Last month, Cavotec, a company that designs and delivers connection and electrification solutions to enable the decarbonisation of ports and industrial applications, secured an order that, it says, signals its entry into industrial battery charging for heavy-duty vehicles.
The order in question, valued at over €3 million ($3.2 million), related to the supply of a proof-of-concept battery charging system for a leading green energy technology company to enable high-voltage charging of electrically powered heavy-duty mining trucks at a mining application in Australia. The project was expected to be delivered from the beginning of 2023, it said.
So excited by this proof-of-concept work, Cavotec went as far as saying the order and its work on the order could open a market that is estimated to be worth several hundred million euros in the coming years.
While a battery connection and charging system for mining represents new territory for Cavotec, the company name is not new to mining.
Its electrification, power distribution and automation systems have been employed by the likes of BHP, Codelco, Pilbara Minerals, Rio Tinto and Vale, among others. It has also worked with OEMs such as Epiroc, Caterpillar, FAM, FLSmidth, Joy Global (Komatsu), TAKRAF, thyssenkrupp, Sandvik, Aumund Group, Caterpillar, Normet (Spraymec pictured above) and Metso Outotec, among others, on developing solutions.
And, added to this, the company already has experience with fast, high-power charging solutions for marine applications.
IM touched base with Memed Üzel, Chief Commercial Officer of Cavotec, to find out how the company is combining all this experience to deliver on the project brief.
IM: How are you adapting your fast, high-power charging marine solutions for a heavy-duty mining truck application? What similarities are there between the two applications from a charging perspective?
MU: The similarity between the two is the requirement for providing a reliable, high-power, high-speed connection, where we have gained a lot of experience in the last few years from our marine applications. Our connection solutions are always designed and manufactured with harsh conditions in mind. Our connectors operate in a wide variety of temperature and humidity levels while ensuring serviceability and easy maintenance.
Unlike consumer applications for electrical automobiles, the Cavotec connectors in industrial and marine applications are made to be used many times a day reliably throughout their lifetime while ensuring a secure connection on the first try. On the charging side, we have the ability to use both a proprietary and a standard interface to communicate with the vehicle’s battery from the first connection to the end of the charging cycle.
IM: How will your existing experience in mining with electrification, power distribution and automation systems enable you to adapt the marine solutions for mining?
MU: Cavotec relies on decades of experience of providing electrification, power distribution and automation systems in mining. Mastering mining equipment specification and requirements make Cavotec the one-stop shop solution provider for all mining equipment OEMs.
IM: Can you explain some of the details behind the architecture around this proof-of-concept system? Is it charged via cable, overhead, etc? What size battery will it be charging? What are the expectations around charging time and power rating?
MU: The details of the final solution will be revealed at launch. For now, we cannot comment on the details of the technical solution. We will make an official reveal announcement jointly with the customer at that time.
IM: Are you working directly with the mining company, the OEM or the systems integrator on this project? Is it a client you have worked with before?
MU: As we are bound by confidentiality at this stage of the project, we cannot comment on this just yet. In general, depending on the industry and the application, we tend to work with OEMs, system integrators or end-users.
IM: Is this the only battery charging mining project you are currently working on? Are you working on any underground projects, for instance? Again, is this with OEMs or mining companies directly?
MU: Cavotec is active in a wide variety of industrial applications, including mining. We have seen the interest increasing rapidly for industrial charging projects.