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Hitachi Construction Machinery showcases multiple technological innovations at MINExpo

EX8000-6 electric electric powered hydraulic shovels.
EX8000-6 electric electric powered hydraulic shovels.

Mining professionals from across the world got a close-up look at multiple technological innovations for Hitachi mining excavators and trucks at this year’s MINExpo INTERNATIONAL trade show in Las Vegas.

The technological advancements showcased at the Hitachi Construction Machinery booth include everything from autonomous haulage, trolley truck technology and electric-powered hydraulic mining excavators to meet the increasing customer demand for solutions that lower operation costs and ultimately create more efficient operations.

“Hitachi built the first hydraulic excavator in Japan exclusively using Japanese technology,” said Craig Lamarque, division manager, Hitachi Construction Machinery - Americas. “Building on this legacy, Hitachi continues to lead the industry with technological innovation manufacturing equipment that’s Hitachi to the Core.”

Autonomous haulage technology

Hitachi’s Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) leverages technologies developed for Hitachi Ltd.’s automotive and railroad solutions as well as Wenco’s fleet management and dispatch system to increase productivity and lower the total cost of ownership.

The system features automated navigation and route optimization; the ability to negotiate traffic conditions; optimized accelerating, braking and steering control, site awareness and forward collision warning; and the Wenco fleet management system for overall supervisor control.

“As a fully integrated system, our autonomous haulage system is Hitachi to the Core,” said Lamarque. “It results in a truck that can determine the most efficient paths without constant communication with traffic control. We’ve also included components that make it possible to convert any Hitachi AC-3 truck bought today to AHS in the future.”

Trolley truck

Hitachi’s trolley technology utilizes DC-powered overhead lines to power trucks up hills. When the truck operator connects to the line, the hauler switches to trolley power, resulting in an increase in speed up the grade vs. engine power alone. This increases productivity, lowers costs and reduces noise and diesel exhaust emissions.

The system consists of two parts – the infrastructure and the trolley-equipped AC-Drive haul trucks that have been configured for the system. Hitachi’s system is currently installed in 109 units worldwide.

The Trolley Truck option is available for all Hitachi AC-Drive trucks and is packaged entirely by Hitachi – from components to support.

Advanced AC-Drive System

Hitachi’s Advanced AC-Drive System propulsion technology outperforms previous systems through its simplicity, improved efficiency and enhanced dependability, resulting in some of the most technologically advanced Hitachi trucks on the market.

“It’s perfectly matched for Hitachi trucks,” said Lamarque. “The entire Hitachi AC-Drive system is designed, built and supported by the same company – Hitachi. As a result, the system delivers higher torque, faster acceleration, smoother retardation and lower operating costs.”

Aerial Angle

The new Aerial Angle system enhances visibility for operators and alerts them to objects in close proximity to the haul truck on jobsites. It consists of two main components – a peripheral vision system with object detection technology and a forward collision warning system.

The peripheral vision system offers an overview of the machine’s surroundings by composing images from four exterior cameras in real time while the truck is in stationary mode. The monitor displays objects in close proximity to the truck and highlights the image on the screen for the operator. The system also provides and audible alert to the operator.

When the truck is travelling, the forward mode leverages millimeter wave radar to detect objects and warn the operator of a possible collision based on location of the object and speed of the truck. Operators are alerted to objects through audible sounds as well as flashing lights.

Electric powered hydraulic mining excavators

Hitachi’s recently introduced five mining electric powered hydraulic shovels to the U.S. and Latin American markets that feature an advanced electric drive motor designed to provide a cost-effective solution to mining operations where low-cost electric power is available.

While Hitachi has been delivering Electric Powered excavators to other parts of the world for many years in countries with a 50 hertz power supply, Hitachi engineers had to review U.S. and Latin American countries’ specific safety regulations to ensure compliant operations in these countries with a 60 hertz power supply.

The machines do not need costly consumables such as engine oil, filters, coolant or fan belts. Components related to an engine are also eliminated, such as radiators, air filters and mufflers.

Next generation mining excavators

Hitachi next generation of mining excavators, which will be released soon, will give customers the ability to choose what engine they want in their excavator. Next generation mining excavators in emissions-regulated countries like the U.S. and Canada will have a Tier 4 Final engine choice of Cummins or MTU depending on model. For countries outside of an emissions-regulated country, there will be a non-certified (NC) version of both the MTU and Cummins engine choices, depending on model.

The new excavator will also include improved hydraulic system designs; advanced electronic controls on the hydraulic pumps, improving response and economic control of the pump; and increased efficiency of the pump and system operation, reducing fuel consumption and lowering operating costs.

EH5000AC-3 with AC-Drive technology.

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