Tag Archives: utility vehicles

MacLean releases fit-for-purpose underground mine grader

With the first-ever MacLean GR5 underground road grader already shipped to Africa and additional units scheduled for factory production, the newest addition to the MacLean line of Mine-Mate™ utility vehicles, which offers up a ruggedised, high performance mobile solution for maintaining haulage ramps in optimal condition, is ready to be introduced to the mining world.

The GR5 mining vehicle is an evolution for MacLean, starting back in 2018 when the company collaborated with the specialty engineering firm, MEDATech, to retrofit a battery-electric grader for Borden Gold in northern Ontario (then owned and operated by Goldcorp). Based on the engineering and manufacturing learnings from this one-off custom project, MacLean embarked on a collaborative process to better understand the grader vehicle category, so that it could be successfully adapted from road to underground mining applications.

Working closely with road grader industry professionals from a former Canadian grader OEM with industry expertise, MacLean went back to the drawing board to develop a fit-for-purpose design for the underground environment.

“While most products in this category tend to be considered too lightweight for the work, the GR5 is purposely sized to match the tractive effort and drawbar pull of full-sized surface graders,” MacLean said. “The unit features a CAN bus control system that allows joystick control technology to be deployed for both steering and application functions simultaneously to ease operator comfort and control, while also boasting an onboard vehicle telemetry package that can monitor the performance and health of the vehicle.”

On the powertrain side, the unit can be either battery-electric or diesel-powered and comes equipped standard with a six-wheel infinitely adjustable drive system using dual hydrostatic motors and active traction control, the company said.

Size, manoeuvrability, visibility, simplicity, and ruggedness were key design factors. As a result, the unit is similar in height to the rest of the MacLean Utility Vehicle product line, designed to work optimally in 5 m x 5 m headings. The unit’s design also includes a combination of frame articulation and front wheel-steering, which minimises its turning radius underground and its moldboard system uses a simpler design than its surface grader counterparts to ensure durability and reliability.

Dan Stern, Senior Product Manager, said: “When we designed the GR5 Grader we started from the ground-up, where we literally began with a clean slate and developed the rig using the latest in proven technologies and components. The GR5’s cab environment, for example, was developed using an Oculus Rift VR headset to map out placement of controls, verify visibility and sightlines, and ultimately get a good sense of what this rig would feel like to operate before any steel was cut.”

David Jacques, Vice President of Engineering at MacLean, added: “The product development approach on this unit is a great example of what we like to call MacLean ‘Application Intelligence’, where we take our mobile equipment engineering expertise and combine it with our knowledge of the mining environment to design units that are fit for the job they need to do underground. We truly believe we’ve ‘made the grade’ and developed a winning product that leverages our core knowledge of the underground environment and combines it with application knowledge from grader design experts to address the actual needs of the mining industry – it all comes back to our Application Intelligence.”

Maarten van Koppen, Vice President of Product Management at MacLean, said: “The state of ramps is always an important factor in a mine’s haulage performance, and it becomes even more important in the context of full-fleet electrification that mining companies around the globe are actively pursuing. I know this first-hand from my time as a Mining Engineer at Borden Gold, where I was part of the team responsible for designing and developing that project. To maximise the benefits of down-ramp energy regeneration, mines need well-maintained roadbeds, and we’ve got the solution.”

Macmahon contemplates underground shift to battery-electric utility vehicles

One of Australia’s leading contract miners, Macmahon, says it is considering the use of the battery-electric Bortana EV model for its greater underground operations in the future.

The company made the admission after announcing the arrival of two Agrale Marruá AM200 light utility vehicles for its underground mining contracts (pictured). One of these – the dual cab version – is already in use and on site at BHP’s Leinster nickel operation in Western Australia.

Originally built for the Brazilian army, Macmahon has previously trialled these Tier 4 diesel engine utility vehicles, saying they are equipped to deal with what the underground mining environment throws at them.

“With the body, doors and tray all made from galvanised steel, along with a heavy-duty chassis, these corrosion-resistant vehicles are built to withstand the harsh underground environment,” it said.

Macmahon’s previous vehicles had a lifespan of 3-5 years, and it is expecting an operating life of up to six years minimum with Marrua, predicting these AM200s could last 8-10 years.

“This means, over time, we will have reduced maintenance and run cost due to the heavy-duty driveline components,” it said.

The company added: “Looking to the future, we’re also considering the electric Bortana EV model for our greater underground operations.”

The Bortana EV, which has a chassis of a diesel-powered Agrale Marruá, electric technology from 3ME and Safescape’s design and engineering expertise, has been trialled all over Australia. This includes a stint at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine, in Victoria; a test at Mincor’s Long nickel mine, in Western Australia; and a try-out at IGO’s Nova operation, also in Western Australia.

Tembo 4×4 grants ACCÈS to Electric Cruiser in Quebec

ACCÈS is set to bring Tembo 4×4’s Electric Cruiser to the Canada mining market after the two companies recently signed a distribution agreement covering the province of Quebec.

ACCÈS became Tembo 4×4’s first international partner in 2016 when the initial prototype of its Electric Cruiser (pictured) was still on the drawing board, Tembo 4×4 said. Having launched the Electric Cruiser, Tembo 4×4 followed this up, in 2018, with the addition of the Electric HLX.

The Rouyn-Noranda-based dealer will now bring the Electric Cruiser to its clients in Quebec, many of whom come from the mining industry.

Tembo 4×4 e-LVs are available as all-wheel drive in several versions, all based on the Toyota 70 and Hilux series. The vehicles are equipped with a 65 kW electric motor with 250 Nm torque, the Netherlands-based supplier said.

“The temperature-controlled, modular and exchangeable battery provides a range of 80-100 km in proven underground use,” the company said, adding that they are designed for a service life of 15 years, or 8,000 charging cycles (80% depth of discharge), and can charge from 20-80% in two-and-a-half hours.

The electric mining utility vehicles, which are currently in use across Europe, come with on-board 15 kW charger, can reach a maximum speed of 80 km/h, and are able to negotiate inclines of up to 45°, according to Tembo 4×4.

ACCÈS is not the only distributor Tembo 4×4 has signed up for its electric vehicles in strategic mining hubs. Last year, the company signed an agreement with GHH that saw the Germany-based company offer the Electric Cruiser and Electric HLX in Germany, Turkey, Greece, Russia, India, the USA, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the CIS and Latin America.

In Australia, GB Electric Vehicles is the exclusive distributor for the Tembo 4×4 Electric Cruiser and Electric HLX.

The company also has suppliers in Saudi Arabia (FHC – Fire and Hazard Control Equipment Co Ltd), Mongolia (BODIZ INTERNATIONAL GROUP LLC) and Norway (Arctic Trucks Norway).

Kovatera looks to outperform competition with battery-powered KT200e utility vehicle

Building on its highly successful line of underground utility vehicles, Kovatera™ has released its new battery-powered KT200e.

This addition to the Kovatera line continues the rough, tough and purpose-built lineage of its diesel versions. The KT200e is not an adapted, converted or modified vehicle, however. “It is purpose-built from the ground up using advanced technology and proven components resulting in a utility vehicle that outperforms the competition in all categories,” Kovatera says.

As part of a strategy to grow domestic and international sales, Industrial Fabrication Inc (IFI) of Lively, Ontario, Canada, launched the Kovatera brand for its line of underground mine utility vehicles in late 2019.

On the latest battery-powered release, Will Gove, General Manager of Kovatera, said: “We have recognised for some time that the demand for electric underground vehicles in the marketplace will continue to increase. But we did not want to stray from the philosophy that has been at the core of our success…building equipment from the ground-up that meets the demands of the challenging underground working environment.

“And, as with previous models, these utility vehicles offer three times the economic life and twice the payload capacity of other marketplace offerings.”

The KT200e, in keeping with previous models, offers a wide range of configurations to meet customer specifications ranging from personnel carriers to specific job applications such as scissor lifts, aerial booms and wide range of options that can be bolted to the chassis, Kovatera said.

“A major consideration was to ensure that this electric vehicle’s capability matches the requirements of the customer’s needs,” Gove said. “A major feature of our battery options is to fit vehicle with a standard 44 kWh battery. With this configuration, we can offer customers a battery size and range that fits their needs without additional capital spend. If a longer range is required, we also offer a battery upgrade that doubles that range – giving the customer a range of 50-90 km between charges.”

Battery life matches or exceeds the known economic life of the unit at seven to nine years, according to the company, while charge time from dead flat is around 1.5 hours with additional optional 25 kW 600 v on-board charger.

“For customers who now use our popular UT99 diesel models, we offer a retrofit kit to economically convert them to electric,” Gove said. “Either way, the customer benefits from our tested and proven chassis, components, configuration flexibility and service longevity that have made these utility vehicles an industry standard.”

Minero Diesel to distribute TES’ SPARTA utility vehicles in Mexico

Sudbury, Ontario-based Total Equipment Services (TES) has entered into a distribution agreement that will see Minero Diesel become the exclusive distributor of SPARTA utility vehicles in Mexico.

The SPARTA product distribution range includes scissor lifts, boom trucks, ANFO loaders, lubrication trucks, as well as multi-application and custom-design support vehicles.

TES says it views the South America underground mining market as an important part of the company’s growth plan, and believes SPARTA’s simple and high-quality design is a “perfect fit for a mining market whose underground operations and focus on safety continues to grow steadily”.

TES selected Minero Diesel as a distributor for its reputation in the sales, rental and repair of equipment for underground mining, it said. Founded in 1992, Minero Diesel is known as a dedicated distributor of underground mining equipment, TES said. It is currently a distributor for Komatsu and provides parts and services to the OEM’s customers.

Kevin Whynott, President of TES, said: “We are committed to both quality products and customer support. In order to expand our footprint into Latin America, we wanted to partner with a company whose aftermarket, sales support and company trained technical support were aligned with our vision.”

AMG to distribute Getman equipment in Canada mining market

Amalgamated Mining Group (AMG) says it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement for OEM equipment and spare parts with Getman Corp.

This deal will see Alberta-headquartered AMG represent Getman in the Canada mining market “adding a prestigious utility vehicle product line to our ever-expanding portfolio”, the company said.

Getman’s underground equipment range includes production support machines, mechanical scalers, products for concrete spraying and low profile and coal equipment.

AMG added: “With over 90 years combined experience in the underground mining industry, we are now better suited to jointly provide your mining operation complete customised equipment and support solutions.”

IFI rebrands MINECAT UG utility vehicle business as it chases international growth

As part of a strategy to grow domestic and international sales, Industrial Fabrication Inc (IFI) of Lively, Ontario, Canada, has launched a new brand for its line of underground mine utility vehicles.

Formerly marketed under the MINECAT brand, the company has undertaken an extensive rebranding exercise to better reflect the company’s business strategy and entry into new markets, it said.

Moving forward the company and its product lines will be marketed under the brand name KOVATERA™, with this name continuing to reflect IFI’s expertise in manufacturing purpose-built utility vehicles made for the rigours of underground mining, it said.

Will Gove, Kovatera’s General Manager, said: “We have had great success in developing and marketing our product lines domestically here in Canada. The MINECAT brand has developed into a very respectable brand for our space in the Canadian underground mining industry.

“Additional to providing ongoing support to our domestic customer base, we are now focusing on expanding our footprint into new markets such as Australia, Mexico, South America, Europe and Eurasia,” he said. “Given our global expansion strategy, new product development and the starting of a new lean manufacturing production line this past January, our management team felt it was time to refresh our brand to reflect these initiatives.”

He continued: “Our rebranding process and research confirmed that our engineering and manufacturing point-of-difference since the company’s founding, is that we have just one mission: engineer and manufacture small footprint mine utility vehicles from the ground up, purpose-built to be the toughest, most reliable and lowest total cost of ownership machines in the category.”

Kovatera is a coined word made up of two root, according to Gove, with ‘Kova’ being a derivative of the Finnish word for tough – “reflecting both the ownership’s ethnic background and our mission to be the most reliable machine in the marketplace” – and ‘Tera’ being an abbreviated form of the Latin word for ‘Earth’ (terra).

“Combined, the name Kovatera reflects both our mission and the extreme environments we operate in,” he said.

The company’s plans for expansion don’t end there, with a new line of electric-powered vehicles based on the existing diesel-powered line in the final engineering and testing phase.

Gove said: “An important part of our future growth will be in the supply of alternate energy powered equipment to a marketplace that is increasingly interested in the benefits that these new power sources bring. Currently electric-battery powered vehicles are servicing this demand.

“In the future there may be other forms of energy that come into play. It is Kovatera’s mission to meet this market demand. We will not, however, ever compromise our promise to customers that our machines will be purpose-built to meet the heavy-duty cycle and tough operating environment of underground mines, while at the same time offering versatility, low cost of ownership and maximise machine uptime.”

BTI adds to Mine Runner utility vehicle capabilities

Breaker Technology (BTI) recently released its Extended Wheel Base (EWB) Mine Runner, a mine utility vehicle that, it says, is purpose-built for the rugged underground environment.

Offering an extended chassis and improved payloads (from 4,000-6,000 Ib (1,814-2,722 kg)), the Mine Runner is also able to keep the total cost of ownership lower than other brands, BTI said.

John Wittenberg, Product Manager at Breaker Technology, said: “High uptime and low maintenance costs are given with the hydraulic all-wheel drive. Active braking from the hydraulic circuit eliminates conventional brake and axle wear significantly, reducing the cost of ownership.”

The Mine Runner utility vehicle is powered by BTI’s Hydraulic Wheel Drive (HWD), a fluid-controlled power train, resulting in 40% more efficiency than other vehicles with a conventional power train, it says. BTI explained: “This means there are fewer parts to maintain or replace, offering a lower total cost of ownership, and contributes to the longevity of the equipment. The HWD system offers lower emissions, which also saves on ventilation and energy costs for the mine.”

The vehicle can be customised for operational demands; whether it’s a personnel carrier, utility truck or simple flat deck, an increased payload and extended chassis allow mines to move more people and supplies through the tunnel safely, BTI said.

Wittenberg added: “The higher 6,000-Ib payload and extended wheelbase maximises the usefulness of the machine by providing a multi-person, multipurpose platform for crew and gear with an unsurpassed payload and speed in a compact package.”

The Mine Runner is easy to drive with its patented Advanced Braking and Tramming technology, giving the driver traction control with an automotive-style accelerator and service brake pedal, according to BTI.

Both the primary braking (service brakes) and the secondary braking (emergency brakes) are designed and tested to meet and exceed the regional braking standard and performance for underground mining machines. The tested and independently certified ROPS/FOPS operator and personnel cabins are standard with ergonomic seating and HVAC, the company said.

BTI initially released its standard Mine Runner All Purpose Vehicle in 2014. The standard Mine Runner’s personnel carrier is designed to transport up to eight passengers but can also be configured for other operational needs. It still offers a low total cost of ownership, providing mines with a safe and budget-conscious vehicle while keeping people and supplies safe when traveling through the underground mining environment, according to BTI.

Normet gears up for fully-electric and diesel-powered machine growth

As Normet continues its new technology push, it has decided to invest in its lisalmi facility in Finland, the company’s core production and research and development site.

The company will put €3 million-5 million ($3.35 million-5.58 million) into building a new digital testing centre, expanding the production capability and investing in production automation, it said. The target is to improve productivity in lisalmi to ensure both competitiveness and to have manufacturing capacity to support business growth.

The announcement came shortly after Normet launched a fully-electric offering for mining and tunnelling construction at the recent Bauma fair in Munich, earlier this month.

Its SmartDrive technology is a sophisticated and fully-engineered battery-electric architecture able to operate underground totally emission-free, saving costs at the same time, it says.

The company also used the event to showcase its SmartScan 3D laser scanning technology to validate the spraying quality and SmartSpray, the next step towards fully-automated concrete spraying technology, according to Normet.

In the latest lisalmi announcement, Normet said it expected the demand for both for fully-electric and diesel-powered machines to grow, hence its planned investment.

Kari Hämäläinen, SVP Equipment Business Line, Normet, said: “lisalmi is the core production and research and development site for us. We want to ensure we have the best technology capabilities to meet the demand of future. Streamlining the manufacturing process and increasing productivity is also critical to ensure our competitiveness going forward.”

MacLean focused on Borden, battery-electric milestones and automation

MacLean Engineering says its near-term focus in the first half of 2019 is the completion and delivery of its first battery-electric Ore Flow unit to Goldcorp’s Borden gold project in Ontario, Canada.

Reflecting on a year of developments in 2018, the production support vehicle specialist said this unit – made up of an EV BH3 Blockholer with MacLean remote control – would bring its electric vehicle fleet at the site, near Chapleau, to 15 units. This comprises six bolters and nine utility vehicles.

Borden, which currently has 950,000 oz of reserves, is scheduled to begin commercial production in the second half of 2019.

The year 2018 was a significant one for MacLean. Not only did it acquire Anchises Equipment and the former MTI test facility in Sudbury, it also filled out its order book and completed fleet orders for new mining regions such as Nunavut, Labrador, Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Don MacLean, Chairman and Founder of MacLean, said.

As fleet orders have continued to come in, the company has increased the size of its Owen Sound, Ontario, plant – which is now handling mining equipment as well as municipal vehicles – and expanded the size of its existing facility in Queretaro, Mexico, he added.

“This investment in MacLean Mexico will bring us closer to our Latin American customer base while also helping to alleviate production bottlenecks at our Canadian plants,” Don MacLean said.

During 2018, the company was able to put one of its electric vehicles to the test at an underground ramp trial at a gold mine in Val d’Or, Quebec.

A battery-electric boom truck (BT3-EV) was run alongside its diesel equivalent, carrying out the same work on the same section of the underground mine ramp. The results were compelling.

“The key finding was that the battery-electric truck used 88% less energy than the diesel truck and, it did so with greater operator comfort (zero emissions, less noise, less heat, less vibration), and higher speeds up-ramp with the unit fully loaded,” Don MacLean said.

He added: “We can now say with confidence, over two years into our fleet electrification programme launched officially at MINExpo, back in 2016, that our battery bolter and battery support vehicles (boom truck, cassette truck, scissor truck) are proven, high-performing, lower total cost of ownership options for companies looking to make the switch to emissions-free mining.”

And, while the Sudbury-based firm has been successfully making inroads into the battery-electric vehicle space, it also said it has big plans when it comes to automation.

Last year, MacLean acquired Anchises Equipment and hired its design team to deliver MacLean “a proven remote-control technology, along with in-house R&D and remote-control circuit board manufacturing capacity”, the company said, in 2018.

In its latest report, Don MacLean said: “This team is now driving MacLean’s progressive rollout of semi- to fully-autonomous operation product offers, all designed and built within our own manufacturing ecosystem.”

MacLean Engineering’s Jeff Anderson will be appearing in a joint talk on the Borden gold project at The Electric Mine conference, in Toronto, next week. To hear more about the event and secure one of the last remaining delegate places, click here.