Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

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ELECTRICAL POWER SYSTEMS 40 E&MJ • JULY 2019 www.e-mj.com underground mine. The Shock-Block was the first UL 943C-listed device on the mar- ket [UL is a global safety certification orga- nization], and remains the only UL-listed product available with a load rating up to 100 amperes (A). These will be used to protect personnel from shock while work- ing with 600-V welders on the galloway." Miners are looking to simplify the way they interact with the protection devices at their facilities so they can achieve max- imum efficiency in the associated pro- cesses and ultimately drive costs down. Last year, Littelfuse released the MP8000 MotorSaver Overload Relay, which includes a Bluetooth interface. This allows a user to interact with the relay, including making setpoint chang- es and viewing metering data and data logs, without opening the panel door and increasing the risk of exposure to a shock or flash hazard. Germany-based Becker Mining Eu- rope is also employing Bluetooth in its newest electrical solutions. Later this year, the company will begin testing its new Endis 4.0 compact station series for power distribution. Jonas Maximilian Becker, who handles mechanics and marketing at the firm, ex- plained that Endis 4.0 is ideal for use with higher powered mining equipment. "It combines many requirements into one sophisticated solution, and eliminates the need for many different products," he said. Following positive feedback from field testing, Endis 4.0 will be made com- mercially available in early 2020. On the automation side, Becker is also rolling out its Promos 4.0 series, which was showcased at the Ugol Rossii & Mining event in Russia last year. This includes digital voice communication, tagging and tracking for personnel, and Bluetooth connectivity. Becker Mining Europe recently supplied electrical equipment for a longwall instal- lation at the Marcel mine (PGG) in Radlin, Poland, which began operation in June. Harnessing Intelligent Packaged Power Another important trend is the increasing use of intelligent packaged power (IPP) solutions, where mine electrical systems and process control are linked under one connected system. Rockwell Automation specializes in this area. Joe Matheys, product market- ing manager for power control, explained: "To understand packaged power, we need to first discuss electrical houses (e-hous- es). An e-house is a prefabricated elec- trical-distribution substation that is de- ployed at a mine as a fully manufactured, tested and integrated system. "Within an e-house, electrical distri- bution, motor control and process control are all integrated into one platform. Con- solidating equipment and removing hard wiring reduces project cost and complex- ity, and helps workers gain access to in- telligent electrical device data to better understand asset performance and energy consumption. This intelligent system ap- proach creates a single network backbone and a unified supervision system for pow- er distribution, process control system and motor control." Matheys said that an IPP system can help mining companies significantly re- duce both their upfront capital costs and long-term operating expenses. There are two key features that enable this: the first is that a single vendor can engineer, test and validate a packaged system before it arrives at a mine site. "No more contracting with multiple vendors to secure system parts, working with engineering teams to make sure these parts function properly together and then wrangling the vendors, again, for a final install and test," he explained. "With a packaged solution, the power and control systems arrive as a complete unit at the mine site — already assembled, tested and validated." The outcome is less equipment on- site prior to startup and, therefore, less liability. Additionally, reducing the num- ber of vendors involved in the project decreases the risk of issues with vendor coordination. Both of these factors help reduce startup costs and risk to provide a greater likelihood that projects will be completed on time. The second feature is flexibility based upon networking. Hard-wired systems require more cable terminations and more configuration time than an inte- grated package. "When you remove hard wiring, you dramatically lower project labor cost," Matheys said. "You also gain the flex- ibility to more easily configure and add new devices, if needed. As anyone who's worked on a large project can attest, there are always surprises. The flexibility of a networked system can save a lot of ex- pensive engineering hours and help keep a project on track." As an added bonus, globally, most e-houses are classified as equipment and not infrastructure. This allows orga- nizations to use depreciation and other global tax benefits over the useful life of the e-house. To get a sense of total potential cost savings, consider a system of 1,000 in- Due to the longer cable lengths and higher powered equipment used in surface mining, higher voltages are required. (Photo: Littelfuse)

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