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Trial at ’emission-free quarry’ declared an outstanding success

The Electric Site system was part of a study in the last quarter of 2018 between Volvo CE, construction materials giant Skanska, the Swedish Energy Agency and Sweden’s Linköping and Mälardalen universities to create the world’s first “emission-free” quarry.

Drawing on the Volvo Group’s electromobility and automation expertise, the research project sought to electrify each transport stage in a quarry – from excavation to primary crushing and transport to secondary crushing – although a negligible amount of diesel power would still be used.

The system, which incorporated electric and autonomous Volvo machines in a real production environment for 10 weeks, was expected to deliver a 95 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and 25 per cent reduction in total cost of operations.

New work methods and site management systems would also form a complete site solution. New technology encompasses machine and fleet control systems and logistic solutions for electric machines in quarries.

In late 2018 Volvo CE and Skanska revealed the results from Electric Site at Skanska’s Vikan Kross Quarry were even better than anticipated.

The tests showed a 98 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, a 70 per cent reduction in energy costs and a 40 per cent reduction in operator costs.

The results also indicated that the Electric Site project could help Volvo CE achieve its vision of work sites that are 10 times more efficient, with zero accidents, zero unplanned stops and zero emissions.

Together, these results support the potential for a 25 per cent reduction in the total cost of operations. However, as the prototype machines were part of a research project, the parties were cautious about making guaranteed predictions.

“We’ve made incredible progress, learnt a lot and seen huge potential in the Electric Site solution’s environmental, efficiency, safety and cost benefits,” said Uwe Muller, chief project manager for the Electric Site at Volvo CE.

“In fact, we have decided that we want to learn more, so we will extend our test period with Skanska until the end of the year [2018]. The results we have seen so far confirm that this research project is a step towards transforming the quarry and aggregates industry and creating emission-free quarries.”

Skanska president and CEO Anders Danielsson said: “With climate change reshaping our industry, we need to find new, sustainable solutions and build partnerships with organisations that have different competencies.

“Our ambition is that this collaboration with Volvo CE will help us and our customers to reduce our carbon footprint. The power of partnership will make it happen.”


Prototypes in focus

The Electric Site project involved eight HX2 autonomous, battery-electric load carriers, which transport the material from the primary mobile crusher to the secondary static crusher.

When it came to energy use per tonne, the HX2s demonstrated they could help Volvo CE make major strides towards achieving its vision for work sites 10 times more efficient.

The second generation prototypes incorporate shared technologies and components from across the Volvo Group. They use a lithium ion battery to power two electric motors that drive the machine; an additional electric motor drives the hydraulics.

The HX2 is fitted with a vision system that allows it to detect humans and obstacles in its vicinity. It can follow an adjustable, pre-programmed GPS path.

The LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader delivered more than a 50 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency at the quarry, plus significant reductions in emissions and noise pollution compared to its conventional counterparts.

Its job was to organise the piles of material at the site. The LX1 incorporates a driveline that consists of electric drive motors mounted at the wheels, electric-driven hydraulics, an energy storage system, a significantly smaller diesel engine and new machine architecture, including a new design of the lifting unit. This combination enables the substantial gain in fuel efficiency.

The 70-tonne, dual-powered, cable-connected EX1 excavator prototype loaded the primary crusher. The base machine for the EX1 is a Volvo EC750 crawler excavator that has been upgraded to incorporate an electric motor, in addition to the diesel engine.

At the quarry, the machine was plugged into the grid, so zero emissions were emitted. If the cable is connected, the EX1 will automatically start in electric mode. If the cable is not attached, it will start in diesel mode. The EX1 is operated in exactly the same way as a conventional Volvo excavator.

“At Volvo CE, we believe in a sustainable future and we are doing our best to build the world we want to live in,” Volvo CE president Melker Jernberg said. “The Electric Site is one example of how we are trying to achieve this.

“With this research project we are combining intelligent machines, automation and electromobility to challenge traditional ways of working in the quarrying industry and explore new alternatives.

“We will now further mature the technologies involved and the reliability of the concept. Developing, testing and validating prototype machines with a customer at an early stage in the process speeds up development and ultimately brings more value to us and our customers.”


Electric launch

In an industry-first move, Volvo CE has subsequently announced that in 2020 it will start launching an electric range of Volvo-branded compact wheel loaders (L20 to L28) and compact excavators (EC15 to EC27). In turn, it will cease the diesel engine-based development of these models.

With this move, Volvo CE is the first construction equipment manufacturer to commit to an electric future for its compact machine range.

This follows an overwhelmingly favourable reaction from the market after the successful unveiling of numerous concept machines in recent years, and through close work with its customers. The move is also aligned with the Volvo Group’s strategic focus on electromobility in all business areas.

The first two compact electric machines will be unveiled at bauma in April, followed by a staged market by market introduction and ramp-up in 2020.

While company personnel have stressed that diesel remains the most appropriate power source for its larger machines, it has also been conceded that electric propulsion and battery technology is proving particularly suitable for Volvo’s smaller equipment.

With research and development investment now focused on the rapid development of its electric compact wheel loaders and excavators, Volvo CE is taking a step towards diesel-free compact equipment in the future.

“Volvo CE is delivering on its commitment of ‘Building Tomorrow’ by driving leadership in electromobility and delivering sustainable solutions that support customer success,” Jernberg said.

“The technology we have been developing is now sufficiently robust and this, together with changes in customer behaviour and a heightened regulatory environment, means that now is the right time to commit to electromobility in our compact equipment ranges in the future.”

‘Building tomorrow’ – Volvo CE at bauma 2019

Visitors to next month’s bauma 2019 exhibition in Munich, Germany, will be given a glimpse into Volvo CE’s technological vision, with a showcase of its latest machines and integrated services.

Demonstrating the breadth of the Volvo Group, Volvo CE will be joined at bauma 2019 by sister companies Volvo Penta, Volvo Trucks and Volvo Financial Services.

{{image4-a:r-w:250}}The companies’ participation will be more than a static display – it will be a live event. Under the theme of “Building Tomorrow”, Volvo’s 2293m2 indoor stand and 5870m2 outdoor stand will be, according to company press materials, a “non-stop interactive performance” featuring its complete product and service portfolio.

Volvo CE will use bauma as the stage to launch the first two models in its compact hydraulic-electric machines, following its announcement earlier this year that from 2020 it will cease the diesel engine-based development of its compact loaders and excavators, and launch a new range of electric machines in the L20 to L28 and EC15 to EC27 series.

In line with the company’s current global campaign, new excavators will be launched at the show, from its compact EC-series excavators to the new EC750E high reach demolition excavator. The EC300E hydraulic-hybrid excavator and an EC220E unit that features Volvo’s Active Control automated boom and bucket movements (for a more efficient digging process) will also be launched at the show.

In all, there will be 50 machines on Volvo’s two stands, grouped into the sub-themes of “load”, “dig”, “haul”, “pave”, “innovation” and “service”. Of these, Volvo Services has a much greater emphasis than ever at this year’s bauma, with every machine supported by a dedicated service offering via touch screens and other displays.

Melker Jernberg, Volvo CE’s president, will jointly host – along with the presidents of Volvo Penta and Volvo Trucks – an international press conference during the show, in which they will introduce new products and outline the company’s plans for innovation.

In the company’s outdoor area, there will be a machine show set to the soundtrack from Volvo CE’s mini-film Pump It Up, featuring Hollywood star Dolph Lundgren, plus operators’ club competitions and live action displays on the further developed “Dig Assist” solution and attachments.

Throughout the event, in the inside display area, a professional master of ceremonies will conduct entertaining presentations (in German and English) focusing on the company’s product and service solutions, and there will be video cubes displaying a range of customer interviews, facts and figures. An innovation area will highlight Volvo CE’s developments in automation, connectivity and electromobility.

Source: Volvo CE

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