Mining industry electrification accelerated under deal

2 December 2022
NZX-listed Scott Technology has an agreement with construction and mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar to develop an automated connection system to support stationary charging of electrified machines.

Under the collaboration, Scott Technology will apply its Robofuel product technology, which successfully automates the traditional diesel refuelling process of mining vehicles, to enable solutions in electrified applications.

Electric mining vehicles will require more recharging interactions than traditional diesel vehicles require refuelling, therefore the need to automate this process is critical to ensuring safety and efficiency, the company says.

“At Scott we are passionate about pursuing a long-term sustainable future together with our customers and wider stakeholders,” says Scott Technology chief executive John Kippenberger. “We are delighted to support Caterpillar’s efforts to provide its customers with solutions that help them meet their sustainability goals.

“Our world leading vision sensing and detection system combined with our robotic technology allows the charging process to be completed in a fraction of the time and without manual intervention, eliminating human risk and labour costs while maximising fleet utilisation.”

Caterpillar vice president Brian Weller says this solution is a building block in its electrification and automation portfolio to provide safer and more efficient solutions to mining customers. The global company successfully demonstrated its first battery electric 793 large mining truck (pictured) on November 22, 2022 and announced a significant investment to transform its Arizona-based proving ground into a sustainable testing and validation hub of the future.

Project participants with definitive electrification agreements include BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont Corporation, Rio Tinto and Teck Resources Limited.

The Early Learner program launched in 2021 focusing on accelerating the development and validation of Caterpillar’s battery electric trucks at participating customers’ sites saw Early Learner customers watch a live demonstration of Caterpillar’s prototype battery truck on a seven kilometre course.

Fully loaded to its rated capacity, the BEV truck reached 60km/h, did one kilometre up a 10% grade at 12km/h, a one kilometre run on a 10% downhill grade (using energy regeneration) and having enough battery energy to perform additional complete cycles.

As part of the Tucson site transformation, the company will install the latest advancements in sustainability technology, including green hydrogen production, natural gas and 100% hydrogen reciprocating engine power generation, fuel cell power generation and expanded energy storage systems.

The site will also leverage a variety of renewable power sources, including wind, solar and hydrogen, capable of powering the facility and its products as they become electrified.

Source: TransportTalk