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World first 18-ton battery loader

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils World first 18-ton battery loader

SANDVIK has revealed its new battery-electric loader, the 18-ton LH518B.

According to the multinational engineering company, the LH518B has been designed, ground-up, entirely around the loader’s Artisan battery system and electric driveline to best utilise the possibilities that the battery technology brings.

“It was not enough to replace some components or redesign only a part of the equipment: the designers were compelled to rethink the whole machine,” the company said in a statement.

“For the customers, when the OEM rethinks the machine, it means that the mine doesn’t need to rethink its whole infrastructure. In practice, changing the loader battery does not require any cranes or forklifts, thanks to the patented AutoSwap feature.”

The loader comes with an “exceptional capacity for its size”, being able fit in a 4.5 x 4.5-metre tunnel and carry 18-ton 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 has three 2000 Nm permanent magnet motors. “With no torque converter, transmission or engine to rev up, the loader is 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 the underground conditions.”

The loader is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. “Battery swapping is made fast and easy with minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed.”

The company added that the new AutoConnect feature available for the first time on the LH518B makes swapping even easier and faster by automatically connecting and disconnecting the battery pack to the machine. “Aside from unplugging and plugging in the charger, the operator doesn’t need to leave the cabin, which saves minutes on the swapping procedure and decreases effort and risk in the swapping process.”

The purely battery-powered loader helps to reduce heat and emissions underground, helping mines reach their sustainability targets and reduce ventilation costs. The battery pack uses Lithium Iron Phosphate chemistry (LiFePO4) and is purpose-designed for use in underground mining.

The company said it is expanding the BEV loader and truck offering in preparation for entering new market areas, which will happen in phases and model by model. “When the battery loaders and trucks are introduced to new markets, Sandvik will be ready to offer full product support and aftermarket services for its customers.”

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