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2020 / 2021 Edition

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A model for sustainable quarries

Volvo Electric Site concept

Scale replica of Volvo CE’s ground-breaking Volvo Electric Site displayed at CIIE 2020

AT China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2020 Volvo CE displayed a miniature model of the Volvo Electric Site, the company’s vision for the future of quarrying. The ground-breaking concept combines intelligent machines, automation and electromobility to challenge traditional ways of working, and achieve zero emissions, zero unplanned stops, zero accidents and 10 times greater efficiency.

The Volvo Electric Site project challenges traditional ways of working by electrifying each transport stage in a quarry, bringing together electric and autonomous prototype machines, and site management systems, to form a complete site solution. The scale replica displayed at CIIE comprises a 5m x 5m site with six different scale models:

  • Four HX02 autonomous, battery-electric load carriers. This autonomous electric hauler was further developed by Volvo CE and has now been handed over for commercialization to Volvo Autonomous Solutions (VAS). The new TA15 autonomous and electric haulers are part of the TARA autonomous transport solution from VAS. These machines use a lithium ion battery to power two electric motors driving the machine and a third driving the hydraulics. Each TA15 follows an adjustable, pre-programmed GPS path with a vision system allowing it to detect people and obstacles in the way.
  • One LX01 wheel loader concept, which is a series hybrid with a driveline consisting of electric drive motors mounted at the wheels, electric-driven hydraulics, an energy-storage
  • system, a significantly smaller diesel engine, and new machine architecture. This combination allows a 50% improvement in fuel efficiency versus traditional wheel loaders,
  • along with quieter operation and significantly lower emissions.
  • The 70-tonne EX01 dual-powered, cable-connected excavator prototype. The base machine for the EX01 is a Volvo EC750 crawler excavator that has been upgraded to incorporate an electric motor in addition to the diesel engine. If the machine is plugged into the grid, zero emissions are emitted. If the cable is connected, the EX01 will automatically start in electric mode. If it’s not, it will start in diesel mode.

Although the Volvo Electric Site is not a commercial offer, it could serve as a model for rethinking production operations to run on green, sustainable power, while increasing safety and efficiency in quarries.

‘The Volvo Electric Site is especially relevant for China as the country strives to reduce emissions and achieve energy independence, said Mats Sköldberg, head of technology at Volvo CE China. ‘We hope our concept will serve as useful inspiration to challenge traditional ways of working for a greener, more energy efficient, and safer future.’

The concept was tested for 10 weeks at a real quarry outside Gothenburg in Sweden, where it achieved a 98% reduction in carbon emissions, 70% reduction in energy cost and 40% reduction in operator cost.

Different parts of the Volvo Group are now maturing the technologies to prepare them for commercialization. The electric excavator, which will be unveiled at bauma China later this month, will shortly go for testing by real customers in China and South Korea to gather feedback. The TARA transport solution, including the TA15, will soon be commercialized by Volvo Autonomous Solutions.

‘While the Volvo Electric Site presents a futuristic vision, the fact that we are testing some of the components with real customers in China to prepare them for commercialization means that these ground-breaking electric and autonomous technologies could only just be around the corner,’ said Mr Sköldberg.

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