Normet launches SmartDrive

Normet has officially introduced to the industry its SmartDrive battery electric vehicle architecture, selecting Bauma in Germany for its launch
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Normet officially introduced the SmartDrive product family at Bauma 2019

Officials said the fully electric battery-operated machine, in development since 2015, is a sustainable, green and cost-saving technology that has taken its design cues from diesel-to-electric operation. The battery electric architecture will have the ability to work underground completely emissions-free.

"Normet SmartDrive … [uses] the latest long-life industrial grade lithium-ion battery technology with fast-charging capability and electric motors specifically designed for harsh environments," the company said, adding it is available for all key machines in its mining and tunnelling portfolio.

"The batteries have a very long lifetime and a fast-charging capability. With the on-board charging system, it needs only 2.5 hours to load the batteries from 0% to 80%; the tunnelling machine needs only one hour."

Normet said the machine can be charged anytime, and from any common underground AC-socket. Fast chargers can speed that charge up to a matter of minutes, with no battery swapping necessary. 

The battery is split into modules; in the event a module malfunctions, it will be isolated and the rest will continue operating. However, the machine will not be forced down while at work. To top that off, the electric vehicle has two electric motors, which are redundant as well.

With instant torque and capabilities to operate safely in underground environments on a level line or even downhill and uphill tramming, the newly released Normet product exhausts no hot gases. Its entire driveline is optimised with low-efficiency parts, and the gearbox, dropbox and shafts of the machine are eliminated.

"The hydraulic circuit with all rotating parts is reduced to a minimum," the company noted. "Altogether, a lot of components which require maintenance are eliminated."

The need for service braking is decreased because the electric machine's control system has been optimised and the braking force is provided by electric motors. The machine is also equipped with four-wheel drive, which will hold the brakes automatically when stopping on a hill and provides the potential to drive using only one pedal with three selectable speed ranges.

"With all these optimised features, the new generation of Normet mining and tunnelling equipment is more sustainable, less maintenance and service is needed, and much more economical than other engine versions," it said.

Also at Bauma, Normet showcased its SmartScan 3-D laser scanning technology and SmartSpray, which it has called the next step towards automated concrete spraying technology.