Gearless conveyance

ABB has won an order to provide the electrical equipment, including its new gearless conveyor drives, for Codelco’s largest operation in Chile. The contract was awarded by Tenova TAKRAF from Leipzig in December 2012. TAKRAF is the main contracting party for the conveyor system and ABB’s partner for development of the gearless conveyor drive technology. The electrification of the new gearless overland conveyor is part of an overall 550 million US$ expansion at the El Teniente mine, located approximately 70 km southeast of Santiago de Chile. The current expansion will extend the mine’s operation for another 50 years, ensuring long-term growth. “The new conveying drive system will allow Codelco to increase conveying capacity of the mine to more than 12 000 t/h by 2025”, said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. By replacing diesel trucks with long-haul overland (up- and down-hill) conveyor systems with electrical drive solutions for ore transportation, the mine will benefit from a reduced carbon footprint in its operations. The ABB drive system is designed to feed power back into the grid during electrical braking and regenerative operation. This feature, together with the variable-speed drives, will increase overall efficiency, availability, reliability and productivity at the El Teniente copper mine.

The close collaboration with Codelco during the feasibility study, enabled ABB and TAKRAF to develop the gearless conveyor drive concept to closely fit the project’s needs. ABB’s final scope of supply for the project includes electrical equipment and new gearless drive technology (with twelve 2500 kW/56 rpm motors) for the four conveyor flights of the complete conveyor system, one of which is a downhill tunnel conveyor of almost 9000 m length. ABB will also deliver E-houses with pre-installed equipment, air conditioning and liquid cooling for ACS6000 drives and synchronous motors, the mining conveyor control program MCCP for main drive control and load sharing and its Extended Automation System 800 x A. The order also includes the bus system, conveyor monitoring and instrumentation, medium- (33 kV) and low-voltage switchgears, the motor control center (MCC) in NEMA standard and uninterruptable power supply (UPS). In addition, ABB will also provide one asynchronous motor with a low-harmonic, air-cooled, low-voltage frequency converter ACS800, a converter transformer as well as the gearless drive systems, comprising eight water-cooled synchronous motors, four MV low-harmonic voltage source inverters in multi-drive configuration and four converter and excitation transformers. First deliveries are scheduled for the third quarter of 2013.

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