The future of underground mining vehicles is here

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A fully-electric MinCa 5.1 off-highway vehicle

The underground mining sector faces a number of environmental and health hazards. One of the key challenges to tackle is the miners’ air quality. Currently, all of the emissions produced by traditional diesel engines operating underground need to be blown out of mines and replaced with fresh air to avoid health risks. Ventilation is also one of mining’s most expensive operational costs, as each kW of diesel burned adds multiple kW units to the power needed for ventilation, with this expense increasing the deeper mines are built. It’s estimated that ventilation can account for up to half of a mine’s total annual operating costs. 

However, if there are zero diesel emissions from the start, ventilation no longer becomes an issue. That’s why Hermann Paus Maschinenfabrik GmbH (Paus), a producer of specialist machines and vehicles for the mining and tunneling sectors, has developed the fully-electric MinCa 5.1 off-highway vehicle, which is powered by our EDITRON drivetrain system.

Tackling underground emissions via electrification

The solution we developed for MinCa 5.1 is a 50kW electric motor utilizing synchronous reluctance assisted permanent magnet technology, which works with one of our inverters that drives the motor. The vehicle also contains a 50kWh battery system that can operate for between 3-4 hours before it needs to be recharged

Wider efficiencies and benefits

As well as emitting zero emissions, MinCa 5.1 also produces far less noise and fewer vibrations than vehicles with diesel engines. Driving them or working nearby is  a far more pleasant experience than the alternative. They also produce very little heat, which is important as temperatures in mines can reach up to 50°C.

The vehicle is capable of transporting up to five passengers at a time and offers space for mining tools and equipment due to its self-supporting chassis. The all-wheel drive functionality, extremely stable axles and oil-immersed disc brakes also offer greater stability than hydraulic machines, again boosting safety for miners.

Joonas Talvitie, Danfoss Editron’s project manager for the MinCa 5.1 vehicle, said: “Delivering our unique software-led EDITRON system to Paus has allowed us to further our mission to revolutionize electric power and electrify heavy-duty vehicles. With countries around the world phasing out, or already banning, the use of diesel engines in mining we expect to see strong interest and take-up of MinCa 5.1 over the coming months.”

Produced in Emsbüren, Germany, Paus unveiled a prototype of the fully-electric MinCa 5.1 vehicle at bauma 2019, the building industry’s largest trade fair. The company is already negotiating with customers worldwide, including in North and South America and Russia, about deploying the vehicle on current and planned mining projects.

Project MinCa 5.1 mining vehicle
Customer Hermann Paus Maschinenfabrik GmbH
Location Emsbüren, Germany
Scope Boosting health protection for miners by developing emission-free machinery and reducing operational costs such as fuel and ventilation.
Solution Fully electric vehicle that can operate for between 3-4 hours before recharging.
Technical specificities
  • Traction motor: EM-PMI300-T310
  • Inverter: EC-C1200-450-L
  • Reduced CO2 and small particle emissions
  • Space and weight savings
  • Improved handling and drive performance
  • Higher efficiency
  • Less audible noise
  • Lower maintenance costs