Volvo experiments with automated Quarrying
Volvo Construction is a company with a keen eye on the future and is investing heavily in delivering that future with their Volvo Concept Labs.
The research division is where, amongst the many innovations they are working on, they have been developing autonomous, electric equipment for the quarry and mining industries.
At the Building Tomorrow Conference in October, Volvo CEO Martin Lundstadt outlined their Triple Zero vision – Zero Downtime / Zero Emissions / Zero Accidents.
A key player in their vision is the evolution of current machinery with automation, electro-mobility and connectivity.
The LX1 prototype wheel loader
Volvo’s LX1 wheel loader is an electric hybrid that delivers a 50% improvement in fuel efficiency, while offering a significant reduction in emissions and noise pollution.
The hybrid incorporates electric motors mounted directly at the wheels and an electric hydraulic system, which means the loader is more compact, whilst it’s performance is increased, compared to a similar sized loader and therefore capable of doing the work of a much larger machine. The machines architecture has been totally redesigned with 98% new parts to take advantage of the energy storage system and the small diesel engine.
The HX1 haul truck
Volvo’s HX1 concept machine is an all-electric, autonomous load carrier designed to work as part of a fleet supporting an LX1 loader.
The electric site project
Volvo’s electric site project is looking at every operation in a quarry, from the excavation, to crushing, exploring new methodologies for the machines, work practices, and site management to deliver a complete electric site solution.
Developing an all-electric quarry fulfils Volvo’s Triple Zero vision, with sophisticated machines that monitor their performance, reporting issues so maintenance can be scheduled, removing emissions by using electric vehicles, and removing the danger of accidents by reducing the number of people needed to run the quarry.
Volvo has teamed up with Skanska to develop a working quarry site to test Volvo’s developments in combination with Skanska’s quarrying experience to refine the research.