Mining has embraced new green technology over the past 12 years, driving capital spending up 600 percent to $100 billion in 2012, according to a Lux Research report . The study goes on to say that “to meet stringent emission standards, the coal industry must partner with technology developers…”
Electric underground vehicle revolutionizes the mining industry
Underground mining companies face an enormous air quality challenge. To address this issue, mines are replacing diesel trucks with emissions-free electric drive personnel carriers. These vehicles not only offer safer working conditions for their operators and other underground personnel, they reduce operating expenses. The personnel carriers are designed specifically for the tough underground potash mining conditions.
The Motor Driving the Revolution
Entrepreneurial companies, such as California-based, family-owned Hi Performance Electric Vehicle Systems (HPEVS), are engineering and manufacturing high-efficiency AC electric drive systems specifically for mining vehicles equipped to take the harsh abuse of the underground work environment.
HPEV collaborated with LEESON Electric, Regal Beloit Americas, Inc.’s engineering team based in Grafton, Wisconsin, to build the drive system for these emissions-free electric vehicles.
As an OEM for a niche product market, HPEVS President Brian Seymour was looking for a company to partner with for various motor parts such as stator cores and rotors. Finding that partner was a challenge for HPEVS.
“LEESON is the only manufacturer to think outside the box and work with my company to help develop a viable design,” said Seymour when questioned about what led HPEVS to LEESON.
Once LEESON started collaborating with HPEVS the relationship flourished and has grown over the past 12 years. “I believe it is LEESON’s open-minded philosophy and willingness to work with small thriving OEMs that enable us to secure business opportunities like this,” commented Wendy Bretschneider, technical support supervisor for LEESON. “It is relationship and trust that allows LEESON to maintain and grow with HPEVS,” continued Bretschneider.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Underground miners are dependent on a constant supply of clean air in order to breathe and carry out their duties underground without risking their health. This means that the toxic emissions from diesel-powered equipment have to be constantly evacuated by ventilation systems which require significant amounts of energy, irrespective of the size and complexity of the mine structure.
By replacing diesel-powered equipment with electric powered equivalents, mines can realize huge potential savings at the same time as they improve the environment, not to mention the spin-off effect of increased job satisfaction and reduced personnel turnover.
Mining Photo on Carousel © Orange Suede Sofa. Licensing: This work is licensed under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. The original artwork can be viewed here: