August 2016

The best in new technology

Compiled by Tom DiNardo and Vince Morello

A scoop of fresh air

Courtesy of Atlas Copco

An underground mine’s diesel machines can drive up the cost of ventilation, with diesel emissions needing to be filtered out to protect employee health. Atlas Copco expects its Scooptram ST7 Battery will help to bring those costs down. The new scooptram uses the Battery Pack 165 from Artisan Vehicle System (AVS), an electric and hybrid powertrain company, but is otherwise the same model as Atlas Copco’s diesel-powered version. “Battery machines seem to be the ideal solution,” said Erik Svedlund, the global project manager for electric vehicles and underground material handling at Atlas Copco. “They have all the flexibility of a diesel machine but without any diesel emissions.” The scooptram is the same size as the diesel-powered version, and the battery allows it to reach full power more quickly. It takes only 10 minutes to change the battery. “Electric technology does give you the power immediately so it’s not like it needs revving up to get there,” said John Gravelle, executive vice-president and CFO of AVS. “It’s a better work environment for workers. You don’t have the heat coming off the diesel engine and fumes.” On a full charge, the battery is expected to handle more than four hours of work, and a quick change-up over lunch should keep it going for the rest of the day.    

– Vince Morello

A cleaner belt

Courtesy of Martin Engineering

Conveyor belts that transport solid materials are subject to wear that can create valleys that capture dust, which can remain even after passing the belt cleaning blades. In some cases, shaking from return idlers can cause the valleys to release this material, leading to excessive dust on the belt. Martin Engineering’s Washbox Cleaning System combines water spray bars and secondary cleaning blades to remove leftover residue. “The biggest thing it offers is a clean belt [when it leaves] the box,” said Dave Mueller, a senior product specialist at Martin Engineering. “That’s what the customers are after and that’s what we’re after.” When the belt comes through the front of the box, it goes through a roller that prevents it from dragging on the box. It is sprayed with water, and then passes through the cleaners. The Washbox is located under the conveyor’s frame behind the return idlers, and has two spray bars inside the box itself for self-cleaning purposes.

– Vince Morello

More than meets the eye

Courtesy of Western Star

Demountable body systems are common in the trucking industry and have been available for a number of years. But Western Star has taken it a step further, creating a new class of truck body system for its XD off-road line of trucks that XD and vocational sales manager John Tomlinson refers to as a “transformer.” Western Star’s 40 ton 6900XD MBT-40 (short for multi-body transformer), developed in partnership with Carco Industries and Palfinger, can swap truck bodies like a typical demountable using an attached hook lift, but the transformer fully integrates the new body into the machine via multiple hydraulic connections. A generic in-cab control system overlaid with customized control panel templates depending on the truck body allows operators to easily operate each body once attached. “We’ve created a system where you plug the trucks in, hook them up, all the switches turn into the new body switches, all the hydraulics size themselves to the new body, and you can bolt it to the frame permanently,” said Tomlinson. “It’s now a fully functional, permanent water truck [for example] for as long as you need it.” In just 10 minutes, the MBT-40 can change between two of the three bodies currently available with the technology: a Klein 8,000-gallon water truck, an 80-ton SmithCo side dump trailer and a Ground Force 40-ton dump body. The company is currently working with other body builders to expand its offering.

– Tom DiNardo

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