Tag Archives: Volvo Group

Electric, autonomous transport to be demoed at Volvo CE’s Eskilstuna

Volvo Construction Equipment says it is building the world’s first test and demonstration area for electric, autonomous transport solutions at its Customer Center in Eskilstuna, Sweden.

Construction has already begun on the brand-new area, which will be dedicated to testing and demonstrating the latest innovations in sustainable power, connectivity and autonomous solutions.

This 66,000 m² innovation zone will include a secure track for full-electric, automated and teleoperated machines with charging infrastructure and 5G connectivity, a control and training room building, a spectator stand and training area for the Volvo Co-Pilot assist functions.

Chief among the innovations on display will be the TARA autonomous transport solution from Volvo Autonomous Solutions for defined sites, such as quarries or mines.

At the heart of TARA is the TA15 battery electric and autonomous hauler, the next commercialisation step in the concept that began with the Electric Site project and the bidirectional, cabless, battery electric and autonomous HX02 hauler.

Calle Skillsäter, Technical Specialist in connected machines at Volvo Autonomous Solutions, said: “We are excited to demonstrate our complete TARA solution to customers, including how to set up and run the site, how to charge and store the TA15 electric autonomous haulers, and how we manage the control room and surveillance operations – everything in a brand-new state-of-the-art facility.”

The secure track will also showcase remote-controlled machines, which can also be used in quarries or mines using two tele-operation rigs installed in one of the control rooms. Another of the control rooms, meanwhile, will demonstrate in real time how Volvo CE’s uptime and productivity services can reduce customers’ total cost of ownership and operation, the company said.

Back in July, Volvo Autonomous Solutions President, Nils Jaeger, told IM that the test track already had six TA15 haulers running, and an R&D team was working on the development of future automation functionality/capability as well as operating the current test fleet.

He also confirmed Harsco Environmental and Volvo Autonomous Solutions had a joint project at Harsco’s location at the Ovako Steelworks in Hofors, Sweden, where adapted TA15 haulers were being used as slag carriers during a year-long pilot.

Carl Slotte, Head of Sales Region Europe & International at Volvo CE, added: “This is an important strategic investment, not just for Volvo CE and Volvo Autonomous Solutions but the entire Volvo Group, and is proof of our commitment to drive sustainability through innovation. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to this world-class facility and allowing them to experience exactly how we are building tomorrow.”

The innovation area is expected to open later this year.

Sandvik enters LKAB-led SUM project as Volvo Group departs

Sandvik has joined the Sustainable Underground Mining (SUM) project being run by LKAB at the same time as the Volvo Group has exited the Sweden-based collaboration.

The moves come as the iron ore miner looks to “further strengthen a joint endeavour towards sustainable underground mining at great depths”, it said.

To develop the digitalised, autonomous and carbon-dioxide-free mine of the future, in collaboration with other globally leading Swedish companies, LKAB initiated SUM in 2018.

After 2030, LKAB must be ready to mine iron ore deeper in the mines in Kiruna and Malmberget, in northern Sweden. For this, one of Sweden’s biggest industrial investments ever, decisions will have to be taken in the mid-2020s.

“This type of strategic collaboration project is very complex, each company contributes its specific expertise, and the partners will link together both digital systems and operations,” LKAB says. “Providing unique possibilities for SUM, the test mine, Konsuln, in Kiruna will serve as a real mine environment where technology, machines and working methods will be tested.”

Sandvik will be joining LKAB, Epiroc, ABB and Combitech in trying to achieve this goal. The Volvo Group’s earlier partnership in SUM will now take the form of other collaboration with LKAB, the miner said.

Jan Moström, President and CEO of LKAB, said: “In the coming years, LKAB must have a solution in place to be able to mine iron ore at depths approaching or exceeding 2,000 m in a cost-effective way by employing technology that is safe, autonomous, electrified, digitalised and carbon-dioxide-free.

“To enable this, collaboration with other leading industrial companies will be decisive. Sandvik’s longstanding experience of producing underground vehicle systems will complement the ongoing work in an important way.”

Stefan Widing, President and CEO Sandvik, said: “LKAB has used automated equipment from Sandvik for many years and we look forward to the opportunity to extend our collaboration and introduce new and advanced solutions that will set an industry standard.”

Epiroc and Sandvik will be relied on for battery-powered, autonomous and efficient mining equipment and related solutions that will ensure improved productivity and safety in LKAB’s mines. ABB’s role is to contribute knowledge and solutions for electrification, automation, service and maintenance. Combitech, meanwhile, will bring broad expertise and experience when it comes to connecting autonomous processes and people via so-called digital ecosystems.

LKAB says significant progress has been made on the project to date, including:

  • Successful establishment of the test mine, Konsuln, in Kiruna, where testing is carried out in a real mine environment;
  • An integration and collaboration platform, ‘LOMI’ (LKAB Open Mine Integrator) has been developed to enable an open systems architecture whereby all partners can develop modules and solutions that work together;
  • ABB has delivered ABB Ability System 800xA, the control-room console Extended Operation Workplace and a “Collaboration table” for visualising key functions and key figures in the mine, allowing the operator to monitor and control equipment in the best, most sustainable way. The ambition is that everything that is done in the test mine can be approved, planned and controlled via a project office at surface level, so that underground work can be done more efficiently;
  • Epiroc has delivered the drill rig Easer L and Scooptram ST18 LHD, both equipped for automation functionality, for the test mine, and operators and service personnel have been trained. The Easer L, commissioned in 2019, has shown good results in drilling over 50-m-long holes in the test mine, which is an important step for planning the future mine layout. For the loader, during Autumn 2020, the plan is to conduct tests with increasing complexity in terms of automation and interoperability; and
  • Combitech has delivered new solutions for systems platforms on an ongoing basis together with LKAB’s IT department. The aim is to synchronise new technology with existing systems.

In March 2020, the “Testbed for integrated, efficient and carbon-dioxide-free mining systems”, a part of SUM, received funding amounting to 207 million Swedish kronor ($23 million) from the Swedish Energy Agency.