Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2013

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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BAUMA 2013 introduced the Ward-Leonard drive system. In 1976, they introduced AC drive systems for electric shovels, and in the mid-1980s, Siemens began to embrace gearless drive technology, installing systems on conveyors, bucketwheel excavators, draglines, and grinding mills. Today, they are looking at how they can help mine operators integrate all of their systems to meet today's business demands. If a service provider wants to help a mining company, it has to understand today's circumstances. Mining companies are struggling with huge cost overruns on development projects. They are working in more remote areas with declining ore grades and fewer skilled workers. "Mining projects are major investments that combine hundreds of different components and making sure all of the interfaces work well is very important," said Edzard Lübben, executive vice president-minerals, Siemens. Explaining the Siemens approach to system-wide integration, Lübben offered a traditional drive system as a starting point. "It typically has electric motors, frequency converters and gearboxes, and we make sure that everything works well within that system [horizontal integration]. Then we consider vertical integration to make sure the control logic for the drive is well-embedded in the overall plant architecture," Lübben said. "The third dimension is life cycle integration. By using sophisticated engineering tools initially for the horizontal and vertical integration, we can gather the information generated from those systems to manage operations and plan maintenance and future development." An integrated approach will save time and money. "To make these types of systems work well, you not only have to know how the drive works, but you also have to understand the application and the environment in which it is used," said Norbet Becker, vice president-mining excavation and transport, Siemens. "Cost is an issue. It always has been and always will be. Mining companies today are encountering more pressure as far as green issues—saving water and energy is becoming much more important. We are working to address those needs." Citing the new gearless conveyor drive at Antapaccay in Peru, Becker explained how technology was used to deal with many of these problems. This mine has a www.e-mj.com situation where it needed to move large amounts of rock in a remote area with limited water, power and skilled labor. "The project has been a big success," Becker said. "The system consisted of a few large, robust parts, which simplified the installation. It has been running problem-free for six months now. We have achieved high availability. Maintenance and operation costs are within expectations. Noise has been reduced dramatically. Productivity has increased for both the electrical and mechanical aspects of the system—a lot less stress and wear and tear." Engineers in the mining business continue to debate continuous mining systems vs. discontinuous mining processes. "At Siemens, we believe you need both," Becker said. "Truck shovel JUNE 2013 • E&MJ 101

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