A new type of LHD to Kiruna for tests within the SUM project

The SUM project is an R&D project for Sustainable Underground Mining. The project is a collaborative development project between LKAB, ABB, Epiroc, Volvo group and Combitech with the intention of developing the future technologies and production systems for LKAB’s mines. Some of the objectives are increased automation and CO2-free production.

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One step in order to achieve this, is to introduce and test a new 18 tonne capacity LHD, the Epiroc ST 18. The machine coming to Kiruna will be a diesel (of availability reasons) with the ambition of changing it to a battery-electric version later on.

To begin with the machine will be equipped according to LKAB standards concerning communication, bucket scale, WOLIS (Wireless On-line Loading and Information System) and fire extinguisher system. Several operators will be trained to drive the machine, in manual mode to start with, to get to know the machine. Next steps planned are to run the machine in auto- mode in a confined area, to develop an automatic scoop-filling function in order to get it to run fully automated, and to run fully automated on battery.

The test mine in Konsuln i Kiruna will be prepared for a step- wise development and test program of automation systems with the long term objective to develop safe, fully automated, production systems that can run in a mixed traffic environment where both manual and automated machines can interact with each other.

The general test plan with increasing complexity looks like below:

  1. LHD auto, loading to ore pass (same principle as of today, but with new LHD type)
  2. LHD auto + auto scoop filling, loading to ore pass
  3. LHD auto + auto scoop filling, loading to auto truck, dumping to ore pass
  4. LHD auto + auto scoop filling, loading to manual truck (mixed traffic)