Siemens Introduces Electro-Mobility Solutions for Underground Mining

At MINExpo 2016, Siemens introduced a new high-efficiency electric drive system for underground mining vehicles featuring the PEM Motor which achieves efficiency up to 97% in operating speed range.

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Expanding its portfolio of electrification, automation and digitalization solutions for the mining industry, Siemens introduces a new drive system for underground mining vehicles, providing a dedicated power range and performance for higher levels of productivity, safety and return on investment.

The high-efficiency electric drive system includes Siemens robust and proven propulsion and auxiliary inverters, established control hard- and software as well as optional energy storage solutions. At the heart of Siemens’ drivetrain is the high-efficient PEM Motor typically connected to the wheels with a planetary type gearbox. This PEM motor, which is suitable for difficult mining conditions, achieves a higher efficiency of up to 97% in operating-speed range compared to the efficiency of standard induction motors of similar size. With these components working together, the haul truck’s braking energy can be intelligently harnessed and stored for electric propulsion.

“To mine raw material, which is situated much deeper below the surface, the current trend is shifting from surface mining to underground mining, thus requiring market-specific solutions that not only ensure a high yield of return on investment, but also ensures added safety for the health of miners,” says Daniel Robertson, Business Manager, Mobile Mining, Siemens. “Our new powertrain offers a greater power to ground ratio, thus providing higher haul truck productivity to transport more tons raw material per energy unit.”

By shifting from a pure diesel-mechanic to a diesel-electric configuration, mine owners and operators can significantly reduce mine ventilation costs, often the biggest expense for underground mines. This also increases access to adjacent ore bodies that may not have been feasible before. The conversion from pure diesel trucks to diesel electric trucks should be considered as a necessary precursor to apply fully electric vehicles in underground mining in the not so far future.

The new drive system is currently in development on a 60-ton articulated underground haul truck application, yet more than 1,000 mining-duty powertrain systems are deployed globally in the open pit mining market which includes all-electric excavators and various haul truck applications.

As many UG vehicles have similar power and propulsion requirements, Siemens plans to expand its development activities for other loading and transport applications in underground mining.