New life for old

2017-01-24 - Engineering & Mining Journal article by Simon Walker - January 9, 2017
Replacing time-expired mining equipment like-for-like with a new machine is sometimes not an option, especially when capital budgets are tight. Carefully undertaken, rebuilds can offer a viable alternative, producing as-new plants for lower investment.

New ‘Brains’ From ABB
As Boris Rathmann, ABB Automation’s product manager for shovels and draglines, pointed out to E&MJ, while rope shovels are mechanically robust and can have a 30-year life, after a certain period of operation, upgrading their electrical equipment will improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs.

Rathmann added that the capital cost of the entire electrical equipment is about 10%-12% of a new rope shovel, meaning that a retrofit of an existing shovel can be an efficient way of extending its life for another 10-15 years. Usually, just five to six weeks are needed to replace the electrics, including commissioning, he said.

With AC technology offering a robust motor and reliable power electronics with digital drive control, in 2012, ABB worked with Joy Global MinePro Services on an AC upgrade for one of Drummond Coal’s BE395B mining shovels. The machine had been built in 1987, with Drummond convinced that a retrofit can be a cost-efficient alternative to a new shovel, ABB noted.

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