Germany 2019

Best of Germany 2014 - Mining Equipment and Mining Technology

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VDMA 24 VDMA MINING SUPPLEMENT • 2019 Underground mining continues to evolve from manned mechanized processes to autonomous systems that provide better reliability. At the same time, underground mines are looking at different ap- proaches to development. Techniques differ considerably depend- ing on the nature of the geologic formation and the strength of the rock. Both hard- and soft-rock rock mining, however, have much in common. Among others, a high concern for safety, ventilation re- quirements, getting salable minerals to the surface effectively, and ever-increasing travel times to the face. Those concerns have led to a large transition to battery-powered equipment. Supporting the Coal Business Worldwide What does record Russian longwall production have in common with new underground mines in India? The answer is: Eickhoff. The Siberian Energy and Coal Co. (SUEK) set three consecutive longwall production records between the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2018. In August 2018, the V.D. Yalevskogo mine produced 1.672 million metric tons (mt) per month. "The SUEK miners had only been operating their Eickhoff SL900 shearer loader for three months when they reached the first record of 1.407 million mt/month, then two months later they recorded 1.567 million mt/month," said Thom- as Hürmann, sales director-CIS for Eickhoff. "Most people underesti- mate the ability of Russian miners and assume that they are working with outdated equipment and technology, but that's not the case." When Hürmann started working with Eickhoff in the late 1980s, good longwall production averaged 500,000 mt/month. Then, as China emerged, average production steadily grew to 1 million mt/ month. "No one believed that SUEK could achieve those records so quickly, but they have found a good balance in managing production and downtime," Hürmann said. "They know the keys to turn to realize the production. Like most coal operations, they have methane and they are using degasification techniques to maintain safe opera- tions. Without it, there would be no production records. They are also consistently keeping development ahead of longwall production." SUEK will soon be looking to purchase six additional longwall faces. "They are focused on standardization," Hürmann said. "We see this when we have to adapt our shearer loaders to a longwall face provided by another company. It's like a puzzle, trying to figure out what needs to be done." "Eickhoff opened a service center in Vorkuta last year," Hür- mann said. "We are one of few companies with such a facility in the region. We will open another facility in the Kuzbass later this year. The steel framework is already erected. This will certainly strength- en our position for the after-sales market, as far as rebuilds, spare parts and service activities." While the Eickhoff machines in Russia hold records for daily and monthly production, China remains the biggest and most important market for Eickhoff's longwall shearer loaders. "Even though sales have slowed to 10 machines per year from 20 to 25 machines per year a decade ago, it's an incredibly important market for us," said Wolfgang Schröter, director of sales, China, for Eickhoff. Today, it's estimated that there are more than 500 longwalls op- erating in China and there are as many as 700 Chinese equipment manufacturers supplying this market. "For shearer loaders alone, there are more than two dozen Chinese manufacturers, but none have mastered the quality of the Eickhoff shearer loader," Schröter said. "Eickhoff has been selling to China since the late 1960s. We cover the whole range from 1.5-m to 8-m seam heights and we pro- vide a high-performance piece of equipment for a reasonable price." Mines can easily justify higher priced equipment if they achieve higher production levels. "The purchase decision also depends on the conditions underground," Schröter said. "If the geology is difficult, they need a good machine that can handle those conditions. The local Chi- nese providers can provide equipment for low- and mid-seam applica- tions, but we excel in the really low and the really high applications." Even though the cost to them for European equipment is higher, Schröter explained the total cost of ownership is lower. "Established coal operators know this, but the new guys always buy on price," Schröter said. "Then after three or four rebuilds, they wished they had purchased an Eickhoff machine. Some of our Chinese custom- ers have 30 or 40 shearer loaders in their fleets." Eickhoff maintains a large facility in Tianjin where they are overhauling 15 to 20 shear- er loaders per year. Longwall shearer loaders are an important product line for Eick- hoff and so are continuous miners. Last year, Best of Germany report- ed on the company's progress with continuous miners in South Africa. This year, Eickhoff is reporting it recently sold its first continuous min- er into India, which has a growing underground coal segment. Sing- areni Collieries is reopening the PVK-5 mine and it recently signed a 10-year contract with Gainwell Commosales Pvt Ltd. to operate the mine. Gainwell placed the order for the Eickhoff continuous miner. "This is exciting news for Eickhoff as underground coal in India has great potential," said Uli Lange, deputy director sales for Eick- hoff. "Gainwell is not only an important equipment distributor, it's also a successful mining contractor and now our partner in India. The tendering process with state-owned coal companies in India is often challenging and often includes contract mining. In this case, the hiring model, the equipment will be purchased by the operator." Formerly known as Tractors India Pvt Ltd., Gainwell is one of the two Caterpillar dealerships in India. Eickhoff is now Gainwell's exclusive supplier for continuous miners. Readers might recall that Sophisticated Systems Improve Safety and Productivity Underground Eickhoff delivered its first continuous miner to India.

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