A new battery-electric loader has been introduced as the world’s first 18 t battery loader.
The LH518B from Sandvik has been designed around the loader’s Artisan battery system and electric driveline, with the objective of maximising the potential of battery technology. In designing the loader, the company explains that its designers were tasked with “rethinking the machine, not the mine”, so that mines don’t have to rethink their own infrastructure.
The new battery-electric loader is said to have an exceptional capacity for its size. Its design solutions allow the loader to fit in a 4.5 m x 4.5 m tunnel and carry 18 t loads. In addition to an innovative boom and bucket system, the LH518B features independent front and rear drivetrains, allowing high payload capacity while keeping a low overall height.
It is equipped with three 2 000 Nm permanent magnet motors, in order to maximise productivity. With no torque converter, transmission or engine to rev up, the loader is designed to be fast and agile. There are no emission restrictions based on installed power to limit the electric motor selection, which enables the use of the most powerful motors available that are suited for underground conditions.
The LH518B is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack, aimed at ensuring fast and easy battery swapping, with a minimum amount of manual handling. Changing the battery takes about six minutes and can be done in a passing bay or re-muck bay, with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed. The AutoConnect feature is designed to make swapping even easier and faster by automatically connecting and disconnecting the battery pack to the machine. The operator is only required to leave the cabin to plug and unplug the charger, helping to save time and effort and ensuring decreased risk in the swapping process.
The battery-powered loader contributes to reduced heat and emissions underground, helping mines to reach sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs. The battery pack uses lithium iron phosphate chemistry and is purpose-designed for use in underground mining.