Germany 2019

Best of Germany 2014 - Mining Equipment and Mining Technology

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VDMA 20 VDMA MINING SUPPLEMENT • 2019 Powering Haul Trucks at the World's Highest Mine Anyone who has ever experienced high-altitude mountain conditions knows the feeling — the air is thin and breathing is difficult. The amount of oxygen in the air falls with every extra meter. Even at around 3,000 meters, the conditions may not worry experienced mountain hik- ers but those used to life at lower altitudes can already start to experi- ence breathing difficulties at 1,500 meters. However, the high-altitude environment at the Julong Copper mine in Tibet presents no such prob- lems for the MTU Series 2000 engines currently driving haul trucks from Chinese manufacturers XCMG and NHL. And the remarkable thing is that they operate with absolutely no reduction in power. "We already knew our engines are ideal for operation at altitude and we specifically set them up to ensure they deliver 100% power under those conditions. Nevertheless, we were still surprised by just how much better they are than other engines operating in the mine," said Alexander Richter, the MTU applications engineer who conducted commissioning operations in Tibet for haul trucks from both manu- facturers. "I had much bigger problems acclimating to the environ- ment myself," he admitted. For one thing, he had to work more slowly. "Right from the start, I had to get used to working at a more measured pace." The rarefied air is low in oxygen and the human body constantly demands a readily available supply. As a result, people working at altitude have to breathe faster and tend to be constantly out of breath. Richter and his Asian coworkers used a Landcruiser for their daily commute between the Tibetan regional capital Lhasa and the mine. At first, the 1,700 meter difference in altitude proved a chal- lenge for them all, causing constant headaches. "We found it hard to understand how the Chinese and Tibetan mineworkers were able to work in the thin air at that altitude." But eventually they got used to the conditions. "After three days, we were acclimated and work- ing was no longer as difficult," said Richter. Unlike the crew, the MTU engines were on top form from the start — thanks to cutting-edge engine technology. Smart coordination between two-stage turbocharging, exhaust gas recirculation and high-pressure common rail injection systems meant that the engines met Tier 4 emissions regulations without any need for exhaust gas aftertreatment. "The engines' two-stage turbocharging technology is the crucial factor for operation at altitude," explained Richter. Unlike older units with single-stage turbocharging, the latest engines utilize two-stage technology to ensure adequate compression and air-feed for combustion. The air first undergoes precompression in a low-pres- sure turbocharger before it is cooled and then further compressed in a high-pressure turbocharger prior to final cooling. As a result, the air is so highly compressed that when it reaches the combustion chamber it again contains all the oxygen the engine needs for combustion. Consequently, no hardware modifications to the engine were needed and MTU engineers simply adjusted the en- gine control using the "virtual engine" facility. Every MTU engine mod- el has a computerized thermodynamic simulation model validated on the basis of measured data from test stand trials. This enables MTU developers to pre-calculate and program the correct engine control settings for every conceivable set of environmental conditions. These then only need to undergo on-site testing and fine adjustment. The engines' environmental pressure sensors are especially vital for operation at altitude. These measure barometric pressure to allow the engine control system to select exactly the right perfor- mance maps that relate to operation at the appropriate altitude. "In theory, we knew it would work," said Richter. Nevertheless, commissioning in Tibet was still a tense process. "Here on site, the engines have to operate at 5,500 meters and we had no relevant practice-based data for that," he explained. At these altitudes, en- gines from our competitors have had problems with serious power loss and heavy smoke. Engine damage is frequent. That does not happen with MTU engines." In their very first tests in Tibet a year ago, MTU engines demon- strated their outstanding altitude-performance capability. Chinese construction machine manufacturer XCMG tested and commis- sioned a vehicle powered by a 16-cylinder MTU Series 2000 engine. The company has already ordered a further 10 engines and for the last few months another Chinese construction machinery company NHL has been running altitude trials in Tibet involving two MTU Type 12V 2000 C66 mining engines. "So far, the results have been very impressive," said Richter. Haul trucks from both companies are now in full, regular daily op- eration carrying 90 and 110 ton loads of copper and spoil at the mine. Their crews may quickly get out of breath in the thin air, but their MTU engines definitely do not. Capable of traveling uphill significantly faster than other trucks at the mine, the MTU-powered vehicles deliver greater productivity than other haul trucks at the site. Driven by Digital Innovation Today's highly competitive mining environment is characterized by depleted reserves, volatile commodity prices and increased ore vari- ability. Digital solutions that offer both visibility and control across the entire mine to market value chain constitute a potentially criti- cal commercial advantage. The ABB Ability MineOptimize portfolio of pit to port digital technologies, incorporating the open industrial internet technology platform, ABB Ability, gives mining operators smart solutions to re- al-world problems, allowing them to make informed decisions that reduce OPEX and CAPEX, improve safety, automate machinery opera- tion, and facilitate predictive rather than preventative maintenance. Visitors to this year's bauma conference in Munich, Germany, have the opportunity to witness first-hand how advancements in the industrial internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI)-driven analytics and machine learning are informing a new generation of hyper-connected technologies. On its stand (Hall C2, Stand 348) ABB will demonstrate how its Ability MineOptimize encompasses optimized engineering, electrification and automation solutions, digital applications, and collaborative services proven to reduce cost, minimize risk and improve efficiency. "At bauma 2019, ABB is proud to showcase its specialized min- ing motors and drives for mining equipment, as well as our ABB Ability MineOptimize portfolio, incorporating the ABB Ability Stock- With their new MTU engines, the Chinese NHL trucks at the Julong Copper mine are more productive.

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