Heavy equipment manufacturers are always releasing new or updated vehicles. In the past few months alone, has introduced the diesel-powered 3 ton WX03 loader, while has launched the new 2,650 hp, 265 tonne 793 mining truck.
Sales literature for new vehicles often emphasizes larger payloads, improved fuel efficiency, faster top speeds, increased reliability, and other productivity-enhancing features. While all these features are desirable attributes, they have become the expected standard and are no longer a feature that drives conversations about how heavy equipment can or should evolve. future, and many in the industry believe that conversations should take place.
One of them is Trevor Kelly, Director of Mining Innovation at ReThink Mining, the Canadian Mining Innovation Council. Kelly is trying to get miners to sit at the same table so they can decide what they want from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). In Kelly’s view, OEMs tend to meet the needs of individual large companies rather than the needs of the industry as a whole. While Kelly said both OEMs and miners are going through a cultural shift, the two will be able to come together.
“I don’t think there’s a difference in direction, there’s a difference in the ability to do, the cost of doing it now and the value of doing it to suppliers or OEMs. At this point, if miners say ‘yes, of course, we all want this,’ and I believe OEMs will go in the direction the miners want,” Kelly said.
As for what miners really want, that’s the real question. There are pressures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but these need to be balanced with the need for a profitable business. “The reality is this is a very difficult time because of the need to shift from the way we still do things to completely different ways of mining, including the equipment we use. Nobody really knows that. what it looks like, how do you go from today the world is transitioning to a low carbon world and all the companies, every company is trying to do the right thing, but there is no book What are the standard guidelines for dealing with such things,” Kelly said.
He added that the industry cannot be limited to just one approach, such as partnering with original equipment manufacturers to develop battery-powered trucks or offering alternative transportation options. “We have to do all these things at once and not put all our eggs in one basket.”
Kelly is happy that miners are more willing to hear about electrification and hydrogen, but he suspects that the industry needs to rethink how trucks are used, regardless of their capacity. right from the start.
According to Kelly, one current thinking is to replace large trucks with fleets of smaller, more efficient trucks that operate independently in swarm configurations, especially during high-volume operations such as oil sand. Instead, he thinks mining companies will try to replace their existing fleets of trucks with trucks of similar size, or possibly slightly smaller trucks, but adds give them trolley support systems, at least as a temporary solution until conveyors and other types of conveyance systems become more widely adopted.
Deloitte Director Adriaan Davidse reviews how and when heavy equipment should be used when working with mining customers. According to Davidson, concerns about health and safety – not wages and the economy – are driving miners to look for autonomous vehicles, even if their availability remains limited. regime. “I would say that if you talk to mining companies, they really want to put people in higher value-added work and free them from serious and long-term health challenges. and safe.” and for small companies with limited resources, this is only the first hurdle to overcome.
“Even if they can get equipment, they need the communication networks and infrastructure to support the operation of those autonomous systems within the mine’s infrastructure. Usually, the infrastructure. not resilient or insufficient, or even non-existent. Then, of course, “you have to put everything Integrating it into your change leadership. It’s not a simple conversion. It’s not a matter of using a manual operating system and retooling the technology and suddenly everything works on its own.”
Davidson explains that the nature of the truck fleet presents a challenge for an industry that needs to change the way it operates. can replace one truck at a time, instead of buying a whole new fleet,” which is why we haven’t made the transition efficiently, because it forces people to