Future Developments in Underground Mobile Equipment

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1985
Recent developments in engine, transmission and control technology, likely to give rise to improved performance and efficiency of underground mobile equipment, are reviewed. Turbocharging and the electronic control of fuel pumps and injectors can improve diesel engine performance whilst minimizing exhaust emissions. Ceramic materials promise further improvements in engine efficiency. Nevertheless, electrically powered machines, equipped with trailing cables or 'travelling plugs' are expected to find increasing application where there is less need for flexibility and where the cost of ventilation and heating or cooling makes diesel engines unattractive. Voltage to frequency converters and induction motors appear to have a future in mains powered machines. Vehicles employing energy storage in the form of batteries or flywheels will find increasing application, but it is expected that they will remain a minority until there is a significant break-through in battery technology. Hydrostatic transmissions having high power density and efficiency are likely to be used more widely. Electronic control systems are likely to be used to simplify jobs and to improve performance and productivity. Enhancement of remote control systems is to be expected for work in unsafe areas, but true robot operation is considered unlikely for the moment. Attention to ergonomic factors should produce significant productivity gains.
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