Tag Archives: underground trucks

South32 adds Cat AD63 to Cannington underground trucking fleet

Last month, Cat dealer Hastings Deering sent out the world’s first AD63 truck to South32’s Cannington silver-lead mine in Queensland, Australia.

With a 63 t payload, the AD63 is the largest underground truck in the Cat product line, and comes with best in class speed on grade, according to Hastings Deering.

Joe Russell, South32 Cannington Vice President Operations, told IM that since taking delivery of the articulated truck from Caterpillar, via Hastings Deering, the company had started work on tailoring the vehicle to the mine’s specific requirements.

“Once the truck enters full operation, it will replace an older vehicle in our fleet,” Russell said. “The AD63 will be used in conjunction with the rest of the underground trucking fleet to move material to various locations within the South32 Cannington mine site.”

Russell highlighted the vehicle’s Euro Stage V Cat C27 diesel engine when reflecting on the recent fleet addition.

“The AD63’s engine specifications will help us to further reduce emissions, resulting in good outcomes for the environment and underground air quality,” he said.

Released in April, the AD63 features a 5% increased payload and more torque for enhanced production capabilities compared with its predecessor, the AD60, Cat says.

Additional new features enhance operator ergonomics, maintenance access and safety, and data collection for machine health monitoring, according to the OEM.

South32’s Cannington underground mine produces about 3 Mt/y of ore.

Sandvik trialling Stage V engine technology at Boliden’s Tara mine

Sandvik is continuing its sustainability drive, announcing that it is trialling its first Stage V compliant underground truck at the Boliden-owned Tara zinc mine in Ireland.

The company, in December 2019, launched its first Stage V compliant underground LHDs for hard-rock mining applications following extensive testing. Back then, it said its newest intelligent loaders, the Sandvik LH517i and Sandvik LH621i, would receive the Stage V treatment in early 2020.

Now, Sandvik’s flagship truck, the TH663i, equipped with brand new Stage V Volvo Penta engine technology, is undergoing an extensive field trial period at Tara, allowing the company to obtain first-hand customer feedback on its technical and operational performance. Sandvik said this was “an integral part of Sandvik’s way of working and customer-focused mindset”.

The Stage V engine in the 63 t truck is expected to deliver lower emissions, contributing to reduced mine ventilation rates.

“Designed to fit seamlessly together with the truck and to perform specifically in underground use, the engine system includes built-in fire prevention solutions, increased wiring protection with shrink mesh wiring harness and electric hardware that is specifically designed for demanding conditions, with corrosion, heat and water resistance,” it said. “The new Stage V, requiring ultra-low sulphur fuel and low-ash engine oil to operate, will be an optional engine for the TH663i.”

To reduce particle emissions in the lower Stages/Tiers, standard engines on both the TH663i and TH551i trucks can be equipped with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), according to Sandvik. The company explained: “Based on studies conducted, the optional sintered metal DPF reduces particle mass by approximately 99%. From a reliability and maintenance viewpoint, the DPF is well protected but still designed for easy cleaning to reduce downtime and operating costs. The DPF is also available as retrofit kit.”

Pia Sundberg, Product Line Manager for Trucks at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says thorough field tests are valuable to both the OEM and customer: “We want to allow enough time for sufficient testing of new technology, since it is of benefit to both sides.

“Possible hiccups that can often occur when developing something new are identified prior to the product being fully commercialised, which enables us to serve our customers better in the long run.

“Based on the feedback that we receive, we are still able to do some modifications if necessary and thereby make sure that the TH663i meets expectations when it is released to the market with the latest engine technology at a later stage. Of course, there is also some additional new technology on the test truck that we are testing at the same time.”

The TH663i also benefits from the recent improvements in Sandvik’s AutoMine® offering, as AutoMine for Trucks now enables autonomous truck haulage not only underground but also on the surface.

Sandvik said interesting glimpses into the company’s future truck offering have also been seen in Australia, where the Artisan Z50 battery truck from Sandvik carried out an extensive tour in early 2020 and gathered customer feedback for the new upcoming battery generation.

The company has also recently deployed a Z50 into Barrick Gold’s Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine, in Nevada.

Sandvik ramps up Automine truck automation efforts

Sandvik says it has released a new solution that will allow automated underground trucks to continue seamlessly through ramp portals to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.

Having offered a sneak peek of this product at the Digitalization in Mining event in Brisbane, Australia, in December, the company has now gone public with the launch.

AutoMine® for Trucks is a first for autonomous ramp haulage applications in the underground mining industry, providing autonomous truck haulage not only in underground environments but also now on the surface, according to the company. “It turns Sandvik’s intelligent mining trucks into unmanned robots; robots that keep running,” Sandvik said.

For many years, mining operations across the world have benefitted from Sandvik’s intelligent AutoMine systems for autonomous and unmanned truck haulage. “They help to reduce equipment damage, repair work and add the highest levels of efficiency and fleet utilisation, giving a lower cost per tonne,” the company says. They are scalable for different mining applications and can be supervised from remote locations.

Riku Pulli, Vice President, BU Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Continuously setting the industry standard, we have now developed the industry-first, fully autonomous underground trucks that can operate in mining levels and mine declines including both underground and surface sections. These trucks are set to revolutionise the mining industry, bringing significant improvements in mine’s productivity and safety.”

A key requirement for an autonomous ramp haulage application is to enable the capability for trucks to operate autonomously not only underground but also on the surface. With this product release, Sandvik has unlocked this capability for its customers, it says.

The different elements of the newly added capabilities have been tested at many of mine sites with existing experience of AutoMine for Trucks, a Sandvik spokesperson confirmed.

A core innovation behind the new capability is the smart handover technology that allows trucks to switch from underground to surface navigation mode in real time. This allows trucks to continue through the ramp portal seamlessly to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.

AutoMine also connects directly to Sandvik OptiMine®, enabling production planning and automatic dispatching of tasks to AutoMine for production execution, according to Sandvik. The progress of production tasks is reported back to OptiMine giving mines real-time visibility of their automated and manual operations and enabling them to make informed decisions on their operation.

Other benefits of OptiMine include equipment and people location tracking, 3D mine visualisation and predictive analytics to transform data into actionable insights. Integration with My Sandvik Productivity allows mines to keep track of their trucks’ condition and know the real-time status of the fleet, the company says.

RCT fuel cap protection system finds its way to Northern Territory gold mine

RCT has recently completed a project to install its fuel cap protection system at an underground mine in a remote part of the Northern Territory in Australia.

The gold mine’s fleet of 17 Epiroc MT6020 underground haul trucks are now equipped with RCT’s Muirhead® Fuel Cap Isolation system, which has been devised to prevent incidents when refuelling.

This protection system helps clients eliminate damage to refuelling bays and save money in downtime costs associated with operators accidentally driving off with the nozzle still attached, according to RCT.

“The implementation of the Fuel Cap Isolation system is just another way of safeguarding operators,” the company said.