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Sandvik and Byrnecut collaborate for a diesel-electric future

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

Contract miner Byrnecut will collaborate with Sandvik to develop new diesel-electric mining equipment with the aim to boost sustainability, efficiency, and productivity underground.

Under an agreement signed at The Electric Mine 2024 conference in Perth, Australia last week, the companies will work together to develop underground loaders and trucks featuring electric drivetrains. The overall goal is to create equipment that matches Byrnecut’s specific capability requirements and helps optimise operations. Pat Boniwell, Managing Director at Byrnecut Australia, welcomed the collaboration.

“Diesel-electric equipment has a proven ability to combine the low-maintenance benefits of electric machines with the flexibility of diesel,” Boniwell said. “We have a long association with Sandvik and we’re pleased to be providing input and feedback that will help shape the new Sandvik diesel-electric range. We’re also looking forward to passing benefits of this collaboration on to our customers.”

Mats Eriksson, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added the future of mining is likely to include a combination of multiple coexisting technologies.

“An immediate switch to full battery-electric isn’t feasible for every operation,” Eriksson said. “We have extensive expertise in both battery-electric and conventional diesel technology within Sandvik, and we believe combining this expertise will lead to new productive solutions for our customers. We’re delighted that Byrnecut is sharing its knowledge of underground and will provide feedback to help us develop the best diesel-electric loaders and trucks.”

Diesel-electric machines typically have a diesel engine that drives a generator which, in turn, provides electricity to motors responsible for movement and operating equipment. Unlike conventional diesel, diesel-electric machines generally have no torque converter and fewer rotating components, allowing for a more flexible design, requiring less maintenance and enabling lower operating costs while maintaining high availability.

Sandvik announced last year that it was moving ahead with developing a diesel-electric range of underground loaders and trucks to complement its leading battery-electric offering. The decision followed the showcasing of Sandvik’s Toro™ diesel-electric truck demonstrator to customers at a technology workshop in Turku, Finland in 2022.

The collaboration between Sandvik and Byrnecut will initially involve establishing a common vision for optimising Sandvik diesel-electric machines for Byrnecut’s needs. Byrnecut will then work together with Sandvik on the design of the machines and provide feedback at various testing stages, including pre-factory testing, operational testing, and trial testing.

Boniwell said Byrnecut is exploring a wide range of different technologies and is eager to embrace innovations that reduce costs, improve safety and increase productivity and sustainability.

“It’s likely the transition to battery-electric will be a gradual process with both electric, diesel and potentially diesel-electric machines operating side by side in the meantime,” he explained.

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