thorough due diligence.

Hard-Line’s investment in cutting-edge 3D technology as the basis of system control, plus its investment in in-house manufacturing of printed circuit boards, were key elements that made it a standout, he said.

Hard-Line has worked with partners, such as Murray Engineering, to ensure its products meet all local regulations and standards, Siggelkow said.

“We are excited about this partnership,” he said. “The company and its internal R&D team have been collaborating with a range of parties on the next generation of advanced control systems for mining. We will continue to work with the industry and our partners to ensure a safe and productive work environment.”