ETF Equipment, a privately held Slovenian company, manufacturers all-electric battery-powered surface haul trucks - and they are not like any trucks you've mined with before. On the docket are wheel loaders and motor graders.
ETF Equipment's mining trucks are not just about electric power. These innovative haul trucks change how repairs, maintenance, and environmental conditions are met.
In 2003, ETF Equipment started developing a Modular Technical Platform for mining trucks. In 2015, the company set its sights on designing a battery-powered electric AWD surface mining vehicle with zero emissions, low noise, and energy harvesting. Now, ETF has combined both technologies for six haul trucks.
The ETF payload configurations for the six new mining trucks are: 180, 284, 380, 484, 570, and 774 metric tons. They are fully powered by a heavy-duty rechargeable lithium-Ion D5 battery arrangement. Additional driverless haul unit platforms can be hooked up in a train configuration via a heavy-duty steel connection that acts as both a physical connector and data cable so that the trailing haul units' throttle, brakes and steering are controlled by the single driver at the front of the train. The D5 battery system creates no emissions, has very low noise levels, an requires far less maintenance than a conventional diesel-powered vehicle.
Snap on, snap off
The modular designed vehicles feature components that can be removed from the vehicle for maintenance and repairs without bringing the entire truck to the shop. Wheels, batteries, and the cabin can be switched out in 15 minutes and entire axle groups can be changed in 25 minutes. This means that the ETF haul trucks can stay in operation while the component repairs are completed in the workshop without the truck itself, dramatically increasing the vehicle's uptime.
And, in this case, one size really does fit all. The major modular parts are the same for every size truck, so axles and wheels use the same components as smaller vehicles, just more of them. All the trucks are the same width 24.93-feet (7.6 meters) and the same height 20.66-feet (6.3 meters), so replacement components fit the smaller 180-ton truck all the way up to the 774-ton truck. This allows fleets to keep fewer parts on hand.
The all-wheel drive / all-wheel steer vehicles can operate in both off-highway and on-road conditions, featuring an advanced hydro-pneumatic suspension & oscillating axle design that absorbs impacts and undulation created by rough haul road condition. Along with ABS brakes and traction control, the ERF's innovative stability design means wet or icy roads won't be the reason for any production delays.
Stability and reliability are also enhanced by the ETF haul truck's unique wheels which have a special rubber profile. One of the biggest limitations of current haul trucks are the tires, besides the high costs of the tires, the downtime due to flat tires considerably decreases the technical availability of the current trucks. The ETF Central Tyre Inflation System actively monitors and adjusts the height of each wheel to counteract bumps in the road. If a tire suddenly deflates, the system automatically alerts the driver and raises the wheel to allow the driver to continue on.
All ETF trucks and haul trains only need a total road width of 24.16 meters (79 ft), compared to existing large haul trucks the roads need to be from 12 to 24-feet wider depending on truck type. This gives mines with smaller haul roads greater output and can save money on road construction.
Along with ETF's stability and traction features, all trucks have:
- Sleep deterrent system
- Collision avoidance system
- 5 cameras; reverse, mirror, forward and a roof-mounted loading camera
- 5 dual range radars & 2 velocity radars
- Enhanced lighting
- Enhanced ergonomics and HVAC system