ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced that it held the second global gearless mill drive (GMD) user meeting. The conference, a conjoint organisation between ABB Switzerland and ABB Peru, took place in Lima, Peru, 23-24 October 2008 at the Hotel Marriott. This conference was the fourth ABB GMD user meeting, after the first global event was held in Switzerland in 2007, and after two regional events in Santiago de Chile and Sydney, Australia, both held in 2006.

To date ABB has installed or won orders for over 80 gearless mill drive units in 21 countries on five continents. As a variable speed drive, the GMD allows the mill to start smoothly, without any mechanical stress, and fulfils the customer’s requirements with respect to flexibility and adjustability of the process, enabling maximum control over the grinding process. Furthermore, ABB gearless mill drive systems feature several benefits compared to conventional geared drive systems: superior reliability, availability, extended life span and improved energy efficiency. ABB delivered the world’s first gearless machine drive in 1969, which is still operating with its original converter at the Ciment Lamberg-Lafarge cement plant in Le Havre, France.

The main idea of an ABB GMD user meeting is to create an interactive platform where all parties, not only ABB, but also end users and suppliers, are most welcome to hold presentations. The conference attendees are thus able to learn and profit from each other and to maintain an open and trustful relationship in order to ease and improve their future cooperation. Many existing contacts were reinforced and new most useful ones were built up.

GMD end users from 33 different mines or cement plants, coming from all five continents, as well as major mill suppliers, accepted ABB’s invitation and came to Peru. ABB corporation representatives from around the world were happy to share their knowledge on new technologies with end users and give them the opportunity to talk about their experiences and ideas.

Ben Harmsworth, electrical and instrumentation supervisor at Newcrest Mining and Pierce Peterson, electrical supervisor at Barrick Gold Corporation, agreed when they stated: “The GMD User Conference is a marvellous platform to share knowledge and the interaction between other users has been priceless.” It is important for end users to learn about the latest developments in the GMD applications and to know who to approach from ABB for any kind of service needs, whereas it is crucial for ABB to know where to improve its performance.

Hans-Peter Erb, vice president of ABB Drives Applications said: “Certainly the ABB GMD user meeting is a beneficial event for all involved parties. It helps us to strengthen the bonds and trust by giving our customers their say. Our team could profit a lot by learning directly from the end users about what concerns and experiences they have and in particular by having the chance to learn about interesting proposals for future collaboration.”

The 2009 GMD user meeting will again take place in Switzerland, in October. Date and venue will be communicated in due course.