Towering 70 feet high, rope shovels at mining sites in British Columbia’s Elk Valley perform gargantuan tasks. Electric utility power is needed while it excavates. And when it’s time for the shovel to move to the next pit, a mobile power source is called into duty—powered by a MTU Onsite Energy generator.
Teck Coal, Ltd. is used to doing big things. It operates several of the largest coalmines in North America, where massive amounts of overburden and coal are excavated with rope shovels and huge haul trucks. A rope shovel is one of the world’s largest mobile earth-moving machines. Since it excavates such huge amounts of material, its large bucket must be suspended from a crane by thick cables. By maneuvering the hoist and cables, it scoops up to up to 80 cubic yards of overburden and coal at a time. With just four passes, a rope shovel can fi ll up a 30-foottall 400-ton haul truck with ease.
Moving earth 365 days a year takes a lot of power. While the shovels are at work, they’re connected to a nearby electric substation and local utility power. Once it has stripped all the material in one area of the pit, , the shovel needs a generator set on wheels, called a mining motivator, to move to a new section. All of Teck’s Elk Valley sites were sharing a single motivator. It had a good run, working tirelessly for 30 years. But Teck Coal needed an upgrade. Downtime costs were signifi cant and the motivator didn’t meet the power needs of Teck’s new shovels. “The old motivator was suffi cient for some of our older shovels, but it was severely underpowered for a lot of our new shovels,” said Mehul Joshi, P.Eng., electrical engineer for Teck Coal.
A new superpower
A more effi cient and powerful solution was needed. Joshi and his engineering team worked with Cullen Diesel Power Ltd., the local MTU Onsite Energy distributor, to custom design a motivator to Teck’s specifi cations. The team developed an innovative replacement, powered by a MTU Onsite Energy generator set.
The new motivator’s genset includes a 20V MTU Series 4000G83L engine, which meets EPA Tier 2 emission standards in accordance with Teck’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Its power output is rated at 7,200 volts and 2,575kW at an elevation of 1,300 meters (Teck Coal mines are in the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains). “We had to make sure that the motivator would give the shovels ample power to run without stalling out at the high elevations,” said Ethan Baily, a Cullen Diesel generator sales representative who worked on the new motivator design.
Weighing over 1,600 tons, Teck’s rope shovels aren’t easy to move. Since the new motivator is about 130 percent more powerful than Teck’s previous unit, it’s more than capable of meeting the 1,434kW peak power needs of the mine’s newest shovels. Most mining equipment is suitable for mining roads only; however, the Teck Coal motivator can be transported on public highways as well.
When Teck Coal’s rope shovels are in motion, it’s good for business. That includes the arduous trips between excavation pits. With Teck’s stateof-the-art motivator, powered by a MTU Onsite Energy generator set, the company is moving forward.
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