When mining goes electric | Global Mining Review

Alternative power is a worldwide trend. Manufacturers have jumped to…

Alternative power is a worldwide trend. Manufacturers have jumped to create environmentally friendly, sustainable equipment options in all industries. Virtually all large and mid-sized heavy equipment manufacturers have released an electric option in the last few years. The real question comes in optimising performance. Does the product have the power to get the job done?

When mining goes electric

No matter how impressive these new models are, do not forget some equipment manufacturers developed electric equipment decades ago and have spent years perfecting it. Demolition equipment manufacturers created innovative, safe ways to finish dangerous, labour-intensive tasks. As time goes on, these manufacturers have continuously optimised their machines for the best power and performance.

In the beginning

Remote-controlled machines were originally developed to offer a safer way to remove slag in the metal processing industry. It quickly became clear, though, that these machines could be valuable in a number of different industries, including underground mining. Emission-free, remote-controlled power offered clear safety benefits deep underground where workers faced falling rock, harmful vibration from hand tools, and the damages of long-term noise exposure.

After being introduced in 1976, the technology continued to evolve. Today’s machines look like small excavators with a three-part arm that often wields a breaker but can use a variety of attachments. Robots range in size from 23.5 in. wide and 1235 lb to 84.65 in. wide and 25 133 lb. The smaller robots can drive through narrow passages, fit in elevators, and even climb stairs.

But do not let the compact size fool you. These machines are engineered starting at the tip of the breaker for maximum hitting power, making them an option for multiple industries that require digging, breaking, tunnelling, mining, and other dangerous activities. The result is that, pound-for-pound, demolition machines provide the highest power-to-weight ratios in the industry, delivering the same results as an excavator three times the size. Combine that with a three-part arm, an electric-powered demolition machine offers exceptional reach and power in all directions, providing maximum prevision and accuracy while the operator works from a safe position.

Advancing attachments

A variety of attachments further increases the value of compact electric power. With the right attachment, operators can drill, rock bolt, torque, break, dig and scale all with one machine while keeping the operator 100% remote. Wireless remote technology allows the operator to be up to 300 m from the machine with the option to go further with specialty remote systems.

These capabilities have years of experience behind them, making electric demolition machines the go-to for everything from soft demolition to refractory removal, ladle cleaning, underground mining, tunnelling and many other unique applications, including stope retrieval and shaft maintenance.

Looking toward the future

Electric equipment solutions are nothing new. For many contractors, it has become just another day on the job. As manufacturers continue to develop their electric equipment, they will need to focus on creating equipment that can meet the high-power demands of the mining sector. Luckily, some manufacturers have already figured out the power-to-weight ratio of their equipment and continue to work toward perfecting these processes.

Read the article online at: https://www.globalminingreview.com/mining/04042024/when-mining-goes-electric/

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