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Atlas Copco Targets Zero-Emission Underground Drilling


“Our customers’ future is electric,” said Andreas Nordbrandt, president of Atlas Copco Underground Rock Excavation Division, based in Örebro, Sweden. Development will now be focused on zero-emission and battery-driven machinery. The company has immediate plans to expand its current portfolio of electric mining equipment including loaders, drill rigs and mine trucks.

Atlas Copco will continue to support all customers who rely on diesel-driven equipment but the decision to completely advance beyond diesel is a definitive move. “It’s high time to look forward and leave fossil fuels behind,” said Nordbrandt. “We must consider the mining industry’s carbon footprint and assume our responsibility as an industry leader.”

Atlas Copco’s electric powered loaders, trucks and drill rigs have been extensively tested in the field and the machines currently on offer have proven that this technology is ready to take over. “Zero emission machines already offer the same or even better performance as diesel, and this is only the beginning, productivity and profitability will only improve from here.” said Erik Svedlund, global marketing manager electrification at Atlas Copco.

“Electric and battery-powered vehicles are the future in underground mining,” declared Nordbrandt. “Besides the lower running cost of the machines themselves, there are considerable savings to be had in ventilation and cooling. But most importantly, electric machines contribute to a safer and healthier work environment for miners everywhere.”

The company is putting the final touches on the next battery-powered models. Nordbrandt affirmed, “Our goal is zero-emission mining. We can achieve that through a commitment to science and technology. This is a power change that changes everything.” 

Digitized Mining

Atlas Copco has also signed a letter of intent with the defense and security company Saab and its subsidiary, the technology consultancy Combitech. The collaboration goes hand in hand with Atlas Copco’s aggressive investment in secure digitalized mining operations. The collaboration will be based on Atlas Copco’s strong position and years of experience in the mining industry, as well as Combitech’s broad experience from digitalization of aeronautics, defense and telecommunications operations.

Rationalizing mining operations not only result in substantial savings and productivity improvements; it also ensures greater security for Atlas Copco’s customers. Atlas Copco has chosen to initiate a collaboration with Saab and Combitech as the company further advances its digital and automation solutions. A letter of intent outlining their enhanced cooperation has been signed. The new collaboration includes digitalization efforts related to autonomous mining control tower, cyber security and ecosystem solutions. The collaboration will build upon Saab’s technical platforms and on the working methods and experience that Combitech gained in the course of digitalizing the Gripen E fighter aircraft – an effort that cut development time in half while radically reducing costs. 

“This collaboration is fully in line with our vision of the digital mine of the future,” said Helena Hedblom, president of Atlas Copco’s Mining and Rock Excavation Technique business area. “Many of our customers have already begun the digitalization process, and plenty of others will soon be on board. Our aim is to support our customers along the way and to meet their increased demands for cyber security and integrated solutions. To shorten the lead time, we’re choosing to team up with the best in the industry. We see great potential in combining our company’s products and experience with Combitech’s technologies,” concluded Hedblom. 

Atlas Copco, www.atlascopco.com