New Sandvik LHD line is a definite winner in the toughest operating conditions

Sandvik is constantly improving and creating new technology and machines to respond to varying customer needs to remove ore from the mine productively, safely and profitably.

Sandvik's new loader line is designed to remove ore from the mine productively, safely and profitably. As all leading-edge Sandvik machines,  the new loader line is created to fulfill customers needs in the world of loading and hauling – targeting maximum capacity with optimal envelope size to ensure efficient processes everywhere in the mine. The sleek and productive Sandvik underground hard rock mining loaders which replace the popular Toro and EJC brands, include a host of reliability and durability updates as well as improved serviceability, safety, and operator comfort features. The updated design addresses every key customer request taken from the company's Global Customer Roundtable.

The LHDs will allow large underground hard rock mining customers to maximize uptime and, thus, productivity by focusing on improving reliability on key systems – notably, electrics and hydraulics. The new Sandvik LHD line has proven to deliver outstanding performance in demanding mine conditions in various countries.

Exceeding the expectations

To genuinely test a new product, hand it to a mining company that is pushing its operations to the limit to keep up with the commodities boom that has whipped the markets into frenzy. The right conditions were encountered at Phalaborwa, in South Africa's Limpopo province, where the Rio Tinto-owned Palabora Mining Company operates a massive underground block cave operation to mine copper and magnetite.

The mine is one of the slickest operations in Africa – but the machines have to work hard to meet the mine's production targets. This created the perfect testing ground for Sandvik's new LH514 and a five-month trial was arranged for the first machine to roll out from Sandvik's factory in Turku, Finland. The machine was shipped to South Africa and installed in the mine during mid-2007.

Sandvik and the mine operators wanted to judge the LH514's performance in terms of availability, ease of service (serviceability), and running costs. The test, carried out in the toughest conditions, ended in November 2007, when the machine had logged 2006 hours and had trammed 211 725 tonnes of copper ore.

The customer comments given were notable:

"We were able to prove that the Sandvik LH514 is capable of moving more, faster. It has proved to be an excellent machine and everybody is happy – especially the operators who liked the ergonomics, or layout, of the operator's cabin. The LH514 has proved itself a very reliable machine and a nice progression on the Toro 1400. It is a robust machine and stands up to hard use".

The new Sandvik LHD line has been an instant success. So impressed was Palabora mine with the new machine that they arranged an outright purchase of the trial model – and placed an immediate order for a second machine. The Anglo Platinum/ARM Modikwa platinum mine already has five LH514s, while Harmony's Target gold mine in the Free State has one.

Kidd Creek puts the 514 to work

Xstrata Copper's Kidd Creek, near Timmins, Ontario, Canada is the world's deepest base metal mine. The orebody narrows at depth and to maintain production levels the mine will have to cycle between stopes at a much faster rate. Operating safely and more efficiently has become a priority. To do so, the mine will employ several new strategies as well as the latest technology in mining equipment.

One of the latest technologies in use are the new Sandvik LH514s. The mine has been operating the Sandvik LH514s for one year and they haven't seen any issues. The LHDs are one component of several programs aimed at improving the mine's net productivity to allow it to more safely transition to increased productivity rates in more narrow stopes.

When Kid Creek tendered for the loaders, the operator went out and tested a few competitive machines. "There was a lot of communication between our operators, Kidd Creek maintenance specialists and Sandvik", said Chris Pollard, Manager of Maintenance and Plant Operations, Xstrata Copper, Kidd Creek.

In a normally dusty mine environment, it's important to keep the cooling system running as efficiently as possible. "The new Sandvik LH514 has everything on swing-out doors, which makes them easy to service. If the machine is hard to service, it's more likely to get overlooked."

Another example of an improvement incorporated into the new machine is the "wings" on the side of the fuel tank that deflect the exhaust toward the back of the LHD rather than the side. "It keeps the machine from kicking up so much dust", Pollard continues.

The enviro-cab units are also very popular and the operators like the LH514s and so do the mechanics.

"The new hydraulic system makes the LHD a more efficient machine because it is a pressure-compensated system. Most of the trouble shooting can be done from the operator's seat. We can diagnose through the main panel right down to the component without having to pull out a voltmeter or open any junction boxes. The technicians can force a function. If they want the lights to turn on without using a switch, they can do it right on the panel".

An LHD typically has more than 800 electrical connections. On the Sandvik LH514, Sandvik has reduced the number of connections to about 150 by switching to CANBUS technology. With only 150 connections, the probability of failures is much lower compared to 800 points of connection.

For further information, please contact:

Sandvik Mining and Construction Turku, Finland

Riku Kesäläinen, Global Product Line Manager, Loading & Hauling

[email protected]

Sandvik is a global industrial group with advanced products and world-leading positions in selected areas – tools for metal cutting, machinery and tools for rock excavation, stainless materials, special alloys, metallic and ceramic resistance materials as well as process systems. The Group had at the end of 2007 about 47,000 employees and representation in 130 countries, with annual sales of more than SEK 86,000 M.

Sandvik Mining and Construction is a business area within the Sandvik Group and a leading global supplier of machinery, cemented-carbide tools, service and technical solutions for the excavation and sizing of rock and minerals in the mining and construction industries. Annual sales 2007 amounted to about SEK 33,100 M, with approximately 15,200 employees.