MALMBERGET, Sweden – More than 125 years ago, industrial-scale mining of pure magnetite ore bodies started in the Malmberget mine, a process that was made possible thanks to the new ore train track to Luleå, and changed the industrial presumptions in the entire northern Lapland area. Now, state-owned Swedish mining company LKAB is about to make some changes of its own, including retiring and replacing an entire generation of mining vehicles as part of a multi-year project to renew its fleet.
Since the mid-70’s, LKAB has operated about 50 mining vehicles equipped with Allison fully- automatic transmissions. LKAB mobile maintenance technician, Hans Degerman, explained why the durability of the gearboxes are so important in mining applications.
"Our trucks carry heavy loads over short distances with many starts and stops, and that wears hard, on both trucks and transmissions. The average speed is 25 km per hour, and they run 80,000 kms every year,” he said.
Half of the 20 ore bodies in the Malmberget mine are currently worked by LKAB, which mines by sub-level caving,. Main haulage level operations were extended to a depth of 1,250 meters beginning in 2012.
Three Scania trucks are the most recent additions to LKAB’s fleet. Two are Scania G480 8x4, both equipped with Allison 4000 Series fully-automatic transmissions and each with 90 tons of loading capacity. Another truck, also equipped with an Allison fully automatic, owned and operated by Erik Landström Åkeri, features an underground sweeping machine. Operating 10 hours a day, every day, in a demanding environment requires reliability and durability, something that Ulf Landström at Erik Landström Åkeri believes Allison transmissions meet very well.
"We need to drive very slowly. Dust from iron ore is twice as heavy as ordinary road dust, and the sweeping machine has to carry heavy loads up steep galleries !10 percent) with many starts and stops. Gentle and shock-free starts, thanks to Allison’s torque converter and continuous power transfer, combined with not having to bother about gear shifting, means drivers can focus on their job during long working periods," Landström explained.
Norrlandsbil, the Scania dealer who delivered these vehicles to LKAB, is running an ongoing development project called "the optimal mining truck," along with several bodybuilders and mining truck contractors. Norrlandsbil requires that a vehicle be equipped with an Allison fully-automatic transmission in order to qualify for the project.
LKAB (Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB) was founded in 1890 and is one of Swedens oldest industrial companies. LKAB is a high-tech international minerals group, world leading producer of processed iron ore products for steelmaking, and a growing supplier of mineral products for other industrial sectors. LKAB mines mostly magnetite ore in some of the world’s richest iron ore deposits north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. www.lkab.com
About Allison Transmission Allison Transmission is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully-automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, medium- and heavy-tactical U.S. military vehicles and hybrid-propulsion systems for transit buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (primarily school and transit), motor homes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (primarily energy and mining) and military vehicles (wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the Allison business is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A. and employs approximately 2,800 people. Allison has manufacturing facilities and customization centers located in China, The Netherlands, Brazil, India and Hungary. With a global presence, serving customers in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa, Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. More information about Allison is available at www.allisontransmission.com.
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