Battery electric vehicles or BEVs are driving the mining industry to a cleaner future and Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions is playing an upfront role with its range of underground battery LHDs, trucks and drills. It says its BEVs are designed with a safer composition for the most challenging underground environments with its battery technology delivering “exceptional power, longevity and sustainability.” One part of its offering to mining is Battery as a Service – it says this is its way of ensuring mining customers get the most from their electric vehicles by relying on Sandvik’s expertise to manage batteries and chargers.

Sandvik retains ownership of the batteries and chargers, takes responsibility for their maintenance and gives availability assurances. Experts also ensure the batteries stay in optimal condition throughout their lives. Connectivity capabilities are leveraged to monitor battery health plus enable planning and scheduling of maintenance to minimise downtime. Sandvik also looks to install updates over the battery life in the mining application to make sure customers always benefit from the latest technology. “With Battery as a Service by Sandvik, we help you make the shift to battery power by retaining ownership of the battery packs, chargers, spare parts and any needed maintenance. Each program is tailored to the specific needs for the customer’s fleet, mine design and cycle duties.”

When the batteries are no longer suited to the mining environment, Sandvik then takes care of repurposing or responsible recycling. With Battery as a Service, customers also only pay for the amount of battery power that they use, giving more predictable monthly costs without upfront investment and unexpected repair charges. The company states: “You can stay focused on mining while we take care of the battery technology.”

Sandvik mobile charging station

Looking at Sandvik’s mobile chargers as an example, which can form part of the Battery as a Service offering, its mobile charging station consists of charging and cooling units, that form a functional pair: mobile charging unit and mobile cooling unit. For maximum flexibility, the same station can be used for charging any Sandvik branded BEV loader or truck. The mobile cooling unit uses low electrical conductivity coolant for increased battery safety. The units are all the same size, contributing to flexible and organised positioning of the mobile charging station. The units can be placed next to each other on the ground and locked together with a special bar. To save ground space, they can also be stacked, one on top of the other. When it is time for a battery change, the operator drives to the battery swapping bay, lowers the depleted battery, picks up a full battery, and continues operation. Thanks to the AutoSwap and AutoConnect functions, all of this is done without leaving the equipment cabin.