Siemens has launched a new drive system for underground mining vehicles as part of its expanding portfolio of automation and digitalisation solutions for the industry. 

The electric drive system comprises Siemens propulsion and auxiliary inverters, control hard and software, as well as optional energy storage solutions.

The system also has a PEM Motor, which is connected to the wheels with a planetary type gearbox, and is suitable for tough mining conditions.

All these components work together and allow the haul truck's braking energy to be harnessed and stored for electric propulsion.

"Our new powertrain enables higher haul truck productivity to transport more tonnes raw material per energy unit."

Siemens Mobile Mining business manager Daniel Robertson said: "To mine raw material, which is situated much deeper below the surface, the current trend is shifting from surface mining to underground mining, thus requiring market-specific solutions that not only ensure a high yield of return on investment, but also ensures added safety for the health of miners.

"Our new powertrain offers a greater power to ground ratio, thus providing higher haul truck productivity to transport more tonnes raw material per energy unit."

Using this technology, mine owners and operators will be able to shift from a pure diesel-mechanic to a diesel-electric configuration and can reduce ventilation costs for mining.

Siemens said that this conversion will serve as a stop-gap solution before using fully electric vehicles in underground mining in the near-future.

At present, the company is developing the drive system on a 60t articulated underground haul truck application.

More than 1,000 mining-duty powertrain systems such as all-electric excavators and various haul truck applications are used worldwide in the open-pit market.