Next Generation Mining Equipment
Looking at modern mining equipment, especially jumbos, an obvious feature is the number, variety, and length of hydraulic hoses used. This reduces the maneuverability of the machine, increases the chances of hose failure and increases downtime in finding the leak, unbundling the hoses, replacing and reassembling the unit. In addition, many hydraulic systems recycle fluid at the pump in order to reduce lag time for functions. This wastes power and adds potential for fluid loss.
An alternative can be foreseen by extrapolating from examples in the auto industry such as electric power steering (EPS) trialed by Honda twenty years ago, found on their 1999 models, in BMW Z4 in 2002, 2006 and later VWs and proposed by Ford for 2011. The power steering function, previously hydraulic, is not only responsive and energy efficient, but also compact, more reliable and configurable. That is, the ‘feel’ can be selected by dealer-changed settings.
This paper looks at functional requirements of mining equipment and proposes all electric alternatives to perform these same tasks. The resulting all electric machinery would have fewer parts, be more reliable, easier to diagnose and repair, and be more productive.